Growing up I never thought that my family had any "traditions". All of the famous Christmas movies we'd watch during the holidays revolved around families embarking on annual vacations or picking out the perfect tree together (neither of which my family ever did). I thought that certainly I was missing out on something special about Christmas-in fact I didn't think we had very many family traditions at all. Sure, we all sing an extra verse of "Happy Birthday" that nobody else seems to know the words to and enjoy treats like pizzelles and potica during the holidays but nothing seemed quite as special as the pastimes commemorated in everyone's favorite Christmas carols.
Now that I'm older I realize that family heritage and customs can be found in the smallest details of how we celebrate and that as an adult I can start creating traditions of my own. I realized while working on some special custom orders that making meaningful gifts for families has become a favorite tradition of mine during the holidays - and I consider myself pretty lucky since it is, in fact, my job to do so.
For the past three years people have brought in button down shirts that belonged to their loved ones and I've taken those materials and transformed them into gifts to give to their family members. I absolutely love working on these projects and do my best to document the process but during such a crazy time of year it's sometimes hard to remember that important step of the process.
I recently worked on set of six neckties made from upcycled shirt fabrics brought to me by a woman named Sharon. These shirts were all labeled with the name and some details of her grandchildren who these special neckties would be made for. The shirts belonged to her late husband and the neckties were a way to pass down the memory of grandpa in a way that would remind Bryce, Ryan, Jamison, Tyler, Kaylee and herself of the great man that he was.
This is just one of the many custom projects that I've worked on (and am still working on) this Christmas. I consider it such an honor to have families make them such meaningful gifts. Take a look at some of the before & aftter pictures below.