Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Christmas Gift

Our big family Christmas gathering happened yesterday, December 20th  with children and food everywhere!  We have two new babies in the family and toddlers running around all excited.  Since I never had any children, I always enjoy watching the little ones, holding the babies (until they start crying or get the poopy diapers, ha) It is always so great to visit with those I don't get to see very often, and get all the Auntie hugs I can get. Sometimes those hugs and loves have to tie me over for a long time, so they are especially important to me!

Several years ago, we made the decision to stop giving individual gifts to the adults and we just buy gifts for the little ones and those kids under the age of 18.  The adults play a "Chinese" gift exchange where gifts can be stolen up to 3 times from someone and after that they are "frozen".  Each male brings a gift suited for a man, and each woman brings a female oriented gift.  Deciding what to bring is always difficult, given the wide age disparity of the adults in the family.  It is always fun when the stealing starts, and to see who ends up with what. Some years, the stealing is wild...others, more tame and less lively.  We always have fun with it, and sometimes some exchanging or swapping goes on after the exchange is over.

This year, we asked all participants to include something that they made or created, either as their sole gift or part of their gift.  I opted for the "part of" part with mine, and also include two nice bottles of wine and some pretty wine glasses.

My handmade part was this mixed media on a 9" oval canvas that I already had a frame to fit standing by!  My great niece ended up with it and seemed happy to have it, although we swapped out the wine and I gave her the gift I received which her mother had actually made.  My original idea for this canvas was to start with a dark red acrylic and move to a lighter color creating a "flame" effect.  The thing just kind of emerged organically and didn't look "flame like" at all when it was finished. I fussy cut out a vintage woman image that I liked, gave her some bright turquoise and lime Prismacolor pencil work and collaged it to the canvas using Liquitex Matte Gel Medium.  The "She" quote was hand lettered on 90 pound cold press watercolor paper with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen and highlighted with Prismacolor pencil in a bold red.  Adding the crown as an afterthought didn't really achieve the look I wanted, but it wouldn't come off easily, so I just left it. It did match the lady's dress pretty well and did serve to bring the quote  "She Always Wore her Invisible Crown" to life a little more.

We all have to remember to wear our "invisible crowns" more, and know that we are always in control of our own lives, our emotions and feelings.  I put mine on everyday and hope that it gives me the fortitude to push through the roller coaster of life every single day.

What are you creating this holiday season for people in your family?


  1. What a fun story to read. I had never heard of the Chinese gift exchange but it sure sounds like fun. I have a feeling any party you're involved in is loads of fun. Oh boy do I ever like your canvas piece. If the niece ever gets tired of it tell her to send it my way! Merry Christmas.

  2. Thanks, Lynn. Our adult gift exchange can be rather lively and tons of fun.