By Melissa Wynn

During the gifting holiday season many large families draw names out of a hat to decide who will buy gifts for whom. This can be a great money saving idea but can also leave someone wishing they could have provided a more personal gift for their aging relatives and new babies.

A great way to let everyone participate in a group giving situation is craft a family quilt. Perhaps you have a new family member, born since last Christmas or due to arrive during the holidays. Sometimes the holidays have a special guest that only makes it to the party once in a while that everyone wants to celebrate this year. These are the perfect recipients of a hand crafted family quilt.

This project requires some effort so it is best to begin early. Simply have each family member wishing to participate craft one quilt square. For sewing simplicity each square should be the same size. Each square should speak to the relationship between the giver and the receiver. For instance, if the quilt is being crafted for Grandpa Joe, and he took you fishing every summer as you grew up, a great square from you would be a fishing themed square.

Once everyone has completed their square the family’s best seamstress or a hired professional does the construction of the quilt. Quilting is a specialized skill and not all families are blessed with a quilting specialist. Search your local area for a seamstress or business that does alterations and other sewing services. For a few fun hours making the square and a few dollars donated by each gift giver, your group can create a family heirloom that will be  past down for generations to come. Our family quilt  was created as a graduation gift for Westwood local Ashlee House Herrera. Each square was crafted by someone close to her heart and the finished product was patched together by a close family friend.

Those of you that love the quilt idea, but would never get around to sewing your square, have an alternative, courtesy of technology. These days you can go online and have a picture of anything printed on pretty much anything. In this case gather photos from each family member that depict  a special time with the gift recipient. Once you have all the photos simply go online and search photo quilts and blankets. Numerous services are available to do the quilting, you log in, upload the photos, choose the layout and color scheme and click the buy button. Again these things take time so any early start is best to insure your special gift arrives in time for Christmas. The photo blanket pictured was a Fathers Day gift for Lassen County resident Tom Underberg designed by his children and grandchildren.

Whether you sew it yourself or upload the images, wrap someone with love this Christmas in a cozy quilt or blanket patched together with family sentiment and memories.Family Quilt