In Holiday & Seasonal

Here we are on the other side of Christmas…hope yours was very merry! I loved tucking the boys in on Christmas Eve. They got their pajamas on early and wanted to “get to it”, thinking that the faster they got to sleep, the sooner Santa would get here. I can remember that feeling of excitement as a kid, when you just can’t believe that Christmas has FINALLY come!

As an adult I get a funny feeling when it’s over. Like, “what was that?” The house looks like it was hit with a colorful bomb…toys, candy, wrapping paper, new socks and books strewn about. It’s a beautiful mess.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d take a minute and fill you in on that project I started (and finished!). It’s one of my family’s traditions called a Jack Horner Pie, and its something we do on Christmas Eve. I Googled it, and it seems that there are lots of versions of Jack Horner Pies, but I’ll share the way we do it.

On Christmas Eve, after dinner when the little ones cannot bear another minute until gift time, let alone until morning, we pull out the “pie”. For some reason, ours has always been in the shape of a chimney, which I love. We clear the center of the table and put the chimney out. Inside there’s a small gift attached to a long ribbon with each person’s name on a tag at the end. Everybody gets a hold of their ribbon and pulls! Pop! Out of the chimney comes a little gift. Just enough to tie you over until the morning. This year I wrapped up each person’s “annual” ornament for the Jack Horner gifts.

The last few years we’ve had a cardboard box covered in red flannel with masking tape “mortar” marking out bricks. I put that polyfil snow stuff around the top. It was not pretty and was getting really ratty looking, but it worked in a pinch. This year I decided to make a nice one that would last for many years…hopefully!

This JHPie is made with felted wool sweaters (natch). I used charcoal gray to cover the box and appliqued red felt bricks. The top edge is a felted fisherman sweater to look like snow. The inside is lined with a beautiful red and ivory checked wool that was given to me. (It was originally a skirt.) I worked on it off and on over the weekend. The boys were very encouraging, checking on my progress and critiquing my work. I had a few structural issues and things were touch and go for a bit. But I was reassured that it looked good and that chimneys aren’t perfect and snow is supposed to be “bumpily”.

Oh, it was a wonderful sight. Christmas Eve, brand new Jack Horner Pie, happy faces, ribbons in hand…Pop! Just magic.

Hope your Christmas was just as magical with your own family’s traditions!

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Showing 11 comments
  • Heather L.

    How fun! I’ve never heard of Jack Horner Pie, but what a great idea! Your chimney came out beautifully!!!

    My sister made me a knitted, then felted, purse for Christmas complete with knitted, felted flowers. I was so excited! She and I are eager to have a craft day and make some felted balls with the wool fiber she has.

  • {kimmymade}

    That is gorgeous, and such a wonderful, creative way to carry your family tradition through the years!

  • MdG

    That is such a wonderful idea, I have never heard of it before. We might just have to do that next year. And I think that the chimney is just fabulous as usual.

  • JennyC.No3

    What a great idea! My daughter is 10 months old (how time flys!) and this sounds like a great tradition for the holidays.

  • Ali

    That’s a lovely tradition. When we were children, it was my mother who could never wait for Christmas morning and had to be pacified with an early Eve-gift!! She would thoroughly approve of the pie.

  • amandajean

    that is a sweet looking chimney! great job!!!

  • Mendy at Modern Charm

    I guess I was raised by wolves, because I’m new to the Jack Horner Pie (with the exception of the nursery rhyme, because evidently my wolf-mother shared that one with me and the other cubs).

    We do a Christmas book every year to open on Christmas eve and read before bed. This year was Curious George.

  • Julie

    Why is it a Jack Horner Pie? It is very cute! Does you book explain how to felt an old sweater? What a great idea for a family Christmas tradition.

  • Betz White

    Hi Julie,
    I probably should’ve linked to “Jack Horner pie” history, but I was lazy! :) It is called that from the nursery rhyme, Little Jack Horner. Apparently he sat in a corner eating his Christmas pie. I’ve read that the rhyme is based on historical events in Britain and at times important documents were smuggled inside pies!

    Anyway, instead of sticking in your thumb and pulling out a plum, you pull a ribbon and get a gift! :)

  • Julie

    Thanks for the explanation. I have never heard of that before, but I have heard the nursery rhyme.

  • succulentdiva

    yes yes yes! my grandmother read about this in a ladies’ magazine…gosh i would say it had to have been in the ’40s, and it was designed to be done christmas NIGHT after all the presents had been opened for one more tiny surprise. in recent years, we have taken to doing ours on christmas eve as well. we used to do christmas with my dad’s side of the family christmas eve and my mom’s the day after christmas (with christmas day reserved for just the four of us at home), so we would do our JHP with my sisters and nephew/niece because that gathering had the most kids. i can’t wait to start this tradition with my children (now 3 and 7 months) and have had so much fun buying “jack horner” presents!

    much love and happy holidays!

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