Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How I Do a Handmade Christmas

I am in full gift making mode here.  I'm really actually doing quite well in spite of the fact that I got sick and spent all morning in bed yesterday.  I'm feeling much better and I think that I can safely assume that the need for late night crafting will be at a minimum if not non-existent.  Which to some may seem like an unattainable feat for Christmas gift making.  As I read some of my fave blogs I've discovered that many seem to believe that late night crafting and finishing gifts minutes before giving them is the norm, and I won't lie and say I've never done that but over the years I have become more adept at the holiday gift making.  I thought I might share a little bit of what I've learned over the years.

Sweet Bee Hollow via Buffy via Pinterest

First, I've been making my Christmas gifts to give for as long as I can remember.  Yes, think back to childhood.  I have always been that person who will make something for someone over buy them must be in my DNA because I'm just hardwired that way.

picture originally from a private flickr account
Buffy via Amy Schol Ward via Pinterest

What this means is that I've had a lot of time to get it right.  However there was one year that I didn't make the gifts.  I remember that one not with joy but great sadness.  It took me a couple of years to figure out why buying gifts was harder than making them, I didn't spend anymore money, the gifts were perfect, but somehow it just didn't feel right.  Then I realized that what I forgot to calculate in my gift prices was the time and love that went into making the gifts.  That's when I realized that my handmade gifts were much more expensive than the ones I bought.--side note, the reason we bought gifts that year was because we had spent much of the fall in the hospital with our son.  I literally did not have the time to make gifts, so we went with a theme and bought everyone really nice ornaments, you know the pricey ones you wouldn't usually buy but as a gift they were perfect.

Bower Power via Buffy via Pinterest

Now that I understand why I love handmade gifts so much more it makes it easier to do.  Also, I've learned that planning is key!  I honestly think about Christmas all year long.  This year I wanted to make all the kids (mine and the cousins) sweaters, but I knew I'd have to start in January.  It didn't happen and I'm totally fine with it, but I will be trying another themed project again for next year...I'll make it one year I'm sure :)  Yet, if you want to make all your gifts every year you have to plan.

Martha Stewart via Buffy via Pinterest

Also, you have to be reasonable.  I only give each person 1 gift.  The gifts I make are from the whole family...sometimes I have the kids make simple projects as gifts but as for buying gifts...that will have to wait until they start to earn their own money.  Also, we buy stocking stuffers and sometimes I buy a gift in March because I know it is just perfect for someone and it's on sale.  However, you have to be thinking about it in order to pull it off.  In July/August I ask everyone what they want for Christmas, for those who are particularly difficult to make gifts for I specify that it is to be a gift I can I can't make an impact wrench :)

Greedy for Colour via Buffy via Pinterest

This year I am trying a new strategy for staying organized.  I took a couple hours and sat down and wrote out all the gifts I was making and for whom they were to go to.  Then I crossed out all the gifts I've already made.  Next I took the gifts left to make and estimated how long it would take me to finish, if I needed any supplies to finish up gifts and most importantly if there was a deadline to have the gift finished by.  I then made up a calendar and wrote in what I would work on each day taking into account the responsibilities I had for each day.  Sewing projects are in the morning and knitting projects in the evening.  So far I've stayed on top of my plan.  I did rearrange this a little bit since I was sick also I realized that I didn't have to have certain gifts done by Christmas (though I should still get them done) so I moved them to later in the calendar.

Party Pinching via Buffy via Pinterest

Deadlines are an important part of my planning.  I make sure that I have my gift list draft completed by July/August.  Gifts must be started by the 1st of November.  Also I made sure to have an empty day of no projects so that if something takes longer than planned (or I add something at the last minute) I have a cushion.  Plus, Christmas Eve is reserved for Gift wrapping as Husband doesn't like to stay up until the wee hours of the morning wrapping gifts.

Toni Blake via Buffy via Pinterest

To be honest my goal every year is to be done with all my presents by December 1st, one year I made it but I don't beat myself up if I miss it (like this year).  So far it has been really fun and this year I'm getting the kids involved in the crafting.  Samuel is making a shirt for his brother...I promise I'll take pictures.  Staying happy and sane is more important than the gifts, The Yarn Harlot had a great post on it here.  So remember to stay happy & sane which is easiest when you're in budget, planned and gifting within reason.


Well, I'm off to craft more so long as I can stay off of Pinterest!  Hope you all have a great day and if you have any wham bam great ideas for keeping on top of the Christmas gifting let me know!

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