Make Things by Hand to Celebrate More Than Craft

A treasured family tradition of “Craft Day” expanded yet again when more members of the extended family joined the annual card-making event at Christmas.

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Craft Day with sisters

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Craft Day with sisters

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Craft Day - Neices

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Craft Day – Neices

For the second year we chose to make personalized birthday cards for each family member, 29 in all.

Last year’s post detailed “The Litter of Creativity,” but that’s only part of the story.
Craft Day highlights togetherness and celebrates the joy that comes from making things by hand. It’s about camaraderie, laughter, teasing and remembering. No question. Craft Day is a happy time.

Time and creativity is not limited to the female side of the family. Brother Jim wrote a poem about the event:

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Brother's Poem

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Brother’s Poem

The Making of the Birthday Card
It was the Day After Christmas
And my Mom and sisters
Did what they did last year
Get together and made Birthday cards
For all in he family – far and near –
And that lovely niece Katie also was there
They giggled and talked
Girl talk where you lose your mind
They made each one in the family
A lovely card that would get delivered
Just in time
By someone special and kind
Donna still has your card
From last year. With all the puppies
And cats and birds there
It was made with love
And tenderness and care
You definitely could not go out
And buy that card anywhere
The Christmas spirit was in the air
Jim and Donna thank you there.
-Your Brother Jim

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Craft Day Poem delivery

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Craft Day Poem delivery

In an unexpected ripple effect, craft day amped up family awareness. Everyone at craft day signs each completed card. Since we’re scattered all over the country, a multi-signature birthday card is even more special when it arrives. (No one signs or sees their own card. That’s a surprise.)

It’s possible craft day has irrevocably changed our family. Brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews commented about cards they received during the past year. Hand-made gifts were especially acknowledged during the big get-together. One senses appreciation for all things hand-crafted.

As the organizer of craft day, I collect and bring supplies. In celebration of this post, I unpacked the box and posted a new list of requests for upcoming Craft Day 2015.

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Craft Day Supplies

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Craft Day Supplies

I’m amazed at the response. Here’s a card from my sister:

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Post Craft Day Card

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Post Craft Day Card

And, another from one of my nieces:

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Post Craft Day card

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Post Craft Day card

While I realize American Craft Magazine wasn’t thinking of my family when they penned this Twitter bio, it perfectly sums up my perception of Craft Day:

“American Craft celebrates the age-old human impulse to make things by hand, in order to communicate, learn, heal and connect.”  @AmericanCraft on Twitter

Do you make things by hand?