Each year at Christmas, we hold a Secret Santa event within the family.
Names are drawn at Thanksgiving and then you have until Christmas to get your gift. The only requirement? That it be handmade.
When the kids were little, this sometimes led to some interesting gifts – one year I got a pair of dangly macaroni earrings that pretty much went down to my belly button.
And of course, there was the time, one son taped large seltzer bottles into an “M” (for Marc) and called it a day.
As we’ve all gotten older, the gifts have become a little more creative, a little more advanced in skill, and a little more useful – although I don’t think that anything will match the year – a horribly off-key and without any sense of rhythm, but entirely earnest son recorded himself onto a CD singing Christmas carols.
Of course, this year of COVID had its own challenges. We had to somehow secure the materials we needed to make our gifts (and also stay out of stores) and then we had to find private time in a house where several people are hunkering down in order to work.
This year I pulled my oldest son’s name. What to make? What to make?
He lives in an apartment and is not fond of knick-knacks. I knew that whatever I made; it was going to have to be useful.
A small picture frame taken from the Goodwill pile (we have a never-ending pile of things to donate to the Goodwill), some embroidery thread that I got from a No-buy Facebook forum, and a child’s toy catalog gave me the inspiration I needed for this year’s gift. (The catalog listed a “my first embroidery kit”.)
Behold my son’s “Year of COVID Secret Santa mask holder”. This is intended to be hung by his front door right next to where he hangs his keys, as a place where he can park his masks and let them air out between use.
In this very extraordinary year, the COVID mask holder turned out to be a very useful and caring Secret Santa gift indeed.