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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Handmade Christmukkah, Offspring Edition.

As you very well may (or I guess may not) know, I make things. I have been what you might call "crafty" nearly all of my life.

My house is an example of that on a large scale, really, but that's a post for another day.

Anyway, this year, I'm hoping to do things a little different for the holidays, mostly for my kids. Because they're getting bigger and more active and honestly, the level of just KID CRAP that is slowly swallowing my entire home up whole is getting a wee overwhelming.

I know that they will get more crap that they will thoroughly enjoy from friends and family and probably a bit us (though I'm going to STAB someone if I can't find a simple doll stroller that IS NOT GROSSLY GENDERED AND/OR PINK) but this year, I'm hoping for a different philosophy to take over.

My kids are still too young to really know much about branding or to say things like "Mommy, I want [enter specific licensed gendered chemical-laden toy here]" although in full admission they know their Disney/Pixar characters and Sesame Street line up pretty well -- but we don't have cable, so that's pretty much the extent of what they recognize outside of the PBS spectrum.

So I want to take advantage of that, and I want to make them a great deal of the things they get from us this year.

Ambitious, no?

Well, I feel like the wonder that could accompany something like a handmade toy will quickly fade in the next couple of years, so I want to seize the opportunity while I can to make something they will (hopefully) love before they become jaded by marketing and their peers to see it as less than awesome since it didn't come from the store or the magical online land of Amazon.

Some stuff I have in mind is as simple as getting to my dad's house and going through me and my brother's old stuff and upcycling some of it (like two little wooden rockers and a doll cradle) or customizing some plain bare wood pieces I have in the basement, but for the most part I intend to become nice and comfy with my sewing machine in the upcoming weeks.

So, here are some of the ideas I've been hoarding on Pinterest for almost a year:

Simple, and cute, right? Well, I have a couple of big ones up my sleeve. The first one should be simple, if I remember to keep it that way:
                                                                     Source: artfulparent.typepad.com via Tabatha on Pinterest

Since we're pretty tight on space, I thought making a cool dining room table tent play house thing would be something they'd like and would better use that space. Tova throws tea parties for herself under there most mornings anyway.

But the biggest one, the most involved one that will require power tools, is this:
                                                                      Source: ana-white.com via Tabatha on Pinterest

Yes, I want to build my kids a dress up center. And I want most of the dress-up clothes to be more imaginative than just Lighting McQueen or Ariel (though we all know I love me some Ariel). I sit here all day and I watch them start to participate in imaginative play, even if it's just wearing a pair of my flip flops and their dad's winter gloves and I want to capture that, capitalize on that, while it's still innocent fun that they have together and that I can have with them.

I haven't yet figured out where we'll keep it after they get it, but you know, whatevs.

I'd like your input, though, readers. On Thursday I'm probably going to share some of my favorite Etsy finds to help flesh out the dress-up wardrobe, but I want to know what handmade, kid-friendly gifts have been catching your eyes on the interwebs lately. Throw me some links for ideas so that I can give my kids a Christmukkah they'll hopefully cherish for much longer than they would if it was full of generic throw-away toys.

Let the madness begin.
The Year of Fruition

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