A Crafty Kentucky Grandma Made a Jolly Santa and Mrs. Claus Out of Magazines
When I was a kid, I used to look so forward to getting the Sears, JCPenney and Service Merchandise Christmas catalogs in the mail. Pardon the pun, but the excitement was twofold. First, my sisters and I would comb through the catalogs and circle every single thing we wanted for Christmas. For the record, there wasn't much we didn't circle. Secondly, and this is where that pun comes in, after we made our rather lengthy and exhaustive Christmas lists, we would take those catalogs and fold them into DIY Christmas trees.
Come to think of it, the term DIY seems relatively new. Right? But we were pros of DIY projects back in the late 70s and early 80s. And folding our Christmas catalogs (or old phone books) into Christmas trees, spray painting them green and decorating them was something we looked forward to every year. And ya'll remember- the thicker the catalog, the bigger the tree! Of course, it would take hours (days) to fold all the pages, but the pay off was worth it.
Out of curiosity, I searched YouTube for some video tutorials. While those big, classic Christmas catalogs from the major department store chains are a thing of the past, the craft idea isn't. Today, lots of crafty folks are still making trees out of magazines.
There are plenty of videos available, but this one is one of the most popular and helpful!
While I didn't save any of my homemade trees from when I was a kid, I am in possession of some really fun family heirlooms. My grandmother, who notoriously HATED Christmas, did have some pretty epic and fun Christmas decorations. My cousin Tia has possession of my grandma's ceramic Christmas tree. See, my grandmother refused to put up a normal Christmas tree, so would only take the time to just plug her ceramic one into the outlet. At Christmas Eve gatherings at Russ and Catherine's, we would all gather and exchange gifts around a ceramic tree that was, at best, a foot-and-a-half tall. LOL! Catherine was most definitely Ebenezer Scrooge's half-sister.
But, she did have these!
She had a Santa and Mrs. Claus that were both made out of magazines. In fact, look closely at Santa!
You can see that his big old belly is made of folded pages from a magazine or catalog. I asked my mom if she knew what type of magazine was used to create our family's DIY Jolly Old St. Nick, but she couldn't remember. I flipped Santa upside down to see if I could make out some of the print on the pages, but it was nearly impossible. I can't see any photos on the pages, so I am inclined to think that these were made out of Reader's Digest magazines. I know my grandmother had a subscription to and read Reader's Digest, so that makes the most sense.
Here's Santa's companion- the Mrs.
As you can see, she too was created by folding the pages of a magazine. Then, cotton balls were glued around the base. Her apron is made of felt, much like Santa's belt. The heads of both were random plastic heads and I have no idea where they came from. All I know is that if you turn either Santa or Mrs. Claus upside down, their heads roll off. LOL!
I chatted with my mom this week to get more information about these amazing DIY heirlooms. I have Santa and Mrs. Claus on display on a buffet in my house. I asked mom if she knew exactly how and when my grandma made them. As it turns out, she doesn't know. Honestly, we're not even sure she made them at all. There's a strong possibility she purchased them from one of her coworkers at General Electric.
All I truly know is this. These DIY dolls are a vivid part of my childhood memories of Christmas at my grandparents' house and I love that they've been preserved and passed down to me. And, while I certainly inherited my distaste of Christmas from my grandmother (I am notoriously a Scrooge too), I do enjoy displaying this holiday treasures from when I was young.