Guest Post, Traditions

Handmade Holiday Cheer | GUEST POST by Emily Allen

Throughout this week I will be featuring guest posts of the individual articles from the contributors to the FREE e-Book, TRADITIONS, A Holiday Collective. It is 80 pages of holiday inspiration shared from 21 Christian Writers. Get your copy HERE.

by Emily Allen

In our early years, we started from scratch on our stash of seasonal decor for the holidays. We had a humble family budget that did not afford us to buy all the dazzling items I would have loved to have for decorations.

I was always drawn in by store displays–twinkle-lights and baubles and beautifully designed trees–but I always felt a little inadequate at bringing that same ambiance of Christmas into our home because of the financial limitations we had.

I looked at making some DIY Christmas decorations, but with young kids and little hands in everything, the process of creating anything by hand was a bit challenging for a while. I settled for some cheaply made, inexpensive things that I never really loved, but I made them work for a stretch of time. We still have some remnants of plastic icicles and shatterproof glitter-covered balls, but as my kids have grown into the school-age zone and I have gained some breathing room, we have established a tradition that all of us have grown to love.

Each year, we conceptualize and create a handmade Christmas decor item to add to our growing collection. When I finally admitted to myself that store-bought decorations held less meaning for me, and I relieved myself of the pressure to have my own department store-worthy seasonal display, it was easy to fall in love with this tradition of creating something together with my kids. This tradition not only adds to the visual experience in our home every Christmas, but also brings back memories we made while creating things together in previous years.

Last year, we made a reversible fabric appliqué banner for our fireplace that says “Peace” on one side, and the back side has handprints for everyone in our family (Daddy, Mama, and six kids, right down to the baby who was under 1 year at the time) and one flag on the end also sports the year we made it in. Other years, we have made ornaments, stockings, an advent calendar, and a Jesse tree. Each year when we get the Christmas box out, these things come out of hiding to delight us again.

I love the reminder that even though what we create together isn’t always perfect (often reflecting the ages of the kids who helped make it), I do find our decorations more meaningful than I ever imagined they would be in the beginning. When I breathe in the scent of our fresh-cut tree, warm myself with cinnamon apple cider heated on the stove, and look around at what we have created together to celebrate the season with nostalgic tunes ringing in my ears, I am filled with a kind of cheer that cannot be bought.

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EMILY ALLEN | is the founder of the Kindred Mom ( blog and podcast and is passionate about helping moms flourish in motherhood. She is a contemplative, creative soul who celebrates the beauty of a humble, handmade life and deeply values the power of encouragement. She invites you to connect with the Kindred Mom community on Instagram or Facebook or check out her Write 31 Days series on Redemptive Motherhood on her personal blog

You can connect with Emily on social media:
Facebook: @kindredmom
Instagram: @kindred_mom
Twitter: @kindred_mom

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