I've always known that my family was pretty awesome, but it wasn't until we started unwrapping this year's homemade blessings that I realized how remarkable my family truly is.
For the last 10 years we have battled stress, creative roadblocks, and busy schedules in order to keep our Christmas mornings magical. Each of us has racked our brains for 11 months, been on the verge of tears with frustration in mid-December, and utilized a glue gun on Christmas Eve in order to add some final touches to our "masterpieces."
And even though we've passively talked about changing the tradition, we refuse to throw in the towel and each one us continues to shine every December – coming up with insightful and thoughtful ideas.
I wanted to share some of this year's gifts with everyone:
JAKE (my eight-month-old nephew): Personalized cards with
his handprint and picture
of him and the recipient on the inside (right).
SUSAN (my younger sister):
Memory journals that we are supposed to write in every week for the next year.
She provided 52 prompts to give us guidance.
(Example: "Describe someone in your life
who had a great influence over you in a short time.")
ALLISON (my littlest sister): Hand-sewn oven mitts
for the boys and belts for the girls.
MOM: Custom floor mats (ours was for our kitchen);
she made Allie an awesome rug/mat from needlepoint.
DAD: Hand-cut mesquite wood chips for the grill – with specific instructions: "Soak for 30 minutes, then put on hot goals." (Each family received a bundle that was neatly packaged in homemade burlap bags that were sewn with yarn.)
TANYA (my wife): Pickles and pickled vegetables; she cleverly named them "Puckerin' Pickles" and "Wickled Wegtables" and printed personalized labels for each person.
MICHAEL (my brother-in-law): Personalized stationary;
I received four pads, each with its own marks: TCU logo, e-Partners in Giving logo, my initials, and "World's Best Uncle." (Mike, who plays professional baseball, also got me a personalized Fungo bat with my name engraved on it.)
Every couple of years, I opt to put my Photoshop and design skills to use. Which, according to my wife, means I'm making something to hang on the wall.
For once...she was correct.
I took pictures around my mom and dad's farm and created the following...."Alpha Art." It started with the main image that I gave my mom and dad (below).
The rest of the gifts evolved from that (below).
My homemade gift to Tanya was similar in style, but I took photos around Fort Worth to create her image.
COMING SOON: CHRISTMAS CHAOS BLOG
As the wonderfully great holiday season comes to a close, I'm starting to formulate my first annual Christmas Chaos Blog. (I use "chaos" in the most cherished way possible.)
Here is a sneak peak of my wild
and crazy December through pictures:
SPECIAL THANKS FOR GIVING BACK
I've already said thank you through e-mails, text messages, and letters, but that only begins to express my appreciation for every single person who sponsored a client for our Safe Haven Christmas Extravaganza.
On December 22nd, we were able to capture the true meaning of Christmas. There is NO WAY we could have done it without the help from these individuals.
e-Partners in Giving stuffed 20 personalized stockings (with so much stuff there was a wrapped "overflow" package) for each Safe Haven resident. We also purchased a computer, monitor, and printer for the entire complex.
Our sponsors, including Rosa's Cafe, helped make all of this possible.
I wish I could capture a portion of the magic that was created when those 20 clients opened their stockings. There were a lot of smiles, a few tears of appreciation, and a lot of hugs.
One last time: Thanks to each
of you for making all of this possible.