When Laura Glunt got married, her new father-in-law, Bill, knew she wanted to have a creche in every room of her home. So the next Christmas, in 1996, he started making her a nativity. Carving figures and structures from poplar, he has added an element of the manger scene every year since.
Laura Glunt has achieved her goal of having a nativity in every room of her house. Some were purchased on travels in the United States and abroad. She made nativities for each of her two daughters that they could play with and not break when they were young. Her daughters have since started making their own.
“But this is still one of my most treasured nativities,” Laura says of the one made by her father-in-law.
Laura is one of several readers who shared stories of their favorite homemade Christmas decorations with us this year. Here are some of their memories and photos.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas!
A creche reflects real life
Each year, my father-in-law hand carves an addition for this poplar wood nativity. The first year it was the Holy Family. The next year it was a shepherd, and so on. As I look at it today, it is amazing how quickly it seems my collection has grown. Often the piece represents something that has happened in our family’s life: a well the year we moved to the desert, a sheep dog the year we adopted a dog, a tiny angel the year our nephew passed away.
Each Christmas, I look forward to finding out what the new addition will be. My daughter loves my nativity so much she requested (and received) a miniature version of her own.
– Laura Taylor Glunt, Wichita
My homemade Christmas decoration is not just one but a whole tree full! It all started when my three children were small and we would make Christmas cookies every year. In the year 2000 or so, which would have made my oldest child 16, we got more creative with our cookies, doing some of them free hand. Elaborate and creative is the game here! I then decided that they should choose two that they wanted to save, and I spray-shellacked them after drying them for months. I use yarn for the hanger, and their name and the year is put on the back of the cookie. My children are all in their 20s now, we have gotten my son-in-law into it, and now the grandkids too! Anyone who is in our home on "Cookie Day" makes a keepsake cookie, and it goes on a white lighted cascade tree. We have quite a cast of characters, and it grows every year!
– Di Zeller, Wichita
Mary tops the tree
This is Mary. I made her when I was in kindergarten in 1964. She is made out of a stuffed paper lunch sack and then painted. Mary was our tree topper for many years. Years later, after I was married, my mom had her put into this shadow box to help preserve her, and now she sits on our mantel every Christmas.
– Glenna Lowe, Wichita
Karg Glass ornament
In November, my daughter took me to Karg Glass Art studios in Kechi, where we each got to design and blow our own ornament. I will treasure this ornament and the memories of that day forever!
– Kim Hobbie, Wichita
The stuff of neck ties
When my father, grandfather and father-in-law died, we had many neck ties. We had them made into Christmas tree ornaments for all our children and grandchildren. I leave a couple of them out year-round, but at Christmastime when we decorate the tree, the ornaments remind us of occasions when the ties were worn, stories that were told and the character and love they instilled in each one of us. Merry Christmas!
– Glenda Fleener, El Dorado
Dancing Santa Claus
One handmade item that I hang up every Christmas is a dancing Santa Claus that my husband, Wayne, made in grade school in Planeview 60-plus years ago. He is now 74. His parents always had it on their tree, and now I hang it from my tall windows. He went on to make a smaller version for our son Toby, and he hangs it at his own home now. It is made out of cardboard and strings that pull from the bottom and make Santa dance.
– Joyce Mercer, Wichita
Her heart was in the right place
I was born on Nov. 15, 1966. For my first Christmas, my paternal grandmother made me a personalized fabric stocking. The problem was, she misspelled my name. The story is not clear as to why it says “Linette” and not “Lynette,” but I’ve treasured it all of these years.
– Lynette Murphy, Wichita
I have several homemade items that we put on the tree each year, but my favorite is a clothespin angel made by my grandmother in 1992. It came with the following poem that we read each year when putting up the tree: "Dear Jason, When you are grown and on your own, at Christmas time when you decorate your home, with lights and garland on your tree, hang up this angel and remember me, Love Grandma Rundell."
– Jason Rundell, Wichita
Soldier on guard
My mother made this 2-foot-tall “tin” soldier from a Styrofoam kit back in the early 1950s. After Mom passed away in 1989, he traveled widely with me during my 23 years in the military and he now resides, comfortably retired, here in Wichita, still proudly guarding his “family" every Christmas!
– Susan Livingston, Wichita
Ornaments in the round
I made this wreath from old ornaments that were used when my kids were little. My youngest, Jinna, is now 38 years old. Her dad made some of the ornaments from clay. I remember we had an ornament-making day. Lots of memories are on this wreath, and it has been displayed for several years now.
– Karen Hanks, Wichita