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Tis the Holiday Season

Better Homes & Gardens
Treasury of Christmas Crafts & Foods

Submitter: This is one tacky Christmas book from 1980. Yes, it has the “Better Homes and Gardens” cred, but open it up….yikes. 382 pages of a whole lot of needlepoint, quilting, homemade crap (er, crafts) and the gaudiest tablescapes that would horrify even Sandra Lee.   The “Beautiful Creche Figures” will give you nightmares. Check out the face of the little boy who is sitting among the plush dinosaurs- priceless!

Holly: Okay, I usually am the designated Scrooge, but I think even the most enthusiastic crafter would probably have issues living in this insane Christmas world.    Check out the mother daughter tea party.

Mary:  The needlepoint Holy Family is just plain scary.  (At least I think that is the Holy Family…)


0 Responses to Tis the Holiday Season

  • I’ve shelved this thing. So I had to check the catalogue at my local, and was relieved, and a little disappointed, that it’s not there. Probably got stolen.

  • I actually checked this book out of my library very recently! I’m sort of a sucker for retro crafts, though. Which is why I think the old-school Readers Digest sewing guide is the best, because of the totally 70s projects (Radish applique pillows!!)

  • It’s strange but true that craft books age very, very badly. I think my library has the whole series of these–a new one comes out every year (or at least did in the 1980s and 1990s).

  • That mother in the mother daughter tea party looks scary! Or really excited to be photographed.

  • I agree that the needle point family is too much, but any of that other stuff taken in moderation would actually be cool. Those multicolored candles by themselves are beautiful, for instance. Or those pillows on a nice, ordinary couch. The problem isn’t that these things are ugly, it’s that there’s too much of it in one place. Kind of like wearing too much makeup.

  • Dear lord….I think my mom has this book. It’s just waaaaay too familiar.

    I kinda like the dinos. Nothing says Christmas more than dinos on the living room floor. It’s the weird thing over the fireplace that has me scratching my head. Three wisemen perhaps?

  • *shudder*

  • CREEPY!! I think this book was from the Laura Ashley era where more was…more. And the library I work at actually has this book!! haha..

  • I had a feeling about this one, so I looked and my library does indeed own a copy.

    Even better…. it’s checked out right now.

  • Eighteen dollars! In 1980 that was like $35. But, hey, that’s a lot of stuff!

  • Boy is that a cavalcade of God-Awful. You are right…I like the mother/daughter and how Mom musta used scraps when sewing the tablecloth to make her own outfit….or was that the other way around? That little boy in the 2nd photo is clearly saying to the camera “get me the hell out of here!”
    Some truly hideous stuff. Thanks for sharing!
    Had fun with your website this year and will in the future…and enjoyed chatting with those who stop by. Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year (as I call it, Triple X –2010–XX-X), and please do not make any of the crap (er…crafts) in this book!

  • So much to commment on… such little space.
    I think the colour schemes were drug induced… they did use a lot of codine in the cough medicine back then
    I am worried about those two children and dog around that many candles…
    I doubt very hightly that the quilted dress, picture frames, pillows and table cloth ever became heirlooms like they predicted
    The second wise man from the left in the creche seems to have a cold… or a drinking problem

  • Totally laughing at the “mom-a-flage” in the tea party picture. And man, that needlepoint creche is so freaking hysterical!! If the second wise man is a drunkard, “Mary” right looks the evil queen from Sleeping Beauty. And is that an armadillo coming to see baby Jesus?

  • The way Tea party Mom blends in with her surroundings it’s amazing the daughter can even find her.

  • This is why we don’t miss the ’80’s.

  • is that really a library book with a price tag on it?

  • …after seeing the “crafts” I’m almost afraid to see pictures of the “& Foods”…

  • Wow, that’s a whole lotta tackiness! Could they have crammed in one more potted plant or poinsettia in that living room with the dinosaurs??? And, I can’t even bring myself to think of words to describe those Creche figures…

  • You know, books like these are STILL a big check out thing at my library. A lot of college age girls are checking out craft and knitting books from the 80s and earlier. Especially the more the economy goes downhill.

    I still say take any one of those items (except that manger scene – looks like something out of a Sam Raimi or Tim Burton flick) out of that environment, put it in some place where the rest of the stuff is “normal” or even bland, and I assure you you’d find it cute or even beautiful. I mean, look how the only thing that hasn’t gotten a nasty comment is the blue and white frame. Why? Because it’s not surrounded by a bunch of other stuff.

  • I love it when you show pages from inside the book and not only the cover! It’s only then that we can truly appreciate the horror. Can anyone say “over-decorated”?

  • A very good weeder once said to me when I was anguished (in the late 1980’s) about deleting old macrame books from the 1960’s, “Kathleen, if macrame comes back in there will be new projects, new supplies, and the pictures will be in color (most of the 60’s items had muddy b&w photos).” My experience is that we need to keep a constant flow of new needlework books coming in and that over time a few will be designated by users as “classics”- those that are used well beyond the 3-4 years of popular use. After that time use drops precipitously- and the weeding should begin. Sell this “gem” to a collector who doesn’t mind that she/he has old item in their collection and use the money to support Library programs and purchases.

  • @Rachel
    If you look closely its Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus on the banner over the fireplace… the purple afros may have thrown you off

    • OOOOOH! OK!

      And, yeesh, if it was a picture of the three wise men…then one of them had really weird legs!

      I see it now. Duh=Me.

      • Ha – I thought they were legs too!

        I only just realized that you can zoom in on the photos. And now I wish I hadn’t.

  • I kinda of love retro crafts and all but moderation is a definite must with this book in mind.I’m still pondering what animal is next to Joseph? a cat? a tiger? or… and do you think anyone ever got around to making the scary nativity set I imagine children whimpering when looking at it and having nightmares

  • that creche really IS scary-like zombies.

  • The doll on the front cover will come alive and kill us all. She is right up there with a clown.

  • Always the weirdo, I actually find this book charming in a John Denver-meets-the-Muppets kind of way. I agree with jamisings–some of this stuff in moderation might be nice.

  • I’m sure in the Bible there’s no mention of a blue badger visiting the baby Jesus…

    • Really… look in Hesitations 4:37
      “… and the blue badger did knaw upon the leg of the manger, and lo the angel of the Lord told it to knock off.”

    • It’s a sheep. A blue sheep, yes, but still a sheep.

      Maybe some Prozac will make it less blue.

  • *ahem* i had to scroll up to see what you were talking about with the mother daughter tea party thing… i didn’t see a mum in the pic when i first looked

  • This reminds me of a book I weeded a couple of years ago, a horrible craft book from the 70s/80s that included a coffee table made of empty beer cans. Which should never have been in a high school library at all, come to think of it. Garish colors and just TOO MUCH of everything seemed to be the theme for craft books from that period.

    Oh, and what’s up with the animal tracks all over the couch cushions in the dinosaur picture? It looks like the dinosaurs have been wandering around at night … no wonder the kid looks terrified!

  • I misread that banner that says “Rejoice” and thought it said “Prejudice.”
    The dinosaurs are cool but I’m going to have nightmares about that cover doll. I’m sure that R.L. Stine has written 8 stories about her.

  • actually retro crafts are very in right now, i am certain at some point i’ve checked this book out of my local library, it looks very familiar. if you are a non-crafter, this book would seem very strange but to some people it would be a great book to get ideas from

  • Okay, how has no one mentioned the HORROR that is the tie on that man in the third picture? Sweet mother of Moses, is that scream inducing.

  • Was the Holy Family made by the satanists from those other books?

    The boy with the dinosaurs is called DAMIEN…

  • A couple of years ago I worked at a book store that sold new editions of these books. I say new editions, but really the crafts were the same, they just came up with (mildly) better pictures. They were incredibly popular- people paid $30 for them. I say this shouldn’t be weeded.

  • I snicker, because I’ve been recommending the removal of books just like this one from our collection. And yet, they’re still there, too embarrassing to display!

  • How has no one mentioned what mom is wearing in the Dino Picture? I think the kid is scared because mom is shaped like a cone.

  • why’d everythin look so cluttered and messy for the holidays?

  • I am pretty sure I’ve looked at this book recently, either in my own home or in a relative’s. I remember my mom making a lot of things like are in this book back when we were kids.

    Thanks for including photos from inside the book. I always find that fun.

  • I like the creche figures. They’re gothy. I enjoy spooky things.

  • The mother/daughter pic reminds me of something from a cult. “Yes, dear…when you grow up your husband shall have 15 wives and you kids will have 183 brothers and sisters.”

  • I know my mom had this book; she may still. She had the whole series, but I specifically remember this one because, as a girl enamored with Little House on the Prairie, I wanted that ragdoll with shoe-button eyes that’s pictured on the cover (which seems to have freaked out some of you, LOL).

  • For the first time I disagree. I have this book and it has some really nice things in it. As with any craft book, there will be things you don’t like but overall it’s well done. And by the way, my sister, the librarian, gave it to me just 3 years ago.

  • i may never sleep again.

  • I MADE the needlepoint creche/nativity set. Took me several years. It is absolutely GORGEOUS!

  • I would absolutely love to own this book if (and only if) it had the patterns for some of the ornaments etc in. Believe it or not – i believe these are making a come-back BUT in a very different way! And yes, in this case less (way way WAY less) would be loads more!

    I dont have dinosaurs on my christmas decor list but i think they will make neat gifts for any kid who likes these huge lizzards!

  • PS. I just noticed the second humanoid in the “nature lovers Christmas” photo… Camouflage Christmas might actually work if you’re the host to the mad hatters black and white tea party! You could simply vanish….