Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015 - Gifts and Finds

Hello! I hope that you and yours had a very Merry Christmas. As the holiday season winds down, I'd thought I'd show off a few gifts and finds of Christmas 2015. 

My husband and I don't exchange gifts any more; rather, we do a "house gift" that we can both use. This year the "house gift" ended up being a new basement freezer - a necessity after the old one, full of food, died right before Thanksgiving. 

But instead of gifts, we give each other with nicely-stuffed Christmas stockings, filled with craft beers or hard cider, books, magazines, gift certificates, candies and more. (needless to say, there's usually overflow and so the stockings are presented wrapped in shopping bags or stuffed into a cardboard box. 

I'll show off a couple of favorites from the stockings:

In my husband's stocking, a pine cone I'd picked up on the campus of Berea College, KY, during an early October trip. As with the other pine cones I'd gathered from other trips in years past, this one  was decorated with glitter and has a gold cord hanger. Attached to the cord is a tag I'd made that states where and when the pine cone had been found.

I've always done a memory-type Christmas ornament for inclusion in my husband's Christmas stocking, such as glittering old watches or car keys, or decorating wine corks from significant events. 

Over the past several years, though, I've stuck with pine cones. By now they've come from all over the US. My husband suggested that maybe next year the pine cone ornaments could get their own Christmas tree since the collection has grown. I think he also made his suggestion because the Berea pine cone ended up being the largest one thus far - it's over 8" long and over 4" wide. It wasn't nearly that big when I picked it up on a chilly, damp day, but opened up to its present size once it came into our warm, dry house. 

In my stocking:

A tiny Nativity scene: a small glass bottle with the Holy Family inside. The figures and the base are made of clay. My husband says he "doesn't like to reveal his sources", but I'm guessing this came from the fair trade shop downtown. It's known this time of year for the variety of handcrafted Nativity sets from around the world. My husband didn't recall where this one had been made; perhaps a Latin American country. 

Its tiny size, by the way, is a mere 1 1/2" l x 1"h x 3/4" w. I would say it took considerable skill to craft those clay figures and arrange them inside the bottle. So sweet though; I love it!

A gift to me from our daughter:

A vintage-style calico cat ornament, in honor of my "little girl" - our nearly 13-year-old calico named Beauty. I promptly hung this ornament on the cat-themed tree in the dining room (the tabletop feather tree whose decor changes with the season). There, this pretty likeness joined various handcrafted cat ornaments, as well as a couple of collars Beauty had once worn.

I visited Ann Arbor's PTO thrift shop two days before Christmas. Although my main purpose was to peruse the huge arts/crafts section,  I was pleased to learn that all Christmas-themed items were 75% off. 

I didn't have time to look at every single Christmas item, as they were found in various sections of the store, but here's what I came home with:

A pattern for a no-sew Nativity set and directions for making vintage-style  snow angels. Behind these patterns is a plastic bag of German scrap vintage-style Santa scenes plus a few pieces of Christmas-themed vintage ephemera. 

Non-crafty, but also on sale at the PTO thrift shop:

10 years ago, this mug had been part of the scene at the Christmas market in Dusseldorf, Germany. Since "Santa Claus' Gluhwein" is mentioned at the bottom, I assume this mug came with the purchase of that beverage (a type of mulled wine). 

I don't know what expense was involved in the mug making its way from Germany to the US, or what the mulled wine had cost at the time of purchase. However, I'm sure that any price connected to this mug was way more than the 12c I ended up forking over for it.

The gifts and finds I've shown off here may seem small in size and/or price, but I feel they all have a big "price tag" when it comes to the amount of pleasure they'll give us in the years to come!


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