The day after Thanksgiving, while consumers take part in Black Friday, there is also a quiet counter-cultural observance called Make Something Day. Rather than participating in mob mentality in order to get a $10 microwave (Do you really know someone who needs one? Really?), stay home and make some things to give for Christmas. Here are some of the things we made last year:
1. The Exploding Box. This is a fun take on a photo album. It's a 3 layer box (12 flaps in all...perfect for a photo a month) with a lid. When you lift the lid the box expands so your recipient can immediately catch up with what you've done all year. We made a couple of these for friends and family far away. Google "exploding box instructions" and you'll find several sites to inspire your own version.
2. A Perpetual Calendar. I learned this idea at an independent workshop I took a few years ago. It utilizes a clear 8 1/2 x 11 expanding pocket with tie closure and features 12 pockets in which I slipped lists for every day of every month. My sister-in-law can keep track of birthdays, anniversaries and memorials that she wants to acknowledge throughout the year. I even made some matching cards to get her started. She can tuck the cards into the folder so she has them at the ready to mail.
3. Gift Card Cozies. This is an easy way to recycle t.p. tubes. Fold them flat, glue one end shut, paint them and let dry. Cut a piece of cardstock to fit inside and affix the gift card to it. Decorate and done.
4. Wood Creations. This was the project my 6 year old made for his 2 year old brother (with a lot of help from Grandpa). It's a multitone drum. S loved it. Even the drumsticks are homemade using dowels and super balls. (Make sure you glue those balls on tight!)
5. Place Card Holders. Grandma likes to dress her table up for all the holidays. Since the boys and I were learning about simple machines right before Christmas, we bought a coping saw and cut out pumpkins and acorns so she could set a proper Thanksgiving table. They cut them out over a period of a couple weeks and then painted them. I cut slits in the top to hold the name cards for her guests.
6. Sewing Projects. It's kind of a crack up but my boys actually love to sew. We had four new white placemats that I knew would never survive our family meals (let alone the fact that there are five of us). So we re-used them for Grandma #2. The boys cut Christmas shapes out of felt, I brought my DMC floss out to the light of day and they each stitched two placemats. Simple and cute.
The day after Thanksgiving, Make Something Day, I enjoyed the company of my friend who was creating her own bath salts while I finished up an Exploding Box. Take the time for conversation and creation this year. Here are some sites for your inspiration: