Christmas Poetry Project (+ Bamboo Toothbrushes)

My family typically doesn’t buy each other Christmas gifts—except for my parents, who would get stuff for us four kids—but this year we decided to start doing no gifts from anyone. We all have what we need and would rather spend time together playing games (or watching “The Office”) than to unwrap things our parents spent money on.

That said, since I had the two weeks before Christmas at home and the itch to create, I gave myself a mini-poetry project. I’d select a poem for each member of my family and gift it to them for Christmas.

This way, I’d be exposed to a greater number of poems during the selection process, helping me along on my poetry journey, while also spending $0 on homemade gifts. It was realistic and thus approachable.

I checked out a poetry anthology from the library and borrowed three other poetry collections from my grandma’s bookshelf:

Then I spent a few days browsing through all of them, looking for anything that reminded me of any of my five family members. I got most of my poems from “The Family Book of Best Loved Poems” (edited by David L. George), though I had some honorable mentions from all of the books.

After I had selected a poem for each family member, I wrote it out by hand on white card stock and then painted a watercolor border on watercolor paper. A little snip, snip, glue, glue, and they were done!

Here are the final poems:

Little Things

Life's Tests


A Book by Emily Dickinson

A Prayer for Every Day

Everyone got a bamboo toothbrush from Mother’s Vault along with their poem, since I’d bought two 4-packs back in August before I moved to Arizona (specifically to give the extras out at Christmas).

For anyone who’s new to this idea, by the way, plastic toothbrushes will never biodegrade. Rather, they will fill our landfills and pollute our oceans. Here’s why bamboo is a fantastic alternative (from Mother’s Vault’s website):

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant with natural antimicrobial properties, making it the perfect material to use.  Our mao bamboo toothbrush is made from 100% real biodegradable bamboo, features BPA-free bristles and plastic free compostable packing. This means no plastic waste, no chemicals in your body and no waiting for trees to regrow.

That was the first time I’d ever bought a bamboo toothbrush, and after using it for the past three months, I’m definitely on board to stay bamboo!

Finally, I wrote out a poem for myself as well (while I was at it), featuring Mary Oliver’s “Moments.”

Moments by Mary Oliver


Have you given handmade gifts before? Are any of these poems familiar to you? Do any particularly resonate with you?