Handmade Christmas: The Elves' Projects 2017

Christmas Day, 2017

Christmas this year was a wonderfully happy, delightfully zany whirlwind! All nine of our children, their spouses, and our four grandgirls were able to be home for Christmas, and then after the big day, most of us picked up and drove to northern Michigan for a short ski trip. Such happy, happy times! Tim and I are so thankful for God's many kindnesses to our family throughout this year, and how sweet it was to end with this time of celebrating the first-coming of Christ together.

One of the most eagerly awaited parts of our Christmas celebration is "The Draw." This is what we still call the exchange of gifts between our children, though in reality there is no longer anything random about the assignments. Originally "draw" gifts were entirely handmade, but in recent years there is more leeway. So, for example, some gifts this year were not handmade but were things for the recipient to use in making something themselves. It's so much fun to see the creativity and variety of gifts continue to expand as we gain new family members with fresh skills and those of our children grow as well.

So what did they come up with this year?

Kristen turned a skateboard into a very cool seat for her brother Paul! How perfect for a 17-year old young man!

Paul shows Amanda how the music box works

Paul gutted a German Bible (he saved the innards to be rebound), and used the cover as a case for a programmable music box for his sister Amanda.

Manda crafted hanging planters for Kristen to use to pot succulents from her wedding decor.

Kristen's husband, Ben, came up with a super, novel idea: he wrote a sweet, book, Consider the Raven, for Andrew and Esther's new baby, due in April!

Andrew, a long-time model railroad fan, put together a model-making kit which thrilled youngest brother Ben, our only other modeler.

Ben went to work in the woodshop to create a gorgeous cutting board and hand-crafted knife for Peter to use in his apartment in Minneapolis.

Faith has become very skilled at designing sophisticated snowflakes, so Kara requested a set of snowflakes to use as a garland. Here's just one:

Nutcracker snowflake complete with ballerinas, nutcrackers, and more.

Esther made these gorgeous earrings for Faith.

Kara stitched a set of kitchen towels for Esther using her Instagram phrase, "What is Essie making?"
Esther also found some green glassware for Esther to add to her collection.

 Baby Wegener also received a handmade gift of this sweet sweater knit by Aunt Kara!

Collin created a set of walking sticks for the Van Waters to use as they traipse through Georgia with their pooches.

Peter, with the idea of giving something to be used in making, gave brother-in-law Collin a beer brewing kit. (Sadly, I missed seeing this one opened, so no photo.)

Jonathan, who like Peter lives in a small urban apartment, wasn't able to enter into the handmade draw. Instead, he found unique items for every one of his siblings (and parents) on a visit to India! Here are just a couple.

This carved wooden elephant is carrying a baby elephant in utero, and made a perfect gift for sister-in-law, Esther, who is carrying her and Andrew's first baby.

pregnant elephant

Peter once had a thing for penguins, which Jonathan remembered, so he choose this beautiful set of nesting penguins for his brother.

And for his youngest two brothers, Jon brought, in his carry-on-luggage no less, this:

Yes - it is a drone!

Great job, elves!

Past elves' projects:


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