“I don’t really feel like going,” Tanner muttered. He dropped his backpack on the floor and flopped onto a chair.
“But l thought you liked Cub Scouts,” Mom said as she handed him a snack.
“I don’t like Scouts now that I’m in the Webelos Den,” said Tanner. “I’m the only boy who is ten years old, so my friends all go to a different meeting. Besides, Brother Bevan said that they might just start sending me back to the Wolf Den where the younger boys are since there is no one else my age. It’s not as fun as it used to be. I just don’t want to go anymore.” Tanner sighed and put his head down on the kitchen table.
Mom gave him a hug. “l know Scouts might not seem as exciting right now,” she said, “But Brother Bevan is a great leader. Why don’t you give it another try?”
“Maybe,” mumbled Tanner.
“Well, before you leave, we need to have a short family meeting,” Mom said. She called for the other children to gather in the kitchen. When they were all sitting around the table Mom smiled. “Dad and l have an idea. December is just a month away and we thought we could have a ‘homemade Christmas’ this year.”
“What does ‘homemade Christmas’ mean?” asked Tanner’s younger sister, Laynie.
“Homemade means that instead of going to the store to buy presents, we make gifts for each other.”
“Make gifts?” Tanner’s little sister, Ellie, excitedly exclaimed.
“Yes,” explained Mom. “Gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, when we spend time making gifts for each other a little piece of our heart goes into the gift.”
“l don’t know what l could make,” said Tanner, shrugging his shoulders.
“Let’s start by making a list of some of the supplies we have here at home,” said Mom cheerfully. “I’m sure we’ll have some ideas to make this a fun homemade Christmas.”
“I have to leave for Scouts now,” said Tanner. He grabbed his coat and ran out the door into the cool November afternoon. A few minutes later he arrived at Brother Bevan’s house.
“Tanner, it’s great to see you here today,” said Brother Bevan as he opened the door.
“Hi,” mumbled Tanner. He shook Brother Bevan’s hand and sat on the couch.
“Since you’re the only ten-year-old Cub Scout right now, I thought we could look through the Webelos handbook and you could choose which activity badge you want to work on,” smiled Brother Bevan.
Sister Bevan brought a treat from the kitchen, and together Brother Bevan and Tanner flipped through the pages of the Webelos book.
“We could work on an art project, a sports project, a bike project . . .” said Brother Bevan as he read through some of the choices. But Tanner wasn’t listening. He was thinking about the homemade Christmas idea that his mom had suggested.
Brother Bevan set the handbook down. “Tanner, what’s wrong?” he kindly asked as he saw the thoughtful look on Tanner’s face.
“Well, my mom just told us we’re going to have a homemade Christmas this year. That means that instead of buying gifts at the store, we have to make them for each other. I don’t have any idea what l could make for my family.”
Brother Bevan was quiet for a few moments as he listened to Tanner. Then he put an arm around Tanner’s shoulders.
“Tanner, a homemade Christmas may be different than what your family has done in the past, but l have an idea.” He opened the Webelos book again and turned through the pages until he found a picture of woodworking tools. “What if we worked together on some homemade gifts and passed off your woodworking badge at the same time?”
Tanner sat up straighter on the couch. “What would we make?” he asked. Together he and Brother Bevan looked through the handbook.
“Here’s the pattern for a recipe box. Would your mom like that?”
“I think so,” said Tanner.
“What about painting wooden jewelry beads for your sisters?” Tanner was excited now. He eagerly looked at the pictures. The projects didn’t seem too hard to make and he would be earning an activity pin at the same time.
“Let’s go out to my garage and check my tools,” said Brother Bevan. “But in order to finish all of these gifts by Christmas, we might have to hold Scouts more than once a week.”
“That’s OK,” smiled Tanner. “I guess being the only Webelos Scout isn’t going to be as bad as l thought.”
During the next few weeks Tanner started going to Brother Bevan‘s house not just once during the week, but sometimes on Saturdays, too.
“Tanner, do you want me see if you can attend Scouts with the younger boys until some of them are old enough to come with you to Webelos?” asked Mom a few weeks later.
“No thanks,” said Tanner. He smiled as he thought about his surprise projects. He had a recipe box for his mom, a tie rack for his dad, some painted wooden bracelets for his sisters, and a wooden car for his little brother.
“I guess being the only Webelos Scout isn’t so bad after all. And,” Tanner said, giving mom a hug, “I think our homemade Christmas is going to be the best Christmas ever!”
As shared with Nettie Francis by Sarah Allred and Ginny Smith