Making Christmas

"Making Christmas" is usually the mom's job.  At least it's always that way at my house (I'm guessing it's that way in most homes).  I do a lot of stuff anyway, but in December I kick it up to Warp Nine.  =D

This year I was especially busy because I took the time to make some special homemade gifts:

1) The Quiz books.  (Remember the quiz about the Best and Worst?)
Well,  I did it. I sent quizzes out to each member of the family.  Then I took their responses and created a page for each person. The quizzes varied from person to person.  I was very pleased with how they turned out.  Here's a sample page:

I made them for both sides of the family.   The 12x12 I bet you didn't know book for the Darbys.  The smaller 8x8, Family is something everyone can relate to  for my big, fat, Cuban family (it had to be smaller to keep the cost the same - that book had 43 pages, which means between the two books I created almost 70 pages, but that's not important right now).  All were created using Photoshop Elements 6 for the Mac. I saved the pages as jpg images and uploaded each page to Shutterfly.

The small one on the front left, 2008 - The Year of Improv was for the friends of Lucy and Jonathan who have been here every week of 2008 playing Improv games with them. I created that in iPhoto using their drag-and-drop-into-a-cute-little-book feature with short captions on a handful of pages.

They were all a huge hit. (she said modestly, polishing her nails and then admiring them.... =D)
Gift books

2) Homemade Cuban egg-nog or Creme de Vie.  You can find my recipe for that right here.  Or go visit my friend, Adriana, for the Puerto Rican version which involves a coconut flavor and is called Coquito. (In fact, just go visit Adriana and educate yourself on what a Cuban-Rican Christmas looks like. =D)

The bottles are just empty wine bottles we picked up at a local wine bar (they were happy to have us recycle them).  Michael's craft store had clean corks (which made me wonder what exact craft one uses bottle corks for, but that's not important right now).  The labels I ordered from Wonderful Graffiti (I will post another day on all the writing that I have up on my walls). 

I just loved that my bottles were so decked out with those fabulously 80's looking butt-bows.  ;-)
The hanging tags I also made using Photoshop Elements 6.

Creme de vie

3) Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies - that recipe can be found here.

We made dozens and dozens which we packaged and gave away. But we also kept a few dozen which we froze so that in January when I get post-New-Year-Christmas nostalgia we can thaw and enjoy. =D

Peanut butter kiss cookies

4) Of course, we (Amy Kikita and I) made a 20 minute film (part of which you saw yesterday) and I duplicated 17 dvds and created the cover art (again using Elements) - we had to make copies for everyone and ship a few to Texas and Miami.

De todo un poco dvd cover  

The very best part of all this Christmas-making activity (which is a lot! I realize now as I'm writing this):

I didn't have to do it all.  =D

Okay, well...yes, I did do all the graphics for the books & dvds. But because I was occupied with creating those books, my kids all stepped up and did the baking and creme-de-vie-making and packaging.  Which I thought was very cool.

They all helped bake and mix rum and condensed milk and wrap packages and make tags and all the other things that are usually Mom's domain.  I don't think I ever stopped and said specifically, "this is how you make Christmas happen..."

But obviously my love for all-things-Christmas was catching.

Which is cool because I believe that "making Christmas" is more caught than taught.  ;-)