Monday, December 17, 2007

Making Christmas

Beth leads the way this time of year. She has a marvelous sense of blending art and craft into our daily lives, but at Christmas she kicks it into another gear.

There are so many ways in which she draws the kids into imaginative acts that result in handmade artifacts that they can play with, give as gifts, display arond the house, hang on the tree, even eat sometimes.

Every morning Tess and Colm jump out of our bed and race back into their rooms and open their advent calendars to see what's behind that day's door. Yesterday it was all about creating a gingerbread house sprinkled with bird seed to put outside for the birds. Overnight, a handmade fairy takes up residence. The kids are learning to become vigilant; they never know what surprises might be hiding right in front of their noses.

The day before, the kids hung decorations on the tree.

As I watch Colm lean precariously from a chair, extending as high as he can. I am struck by the many textures of this moment. Colm's desiring, his reach, the handmade star, my son, and behind him on the wall a painting made by Beth, his mother, my wife, the face of the Madonna in a field of corn momentarily obscured by the face of my son...all of it mysteriously coalescing in my mind's eye as I snap the picture.
Today there will be cookie baking and decorating at our neighbor's house. There are also letters to Santa under composition.
A list of her other projects underway includes: a wreath, shields for Colm and Tess to use with their swords, crowns, Christmas napkins, a princess dress for Tess, another dress for Tess' doll Swanna, a cape and crown for Colm's doll Charlie, knitting slippers and mittens, make her final illustrations for a children's coloring book, make Christmas cards...and of course write and mail them.
Beth is devoted to the idea and the ethic of making things and finding things instead of buying things. But it isn't merely frugality, and while it is partly born of a desire to not participate willy nilly in the consumer culture, it is mostly an expression of Beth's innate sense of beauty. It is something that sustains her and which radiates outward, warming and brightening those of us fortunate enough to be in her orbit.


Anonymous Missy said...

Yes, indeed.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Beth rules!

9:25 PM  

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