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  • Creating holiday memories that can last a lifetime




    Christmas is fast approaching. Are your kids as EXCITED as are mine? Isn’t it incredible how ALIVE and exuberant and full of mirth and glee they can get? I don’t know about you, but I am in awe. Unfortunately, I never seem to really enjoy Christmas. But this year, I decided to do everything in my power to not feel like Scrooge. I am no Chris Kringle, but I did something this year which really seemed to stir up my Christmas spirit.

    For the past few years I have made little handmade dolls for children in orphanages abroad. Each doll takes me 5 hours, because I do not have a sewing machine and so I stitch them by hand. I start in March, and just work away until Christmas. I love these dolls so much and wish every child in the whole world could have one! Unfortunately, they are costly to make because the materials I use are things like real lambs wool, beautiful velvet and felt, and high quality cotton knit so that they will be durable and last. I made them for Landon and Liam when they were babies, and they still sleep with and love their ‘little friends’. So, I had the idea to create a charity called THE LITTLE FRIENDS FOUNDATION.

    Unfortunately, this may be the last year I make these little heirloom dolls, as they are so labour intensive. I am actually not as crafty as I like to make it seem, but I do love to show my kids that it isn’t necessary to BUY everything and so I am determined always to TRY and make what we want. I made Christmas angels for our tree one year and gave them out as gifts for neighbours, friends and family.

    In the past, our family has also sent socks and tooth brushes and balloons to children’s hospitals and orphanages~ these items do not weigh much and so the shipping is very manageable. It is a JOY to give and my kids have always gotten the feeling that they are so lucky and are grateful for what they have.

    Well, THIS YEAR, I did something that has really been inspiring to me. Maybe it just feels so good because it was so simple and yet so heart-felt. I simply wrote out letters to all the people in my life who bless me with their love and friendship. I really thought about who is in my life and what they mean to me. It is, well, very touching to say the least.

    I also decided to create these love-letters on a bigger scale and invited the 400 members of our Tae Kwon DO club to write their letters of appreciation to the Master Instructor and what a beautiful outpouring of love he is going to receive this Christmas when he opens the box…

    So then, going over-board as I do in everything, I decided to continue by organizing this type of gift-giving in my children’s school.

    The wonderful point I am making, mostly to myself, is how easy it is to truly give when you give from the heart. Neither time, money or other resources being in short supply will stop you if you just tune into what is INSIDE YOU to give. Our hearts are so full, yet often the clamour and distractions of normal life drown out our deeper knowings. This year, I would encourage all moms to write a little message to your child or children, and perhaps keep this as a beautiful little tradition for every year at this time. My son even wrote one for HIMSELF!

    Blissful Blessings through the Holidays all you beautiful, amazing Moms! Here is my holiday painting I mad with all of you in mind.

    In-JOY,
    Shannon



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    1. By Jennifer on Dec 28, 2008

      those are beautiful dolls, and the children they are going to are sure to love them. Have you ever heard of Waldorf? That is what they remind me of. I would love to sew dolls like that. Do you have a pattern or something? It would be fun to do with my children, especially if it is hand sewing!

      I also love the idea of writing notes to my children, and to everyone of my relationships. Thanks for sharing this!

      [Reply]

    2. By Shannon on Dec 29, 2008

      YES! Jennifer, they are ‘waldorf’ dolls- as I have un-schooled my boys in the Waldorf tradition until the age of 7…another mom taught me how to make them, but there are patterns in Steiner and Waldorf books, if you google you will surely find them. You can read more about my creative, sacred parenting through unschooling in my manual and dvd RAISING CHILDREN RAISES US by clicking on the above icon ‘The Handbook For Peaceful Parenting’. Blessings xo

      [Reply]

    3. By echo on Jan 4, 2009

      Shannon,

      Tried to find out more on your Foundation – is there a web site? If you no longer create the lovely little dolls, would you permit others to do so using your pattern?

      [Reply]

    4. By Shannon on Jan 5, 2009

      Hello, thank you for your comment. I had visited a lawyer and gotten all the documents filed to register the charity so I could legally accept donations for materials and possibly hire sewing ladies, and had board memebers and all the requirements and then it became too complicated running the foundation when all I really wanted was to get these dolls into the hands of little ones; so I let it go and concentrated on just giving away dolls. Unfortunately, like I mentioned above they are very labour intensive, and expensive to make, and after 4 years I am not able to continue…I had started making them when my boys were babies from a girlfriend showing me, then just scaled down and made my giving dolls smaller never using a pattern. I would LOVE you to make these dolls- there are books but I am not sure of the names- just google ‘doll making according to Steiner’s indications’ or something like that, and start there.
      Are you interested in making them for your little one? Please let me know how you make out! xoShannon

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