Editor’s Note: We’re so happy to welcome a new writer Helen Berger to the Dear Handmade Life team for her fifth post! We loved her first few posts: our Gift Guide for Creative Business Owners, Gift Guide for Artisan Food and Drink Lovers, Gift Guide for Makers, Artists and Crafters and Gift Guide for Just About Anyone on Your List. You can read more about Helen at the end of this post.
FYI: We’re heading on a blog vacation for the next few weeks. We’ll see you back here on January 11th, 2016 for a new batch of awesomeness. Happy winter, holidays and have an awesome New Year’s Eve!
Perry Como’s “Do You Hear What I Hear” filtered through the merriment of the tail end of my family Christmas celebration. Dinner plates were cleared, the coffee was brewing, the pies were being set out. There I sat in my hand-me-down Star Wars pajamas, warmed by the roaring fire. I stared lustily at the wrapped presents before me. Somewhere in the mess of boxes and ribbons and bows, the dream of eight-year-old Helen was about to come true. Or so I hoped.
My brother Freddy squealed with delight after unwrapping his first present: an Optimus Prime action figure. I sensed it’d all be downhill for him after that. Not even a bucket full of Legos could top that heroic Transformer. I opened my first gift: a Light-Brite. Super cool, but not the dream. Several hits and misses followed. I wasn’t a young jerk, guys. I was genuinely grateful. After all, this was the era of Band-Aid and “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All?”
The rum-spiked-eggnog-sleepy adults were unwrapping their seemingly banal presents. An immersion blender? BORING. Bedroom slippers? SNOOZE. I made a mental note to divorce my future spouse if they ever gave me a set of copper pots. (If my sweet and gorgeous partner is reading this now, please note, I renounce said misguided childhood sentiments. Do you know how well those things conduct heat!?) I sat back and scanned the room. The adults laughed, the kids played with their toys. Even at age eight, there were times I felt like I was acting out an Albert Camus novel. I was different, somewhat alien; a chubby, albeit adorable, pajama clad existentialist.
I had almost given up on the dream, but there was one present left. It was hiding, half-covered by the red drop cloth around the base of the tree and it was from my parents – for me! I unwrapped slowly, every breath was a silent prayer. Could it be? Do my parents know me, the way they truly claim to know me? Or was I forever going to receive gender normative dolls and princess gifts, doomed to be eternally misunderstood? As I finished my silent absurdist reverie, the gift lay before me: there in my hands were five brand new, hard cover Hardy Boys mystery novels.
The Perry Como record chose that moment to skip. The room went quiet. Every face turned expectantly towards mine. The twinkling lights on the ornately decorated tree reflected in my tear filled eyes.
I had never felt so seen, heard and understood.
My Christmas dream came true! I spent the next several weeks devouring those books, secure in the knowledge that even though I wasn’t a typical eight-year-old girl, I was loved and known.
Every day I get to live this life; writing, creating, laughing and loving, continues to be a dream come true. Take a look at this awesome gift-giving guide filled with great ideas for all the youngsters in your life. May all your Christmas dreams come true!
1. Macrame Baby Swing Chair by Hang A Hammock
2. The First 1000 Days Baby Journal by Nikki McClure
3. 100% Merino Felt Baby Mobile by Dundry Hill
4. Natural Wooden Teether by Clever Finch Designs
5. Muslin Swaddle Blanket by Milk Barn Kids
6. Roots Tri Blend Baby T-Shirt by Seven Miles Per Second
7. My Wildbird Ring Sling by Wildbird
8. Kids Shredding Tiger Natural T-Shirt by Tiny Whales
9. Farm Animals Puzzle Blocks by Stacy Wong Handmade
10. Tote Bag Sandwich Bag by Olula
11. Kids Pop Up VW Camper Tent by Hearth Song
12. Wool Pennant Flags by Strawberry Moth
13. Wooden Camera Toy by The Twig Co
14. The Classic VW Bus Tee by Row Shop
15. Sparkly Bow by Roses and Rocket ships
16. Little Lamb Baby Knit Hat by Sweet Pea Toad