2013 Travel Christmas Ornament

Kangaroo Ornament by Natalie Parker

Here’s this year’s travel memento for our Christmas tree!

To recap, we pick up an ornament to represent each of our travels.  I was in Australia twice this year, once for work and once for school.  We actually haven’t had our big vacation trip of 2013 yet.

Sometimes with these ornaments, I love a piece of local art.  Sometimes, it just feels right to go with straight up kitsch.  How could I say no to the kangaroo?

Earlier: 2011 – Camel from Egypt, 2012 – Great Wall from China & Double Decker from London.

My 2012 Christmas Card

2012 Christmas CardHi, it’s me over here – the person who my friends describe as crafty – with my non-homemade, non-customized Christmas cards.

I love being crafty, but I still buy my cards every year.  There’s something about getting out 70 of them that prevents me from making them myself :)  Sure, I could design a photo card, many do, but it’s not my thing.*

Disclaimer: I think twice about blogging about Christmas cards because any time I share what I do, people think that I don’t like what they do.  It’s okay, I just do my own thing.

I really prefer to find a pretty card and devote my efforts to writing a message inside.  It’s not much, but I like thinking about the person I’m sending it to.  This usually results in “hey, I need to have dinner with them!  And Them!  And them too!”

That’s what I think it’s about in the end – getting a chance to connect with people in a non-social media form.

*I reserve the right to change my opinion after I have kids.

This Year’s Travel Ornaments

2012 Travel Christmas OrnamentsWe put our tree up recently and one of the most fun parts is taking out the new ornaments I’ve been saving from our trips this year!

We like having an ornament on our tree for each place we’ve traveled.  Last year it was a little camel from Egypt.

From London, we have this tiny little double-decker bus.  It’s only about an inch tall!

In China, we picked up this cool red and gold design.

They’re both keychains, in case you were wondering!  Christmas ornaments can get expensive, very large, or even difficult to find in some places.  Getting a keychain really opens the possibilities!  I remove the key ring part, add a hook and it’s done!

What about you?  Any special new ornaments or travel traditions from this year?

Holiday Idea Roundup

The holiday season is upon us and somehow I don’t feel as prepared as I did last year!  I’m also still operating under the illusion I have every year that I’ll be able to do lots of scrapbooking during the holidays.  We’ll see how that turns out.

Since I’m trying to get my holiday wits about me, it’s a good time to take a look back for ideas.  Here are my best holiday posts to get your holiday creative juices flowing:

  1. How to Make a Bow out of Wrapping Paper
  2. Repurposing a Department Store Gift Box
  3. Simple Christmas Decorations
  4. Making a Stocking from Pajama Pants
  5. Earthquake/Toddler-proofing Holiday Decorations
  6. On Buying Christmas Cards at after-Christmas Sales
  7. Easy Christmas Card Display
  8. Making Gift Tags out of Christmas Cards
  9. How to Make Your Own Basket Stuffing
  10. Our Tradition of Buying a Travel Ornament for our Tree
  11. Using Cable or Speaker Wire as Ribbon

I hope these help give you ideas!

Cable as Ribbon

Cable as gift wrap ribbonHas someone special to you asked for a new HDMI or digital cable for Christmas?  Cables can be hard to wrap.  Why not take the cable out of the package and use it as ribbon?

That’s what my little sister did last year with a gift for my husband.  He needed a new digital optical cable for our TV, so she bought one and wrapped his gift with it.  I think it looks really cool!

This Little Camel Came Home with Us

Camel bone Christmas ornament from EgyptMeet the little camel.  He’s one of our newest Christmas ornaments.

Several months ago, I talked about our trip to the Middle East and our tradition of buying a piece of street art on big trips.  We also buy a Christmas ornament on all of our travels, dating back to 2005 when we picked up a New York ornament on the top of the Empire State Building.

The hunt for an ornament is always really fun.  Sometimes we don’t buy a traditional ornament.  On a trip to Philadelphia, we bought a keychain and turned it into an ornament because all the Christmas ornaments we saw were too big and bulky.

Our little camel is actually a figurine carved out of camel bone.  Camel bone figurines are a popular tourist purchase in Egypt.  The store we went to also had angels, stars and other traditional Christmas ornaments carved out of camel bone.

We had to have the camel, it was too cute to pass up.  Do you have any Christmas ornament traditions?

The Gift Wrap Division of Labor

Wrapped Christmas giftsMy dear dear husband came home from work a couple of weeks ago and commented on my November 29 blog post.  It’s the one where I talked about all the holiday tasks piling up.

“You talked about wrapping gifts in your post.  I’m the one who actually wraps most of the gifts.”

How right he is.  Technically.

In the interest of full disclosure to you, my readers, we have a gift wrap division of labor in our household, mostly because I was tired of wrapping all the gifts and he’s actually quite good at doing it.  This doesn’t include gifts to each other, which we wrap ourselves.

I do all the shopping and prep the gifts.  I consult with him on gifts and budget for family members and then I buy everything.  I box everything up and pick out which wrapping paper I want on which gift.

He wraps all the gifts.  I leave him a big pile of gifts with post-it notes on them.  He wraps everything.  He’s actually better at this than I am – his edges are straighter and he actually tries to match the pattern whenever there’s a seam.

I ribbon and tag.  Someday I’ll explain my unhealthy infatuation with wire ribbon.  When he finishes wrapping the gifts, I go through my wire ribbon collection and make pretty bows for each package.  Finally, I select and write a coordinating gift tag.

Are we a team, or what??

Do you wrap all the gifts in your house?  Do you have family members help?