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I recently joined my partner’s family for their annual Christmas Reunion and White Elephant gift exchange. The invitation said handmade gifts were welcomed, so I thought I would do a painting. I recently discovered a Goodwill that had lots of frames 5×7 or smaller for around a $1. I grabbed quite a few and had one that I wanted to use for this gift. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do something that screamed Christmas, but definitely something wintry. I found a cute picture of blue birds in a bath and came up with this idea.

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I originally painted this on a larger piece of paper and trimmed it down to fit the frame. I highly recommend you size out your frame prior to painting or setting dimensions. It is easiest if you just buy that size of paper, but my supplies are limited so I make do. After I was satisfied with the painting, I trimmed it out and placed it into the frame.

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I have really been enjoying packaging my Patron’s monthly paintings and decided to do something similar for this gift. I have some music sheets that I also picked up at a thrift store ages ago. I took two pages and trimmed off a little of the excess around the borders. I taped the shorter edges together to create one long piece of music that wrapped around the frame securely. I wrapped the frame in some tissue paper, some paper ribbon and added a handmade card as well.


It was my surprise when I woke up to see our Houston neighborhood turned into a winter wonderland when I took these photos. It was honestly the best Christmas gift I could have imagined. From the day I got here I was adamant that it doesn’t get cold here. But as Mother Nature does, she reminded me that she’s in control. She’s right.
I also made a small and very quick business card for the package. I could have done a better job with the lettering, and the giant weird vines are hiding a mistake, but I am still proud. Part of doing something new is learning from your mistakes. This is how you learn to improve! And I’m trying.


Overall I am very happy with how this gift turned out. It was a very beautiful day of family and food and love. I am so very glad that I was able to join Reid’s family this year. I hope you are having a great holiday season, as best as you can. I know that things are rough right now for a lot of people for a lot of reasons. We have so much to fight for and so much to be thankful for. Remember that this Christmas. I love you all.
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– Charlie Kristen
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