Second-hand handmade bragging

Almost the new year, and it always makes me wonder where did the holidays go? So much preparation, and then in the blink of an eye we are staring down another fresh year.

Before that happens, I can’t resist sharing just a few of our vintage and handmade gifts from under the tree. My husband and I made a deal that we could spend a maximum of $25 on each other, but the gifts HAD to be handmade by us, recycled, second-hand or vintage. So the ultimate challenge was to get the biggest under-the-Christmas-tree bang for 25 bucks, and I must say (as does Dan’s related post it was a lot of fun.

We got a big stack of gorgeous pre-read books, including some classics and current hot titles. Dan got a fab (if I do say so myself) pair of recycled felted wool mitts, lined with fleece, which I think look like oven mitts but will be supremely warm. Below you will see some of the treasures I received. From an old walnut stair banister Dan found in the basement, he created these three simple and elegant candleholders.

   From some other leftover wood he built this bird feeder, which is just perfect for the little chickadees and juncos. They treat it as their own fast-food fly-thru…in one side, pick up their snack and keep going through the other side.

   Next came this gift, probably my favourite. Dan and the girls trawled the local antiques stores, of which there are many, and found this lovely old chair, which they worked together to repaint. The girls painted their names on the back of the chair just to make it more special. It is just what I wanted and needed for the little antique desk I had gotten for my “Mom Central” spot in the kitchen. 

I also received these framed beauties. They are vintage German postcards that once belonged to Dan’s grandmother. Love this idea.


Other years I worried about whether the gifts I bought were “enough.” This year it was a challenge to spend as little as possible and to do it in an environmentally respectful way, ie. don’t buy any more new stuff that we don’t really need. In the coming new year, we are going to try to continue this new pattern of spending less on things that mean more.

We don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions in our family, but we do have a journal that we write in and review every New Year’s Eve. We write down goals for the coming year, and accomplishments from the past 12 months. It is always fun to go back to the journal and review, just to see how we have done and to remind ourselves how much we have achieved. It is amazing how quickly goals like “learn how to walk” (for baby Ava) become “learn how to read” and “start school.”

What do you think of this idea? Does your family have New Year’s traditions?


5 thoughts on “Second-hand handmade bragging

  1. Linda says:

    Beautiful gifts!!! It is the thought that counts not the money spent, much thought and work went into those. I am a proud Momma, Nana / Mother-in -law.
    Emma, a former teacher of yours always looked forward to your Christmas gift because it was homemade.

  2. Alison says:

    What truly fabulous gifts. I would love to take a leaf out of your book and do a similar thing for christmas next year, finding time is always the hardest part around here. I do love to give handmade gifts but my ideas always outdo the time available 😦
    We don’t have any NY traditions here but the ILs do something similar to you with a ‘year in review’ at NY dinner and I would love to start this with the children 🙂
    Happy New Year to you and your family and please please please keep blogging, I adore reading your blog.

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