Monday, December 8, 2014

The spirit of the season

This year, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the War to End All Wars, World War I. Looking back at the carnage, it's amazing to think that the small actions that took place in Sarajevo in July of that year would lead to four years of misery, death and destruction on a scale that could hardly be envisioned.

And, yet, there was an act that took place in the trenches along the western front that defied logic. Early Christmas morning in 1914, British soldiers heard Christmas carols being sung in English - coming from the German lines. Wary of a possible sneak attack, the British soldiers held their positions until they could see their adversaries leaving their trenches unarmed. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle as soldiers from the warring nations exchanged gifts of cigarettes and plum pudding and sang carols together. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a soccer game.

While this is an extreme case of what the holiday spirit can do, we are invited each year to do something meaningful for those we care about - or maybe even those we don't necessarily like. Oh, sure, we can easily shop online for the trendiest and most expensive gifts out there, but as woodworkers, we can do something that many others can't - we can give gifts that represent care, thought and our very own time.

Through our woodworking projects, we show our care for those who are special to us. From the thought that goes into design or selection of an appropriate plan to the choice of wood to the skill we put into making our joinery tight, each step of the crafting process reminds recipients that a real person who cares about them took the time to make something for them. 

A cutting board I built as a gift a few years back - it gets used for nearly every meal.
It will be a tangible reminder of that person every time it the gift is looked at or used. From a hope chest for a daughter, a picture frame for a newly married couple or a cutting board for a talented cook, those gifts will speak to them years into the future, and may become part of the family legacy that will outlive each of us. 

That's what the Last Minute Elf is all about - taking the time out of our busy schedules to get to our shops to make those memories. No, the projects don't have to be fancy they don't have to be elaborate or expensive. By being hand-crafted and a representation of our care, they become priceless to the recipients.

So, get out into those shops, woodworkers. Make those memories for the special people in your lives. And know that one day, many years from now, the recipient will look at your work and smile, knowing just how much time, care and love went into making that special gift for them.

Remember, we are looking for your Last Minute Elf submissions, ideas and tips - the best ones will win prizes courtesy of the Gorilla Glue Company. Be sure to send them to

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