I am so not crafty. I used to do counted cross-stitch, which is tedious and requires a lot of patience but no real skill whatsoever — follow the pattern and you are guaranteed a good result. I gave that up when I had kids (something had to go, and I figured it should be the thing that involved needles) and have reverted to my normal state of non-craftiness. I am in awe of the cool things other moms think up to do with their kids, craft-wise. When mine were pre-schoolers and I was at home, my idea of “craft time” was to throw armfuls of construction paper, scissors, glue and crayons on the table, yell “Go nuts!” and sit down nearby with a book. Probably more by accident than design, this method produced two budding artists who are already infinitely more talented than I will ever be.
Now, I do one craft per year. I do it at the end of November, and even that requires significant technical help from Jason, although I take full credit for artistic vision. I cut out pictures from last year’s Christmas cards, glue them onto a piece of poster board, stick another piece of poster board on top with little doors cut into it to reveal the pictures below, and decorate the top piece. This is our Advent calendar. Jason does the hard part — cutting the doors in the right place to match where the pictures are below. The kids help me with gluing the pictures down and decorating the poster board. But the impetus, the driving force behind this project, is all me, every year. Then I sit back and bask in the glow of my accomplishment for the next 364 days.
This year, I reached exciting new heights of creativity and took the whole project in an entirely different direction. You see, my big creative challenge has always been how to decorate the top poster board to create some kind of scene from which you are enticed to open doors and windows. I have two standbys: the calendar is either a huge mansion and the doors and windows are, well, actual doors and windows, or the calendar is a village scene and each little house is a door. I’ve been using variations on one of those two themes for maybe five or six years now — I can’t remember when exactly we started doing this.
Anyway, I wanted to try something new, so … I cut the poster board in a CIRCLE! And made a WREATH out of it!!! Isn’t it amazing??? Here’s a picture of Emma demonstrating the correct use of the Advent calendar with one door open (because this is December 1).
I admit I had to stifle a rueful laugh this year when I read on someone else’s blog how her life is so busy right now that she is having to cut out many of her usual holiday routines — homemade cards, homemade gift tags, homemade gifts, fancy baking …. Obviously I’m starting much lower down on the evolutionary ladder than she is. If I ever have a really busy Christmas I’ll definitely scratch the hours (one or two) of work that go into creating my leftover-card-Advent-Calendar and just buy one from the store. But for now, I have done The Christmas Craft. The season can proceed without further creative input from me.