Back to Basics

Hi everyone! I'm David. I am dedicated to the sales department, and I have the opportunity to work with all of the amazing ladies at Local Scrapbook Stores on a daily basis! Hopefully you've been able to find Authentique Paper products at your LSS, but if not, please send them our way! {It's in my blood, I had to throw in the sales pitch!} Anyway, I am sure you know why I'm writing today's blog post - Sam recently asked us all to take a turn and share some of our favorite Christmas memories on the blog. I tried to think of the most elaborate Christmas, the best trip, or the year that I got the entire GI JOE collection, but none of those are as memorable as the one I want to share with you today...

Like me, my dad was a salesman. Some years were great and others not so much. In my youth I never knew about the 'ups and downs' of a sales career. Now that I am older, raise kids of my own, and reflect back to my childhood, I have had some great talks with my dad about how hard he worked to provide for our family. There is no doubt that the Christmas season can be a very stressful time of year for many families. It is easy to justify stretching the budget when your littlest one looks up with that face on Christmas morning that unspoken, but loud as can be, "I can’t believe Santa knew how much I wanted this gift." To me, this season is about having fun with the kids and remembering what Christmas is all about. Santa is just the icing on the cake!

Okay, back to my memory, I think I got a little side track setting the stage, I hope my intro wasn't too dramatic....

It was one of those years Dad didn't do as well as he had in the past - he was actually in between jobs during the holidays. We lived in the Northwest part of the country and my Dad took a job installing cable TV to try and make a little extra money. As a kid I just thought it was cool that I had a COX cable van parked in front of the house. My dad worked very hard to keep the family in a warm house and to put food on the table, but there wasn't much left for Christmas.

When I look back, I refer to this Christmas as our "Montana Christmas". My grandparents had a humble little cabin in Whitefish, Montana. It seemed to take all day to drive to the cabin, and needless to say, my two brothers, sister and I were not cheerful children by the time we arrived. The cabin was a one bedroom, with a little loft above the garage where the kids would sleep. (We would all run from one side of the loft to the other, at the same time, and we could actually feel the garage lean from side to side. I can only imagine what would have happened to our back-sides if Grandpa would have seen us in action.)

This one year in particular, my parents did a great job of taking our less than ideal financial situation and telling us we were going to have a “Back to Basics” Christmas. As kids, we complained about how boring it was going to know, boring stuff like cutting down our own tree to decorate, building a fire each day to keep the cabin warm! We were told to make of the gifts we wanted to give to each other. Some of us drew pictures, others made things out of paper, and we tried to whittle things out of wood. There was only one rule: It all had to be handmade, by yourself. (I am sure the "Montana Christmas" is where I began my love for this industry and realized a handmade gift means so much more than a store bought one.)

So, for my blog post today, I thought these little handmade gifts I created for my Mom and Dad with the Free Bird Series, were a good reminder that you can never go wrong with a “Back to Basics” Christmas. I think these would be nice to fill with candy or popcorn and hang on your neighbors door. They are simple and easy to make, but show that you took the time to create a gift for your friend or loved one.

I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and I hope you will find a little extra time to "make" a gift or card for the few special people in your lives. Maybe, it will be the Christmas they remember more than any other Christmas.... Thanks Mom and Dad for all the efforts you put into the Holidays every year!


  1. Beautiful memories! Thanks for sharing!

    {And I am totally impressed at your crafting skill...those look great!}

  2. What an awesome memory! I love the idea and try to make most of my gifts.

  3. Hi, David! Definitely handmade gifts are the best in my book. Your idea of a "back to basics" is perfect for a neighbor who drops by with that batch of cookies (esp. the ones who LOVE popcorn - COUGHmeCOUGH!lol!). Thanks for sharing your holiday memories!

  4. Great post. Back to the basics is something everyone needs...even year 'round. But what would make this the best Christmas ever is a Croppin Party with Dave Ross!

  5. Wow, what a beautiful and heartfelt post and so eloquently written...thanks so much for sharing!


  6. Fabulous post David... I am seriously impressed with your paper skills... mighty impressive my friend:) Wishing you, your gorgeous wife and all those beautiful kids a wonderful Christmas!


  7. Merry Christmas David. I loved your story.

  8. What a sweet story David! My mom was a single parent and worked 2 jobs. I don't ever remember having a Christmas where I didn't get everything I asked for, but now that I am grown I realize how much Mom had to work for that! This year, most of the gifts we are giving will be handmade. On my side of the family, we have 7 kids and our families and we draw names every year - the adults draw for adults and the kids 20 and younger draw for children. The rule this year is it has to be handmade or a limit of $5. I am thrilled because I prefer to make my gifts :) On my hubby's side there are only 3 kids and he is the only married with children so we usually buy for all. However, they are getting handmade gifts also. So, even though I am madly working on gifts still, I am more excited than I would be with store bought gifts. I think that handmade is so much better and really shows the love and thought that goes into the gift. Thanks for sharing these cute little cones - I think they will be perfect for my neighbors :)

  9. What a wonderful Christmas memory you've shared. I do try and make gifts of some sort every year, but I'm slacking this year. Have got all my cards made and mailed out, now maybe I'll make some ornaments. Thanks for sharing your paper creations, they are the perfect gift!

  10. Love to be able to stretch a dollar, and what a better way than homemade gifts and ornaments!

  11. What David writes is totally true, I was there!That really was a memorable Christmas. We made all the ornaments for the tree that year. Too bad we didn't have pretty Authentique paper then.

  12. I have to say Dave is pretty amazing at what he does! Thank goodness for his Christmas crafting experience... His ideas & talent comes in handy with kid projects!
    Dave shares this story with our kids each year reminding them of the meaning of Christmas. Just last year it brought tears to our eyes when our oldest girls made their gifts for each family member. Nothing is better than the thoughtfulness that goes behind a handmade gift! Thank you Dave for being the amazing man you are to our family & at Authentique.

  13. That's an awesome story! Christmas is always tight for almost everyone I think... I suggested to my husband that we do a "Handmade Christmas" this year since he is a carpenter and can build amazing things and I am a paper crafter and can make beautiful things with paper, but he didn't think it would be a good idea because his family isn't as crafty. I think next year we might just try it, even if it is having our kids draw pictures, it is the thought that counts and THOSE are the gifts and memories that last a lifetime! <3

  14. Hi David, It's so great to see a guy on one of these blog hops! I loved your holiday memory you shared. We had a few of those Christams' growing up with my siblings and all of my step siblings. I loved the part about the long drive in Montana especially! I have lived most of my life in Southern California and everything I have ever needed was usually within a 5 mile radius. Over 2 years ago I moved to Montana with my husband and everything is so far apart here that it takes hours to get to the next "city" or anywhere else you might want to go. It's an all new experience for me. But I love it here! Thanks for sharing your handmade gifts. Have a very merry Christmas!


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