This holiday season is a very special one for the Blauer family because it’s our son Hunter’s first Christmas. For this reason, I was especially excited to get into the holiday spirit and with Thanksgiving happening so late this year, I threw convention out the window and decorated for Christmas in mid-November. It’s been a joy to watch our baby gaze at the twinkling lights and reach out to touch the prickly pine needles of the faux tree we’ve used for the last ten years. As I was showing him the shiny decorations, I realized our tree would not be complete without his own “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament that would help us remember this special year.
When I was growing up, my parents partook in the trend of collecting Hallmark Keepsake ornaments. Back in the 80s and 90s the ornaments were impressively detailed and exquisitely crafted, each representing a sweet or whimsical moment of Christmas. Hung together they make for a beautiful tree (see above), full of little details you can peruse for hours. Hallmark’s offering has lost some of its quality in later years, however, and my parents collecting has tapered off. Nevertheless, when I found myself in need of a special ornament, I stopped into the Hallmark store to weigh my options.
Unfortunately, the baby snowman with a binky jammed in its mouth was not going to cut it – a prime example of the poor taste we’d now come to expect. The less offensive option was a simple pair of baby booties with a snowflake design in either blue or pink. But why would I buy molded plastic booties when I could make a real pair myself? This was the only inspiration I needed to remember that something custom and handmade will always prevail over the generic store bought kind.
Back at home, I already had all the materials I would need: left over sherpa lining from my Colorado boots, green leather from the moccasins I made for gifts last Christmas, ribbons taken from an Anthropologie shopping bag and a pair of jingle bells snipped from another decoration that wouldn’t miss them. The finishing touch was to add the requisite “Baby’s First Christmas” inscription across the sole which we accomplished in gold foil with the hot stamp machine, along with his name and birthdate on the other foot. Although this pair is fully functioning from the shoelace to the padded footbed liner, Hunter’s feet are already much too big to fit in them – which isn’t a problem since he’d rather put them in his mouth than wear them anyway! Merry Christmas 2013!