There is a special dearness about Christmas gifts that are made. Even when they are clumsily made, they are lovely because the loveliness that goes into them is from the heart and the mind and the hands: hours and days of tacking and tying, fitting and pasting, stitching and hammering, chiseling and modeling – all of it with a permeation of love and effort that cannot be priced. The making of gifts should be a special part of Advent; an outpouring of self into something we make for someone we love, entirely in the spirit of the remaking of our hearts for Christ, for receiving the gift Someone who loves us made for us.
With this making go long evenings of work together, wonderful conversations, meditations, evening prayers. We need only work together to have an early dinner, clear away the dishes, tidy the kitchen, get the littlest ones off to bed, keep the TV and radio turned off, and there – we have a long evening before us. Perhaps it is not possible to do this every night, but much can be accomplished in even two nights a week when the family works together and talks together. They will soon discover that this kind of creative recreation grows on them.
Excerpt from “The Year and Our Children,” by Mary Reed Newland.