Wow! Is it me or did this holiday season just creep up out of nowhere? I think Thanksgiving was a little late this year so people began decorating for Christmas before the Thanksgiving turkey ever hit the table. All the stores start pulling out their merchandise as soon as Halloween is over. I start to feel the pangs of the holiday pressures roll over me with all the subtlety of an enormous freight train!
In years past, when my kids were little, I loved to pull out the advent calendar in December and start counting down the days to Christmas. The kids loved getting little treats and I loved watching their excitement build as the holiday grew closer and closer. In more recent years, I have gotten a little, shall we say, unmotivated regarding the calendar. We certainly do not need any more treats around the holidays, as there is more than enough of that going around this time of year, but the kids really look forward to it. When discussing my waning interest in the whole calendar treat thing with my big-hearted sister, she came up with a brilliant plan. She said "How about instead of GETTING small treats, they GIVE them?" The idea involved doing one act of kindness for each day leading up to Christmas. I thought it was such a fantastic idea and jumped on board, enthusiastically! My kids, however, remained a bit skeptical. After talking it over we set a few ground rules. It didn't have to be a huge dramatic gesture but could be as simple as telling a friend why you like them or helping around the house with something. Everyone would get a chance to discuss what they did that evening at dinner. Everyone wanted to have something exciting to share, so the gestures became bigger as we counted down the days. It was a wonderful way to spend December. I know this is going to sound so corny and cliche but it really is such an amazing feeling to give, especially random acts of unexpected kindness that just change someone's whole day!
In this spirit of giving, I would love to kick off December with a free gift, just for you! Recently, I have been kind of obsessed with articulated dolls. I made a few for my Etsy shop here and here and what I like about them is their versatility. They are a great project to make with kids and then serve as a cute toy when finished. They also make great gift tags, book marks, and even ornaments.
O.K., first let's gather the supplies you will need:
Print your PDF file. Now gather a nice sharp pair of scissors, safety pin or thumbtack, and some small brads. You will need five for each snowman. The above pictured scissors are big but they looked prettier than the bright yellow tiny ones I usually use. Keep in mind you will be cutting tiny detailed pieces.
What are brads? Glad you asked. These are those little doo-hickeys with the little stems at the bottom. You push the little stem part through the hole you will be making (which I'll show you in a moment) but I just had to show you the variety of styles and colors these come in. Aren't the mustaches adorable? The sparkly ones are fun for the holidays! These are available at any craft store (usually by the scrapbooking section) and they may even have them in the office supply section at your grocery store. The smaller size will work best for this project. These will run you about two dollars a package and they can have quite a few pieces (Some of the smaller ones had up to 80.) As you can see, my little obsession carried over from the articulated dolls to the brads! I chose little silver buttons for my snowman.
I like to start by cutting out the body section first since it is the main piece to which everything else will be attached.
Next, I cut out the left arm piece. You will want to poke a small hole in the white circle with the tip of a safety pin or a thumbtack on both the arm piece and the corresponding hole on the body. In this case, it would be the white hole on the left side of the main body. You will then want to place the arm piece underneath the body, lining up the holes you made and attach them with your brad.
Here is what the piece looks like attached with the brad.
Here is what the brad should look like on the back.
Now you can cut out and attach the remaining pieces in the same manner.
These are so fun to make and versatile. Kids can have a ball making and playing with these! You can attach popsicle sticks to the back and make your own puppet show! Here are just a few more ideas:
Wishing you a great start to your holiday bonanza!