One of the best holiday treats I received this year was a tour of my friend Skinner’s inherited wealth of handmade Christmas ornaments. Skinner’s grandmother crafted dozens and dozens of ornaments, coming up with clever designs using recycled bits about 50 years before anyone ever thought of creating a multi-billion dollar industry out of such a thing. When I think of handmade ornaments, I think of going to my own grandmother’s church bazaars many years ago, with table after table filled with items like tissue box covers shaped like houses and lady mice dressed in frilly dresses and lace caps that were designed to be hung over a broom, the skirt of the dress flaring over the broom’s bristles. Because one’s broom should always be properly attired.
But Skinner’s grandmother was in a different league altogether – the ornaments she crafted didn’t have that church-basement sensibility. She gave them loads of handmade details, like tiny hand-woven snow shoes and tiny knit caps. Nothing is dated or slightly creepy (in an un-ironic sense), as is so often the case with handcrafted pieces. .
Now if only we could all receive such an inheritance. I know I would look forward to dragging my Christmas boxes out of storage every year if it gave me the chance to see these pieces again.