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Thursday, December 22, 2011

How I Discovered the Spirit of Giving

Several years ago, I bought an amazing pillow. It's designed to make your bed warm before you go to sleep, so you don't slip into cold sheets. About a month ago, I managed to damage it, much to my husband's disappointment. 

I learned how to sew last year, so I decided I would make another one, instead of buying a replacement, as it was quite expensive. I borrowed a friend's sewing machine, ordered the fill from Amazon, and chose a really cool print from the fabric store from which I would make the cover. When I got everything together, it wasn’t any more trouble to make one for each of my children. And then I thought my sister, who lives in London, would really appreciate one, as well. After that, I went a bit crazy making pillows and giving them away to friends and family I thought would enjoy them. I made a few smaller ones for kids and even one that could be tied for a friend who had sprained her ankle.

On yet another trip to the fabric store, I came across a fabric with the University of Minnesota logo printed all over it. Overcome with excitement, I bought all they had left and went home to work on another cover. I was so overjoyed because I have cousins who are Minnesota fanatics. They even have a camper painted in Minnesota colors they take to games. 

After I was done, I ran into the living room to show my husband, jumping with joy over the little pillow. What I had discovered was how good it felt to give. I really wanted to be there when they opened the package, seeing their faces. Since I had some leftover fabric, I made a little skirt for my newest cousin. I just know her mom is going to smile when she tries it on the little one.

Because I was so addicted to my sewing machine this December, I made a few more gifts, as well. In my basement is a footlocker full of fabric that belonged to my grandmother, who died more than 15 years ago. It has moved with me over the years, all the while tucked away, with no purpose. She was going to make curtains out of the fabric; the top of several panels already had the mesh backing to prepare it for a curtain rod. I couldn't bear to part with it and never had a plan for it until a few weeks ago.

We put up the tree, and my husband remarked that we needed a tree skirt. Every year, we just put a sheet around the bottom and called it a day. When he said it this year, however, a little light bulb went off in my head. Aha, I shall make one and I have just the fabric for it. It took a while, and I had to look up a pattern online, but after I finished, it was just as easy to make a few more.

I made two additional tree skirts. I sent the first to my sister in London and the other to my aunt, my grandmother's daughter. Packing them into boxes with letters explaining what they were and from what I had crafted them filled me with joy, a joy I never found in the perfect sweater or fulfilling my son's Santa wishes. I had made something with love. It couldn't be found in a store and could be used every year, brought out with memories of a woman who loved Christmas so much that she had a special window installed in her living room to show off her tree. It felt good to have the spirit of giving, and I am trying to pass it along to my two children, both of whom seem to think Christmas is about the daily Advent chocolate and opening presents. I suppose they are too young to really understand, but I will keep trying, as I wish I had had this feeling years ago.

Post submitted by Katie from The Mommies Network's Content Team

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