Making it Merry!

by Debbie Carini

Everyone thinks Santa’s job is close-to-impossible; all those houses, chimneys and cookies in just one night. It’s a globe-trotting and gastronomic feat and he deserves the veneration we accord him (carols, lighted plastic look-alikes, tree-toppers, movies and Bass and Rankin stop-action animation).

But really, when you think about the work load, it’s the elves who warrant our deepest respect. The sheer enormity of their undertaking—toys for boys and girls of all ages and predilections, and the learning curve—they’ve gone from hammering out simple wooden boats and dolls to the circuitry required for an Iron Man 3 motorized hand glove. They work 364 days of the year. I imagine Santa gives them December 25 to celebrate with their families and then, on December 26, they crank-up the whole enterprise again.

I am also making many of my gifts this year but, as of writing this column, I still haven’t lifted a glue gun! I did make some homemade cashew brittle right after Thanksgiving but I ate a lot of that and now I have to make more.

I get these grand ideas, usually in July, and usually from a magazine or a craft fair. I cut them out or take pictures with my phone and I imagine friends and relatives “oohing” and “aahing” over my handiwork. I gather the supplies—in years past, this has involved picking up pine cones from parks and gutters (p.s. I would never go on your lawn), recycling dozens of plastic bags (a crochet project) and repurposing used bottle caps (jewelry!).

Without giving too much away, this year’s gifts involve sharp tools and the kind of adhesive that can leave you stuck to a piece of ceramic tile (that’s never happened to me, but I have added ridges to my fingerprints with cyanoacrylate—otherwise known as Super Glue).

There will be drilling, and not the kind that is approved by the American Dental Association. The cat will not be amused as metal is pierced. I’ll be wearing safety glasses. And probably rubber gloves because, once again, sticky stuff is also involved. And in the end, a lot of glassware and china that might otherwise have ended-up in a landfill will sparkle with new purpose.

It’s almost not fair to have so much fun amassing gifts. While others are searching for parking spots and sleeping on sidewalks to garner a $19.99 television or $100 laptop, I am humming along to Christmas carols and sipping a frothy hot cocoa while wielding my new drill.

My husband will occasionally knock on the door to make sure I am not overcome by fumes or seriously considering giving up my day job to follow a merry band of crafters from fair to fair (there are an alarming number of blogs with instructions on just how to do this).

But for me, it’s the joy most recipients exhibit when they unwrap one of my creations and exclaim, sometimes hesitantly, “I love it!” I then have to explain what it actually is but they usually still like it. It provides the happiest of holidays for me. I wish you and your families the same.



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