Christine Stabler, M.D., hopes to avoid shopping this holiday season.

“I grew up believing that something made by hand is more valuable than anything you can buy, because it’s made with love,” she said.

When she was growing up, Dr. Stabler made cards, picture frames and Christmas tree ornaments. Now she makes jewelry for lucky recipients on her holiday gift list.
 

Christine Stabler, M.D., gives handmade jewelry as holiday gifts.

Dr. Stabler, who practices at LG Health Physicians Family Maternity Medicine and serves as LG Health Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Dean for Temple University School of Medicine, retreats to her attic jewelry “studio” at least once a week.

She finds jewelry-making a fun creative outlet – and a great end-of-day stress reliever.

“This is therapy for me,” said Dr. Stabler, who has practiced medicine for 36 years and counts walks in the park with her Corgi puppy, Tillie, as a second source of therapy.

Making things by hand is a family tradition. Dr. Stabler’s father, now 91, still makes birthday cards for his wife. Her mother, 86, bakes dozens of loaves of German stollen (fruit bread) as Christmas gifts for her retirement-community neighbors.

Dr. Stabler’s own creative pursuits also include baking, sewing, music and painting. She will make decorations and food for her daughter’s wedding later this month.

The family’s attic is full of homemade Halloween costumes. Dr. Stabler and her husband dressed as “Frozen” characters – he was Sven, and she was Olaf -- last Halloween.

She also started making her own clothes at a young age.

“I was 5 inches taller than everyone else, so it was a challenge to find age-appropriate clothing that I liked,” she said. “I started sewing in fifth grade.”

Carpal tunnel surgery left some numbness in Dr. Stabler’s hand, which limits her ability to paint and play guitar. Jewelry-making is easier because it doesn’t rely as heavily on her fine-motor skills.

“A lot of people wear jewelry, so it’s easily givable,” she said. “For me, it’s fun. I like to use my hands.”

Dr. Stabler finds design inspiration everywhere, but especially on Pinterest. She custom-makes each piece specifically for a recipient on her gift list, which includes co-workers and staff at her favorite nail salon.

“Nothing in my life is ever finished,” she said. “It’s always continuing. That’s the nature of family medicine. This is something I can hold up that’s finished. It’s instant gratification.”

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