Is it just me, or does January seem interminable thus far? It’s cold, it’s miserable, and there are no holidays from work until April…ugh! While discussing the molasses-in-January (ha!) qualities of the calendar with my friend, I realized something: when it first became cold and snowy in December, I would think, “Well, December’s already [1/4, 1/2, 3/4] done. It’ll be spring before we know it!” January is not moving along nearly so quickly, and I joked that perhaps if I started trying desperately to get Christmas gifts finished now, the month would be gone before I knew it. That has to be what made December so fast!
With thought rattling around my mind, I decided that since I had had such a positive reaction to my Craftmas series of posts this year and last, I should document:
The Witty Child’s Tips for a Successful Craftmas*
*(or festive occasion of your choosing; really, these can be applied to almost anything)
- Be prepared – that is to say, have a plan. I don’t want to go all life-coach on you and chirp that “failing to plan is planning to fail”, but doing a little pre-Craftmas brainstorming will prevent a lot of stress later on. Think about whom you wish to bestow crafty goodness upon, as well as what that crafty goodness might be, and make sure you’re going to have enough time/money/supplies to make it happen. If you spend a third of your life asleep, and a third of your waking hours at work, time is a precious commodity. You don’t want to start trying to hand-knit scarves for your list of 45 on December 2. All the faux-sick days in the world won’t help you there.
- Reconsider your Christmas list. I used to stitch up little pictures for my Avon lady, but after not…getting…much feedback (I didn’t expect gushing tears of thanks, but even a quick, “Oh, that was cute!” would have been nice), she now gets a thoughtful storebought gift, and my crafty time gets invested elsewhere. Make sure your intended recipients are going to fully appreciate your mad skills.
- Reconsider your idea of crafty. If someone on your list might not appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears that go into a Real Project (see #2), might a tin of homemade cookies or candy go over just as well? Consumables are always nice because there’s no pressure to wear/display/utilize constantly, and as a bonus, they can come together fairly quickly – perfect for those of us who skip Tip #1. A group of coworkers got gift boxes packed with monster cookies and Cuban Lunch candies, and were thrilled to find these care packages on their desks.
- Realize that things can change, and be prepared for plans to go awry. If you’ve grossly underestimated how long it’s going to take you to finish a project, or you get slammed with a spate of last-minute invitations that you can’t pass up, things might not get done as you had planned. Don’t sweat it. Depending on the person/project, you can always try to postpone your gift swap, make an “I.O.U. one gift” coupon, or procure a backup gift and quietly tuck away your handmade project to be finished in time for next year.
- Learn from your mistakes. This sort of hearkens back to Tip #1, in that you can do a post-mortem and make appropriate changes in next year’s plan. Didn’t get the response you hoped for? Found yourself super-stressed and pressed for time? By knowing what worked and what didn’t, you’ll (hopefully) prevent undue stress going forward.
- Have fun with it! After all, it’s the thought that counts, and you’re crafting/baking/creating because you like these people and want to do something nice for them. No one should feel bad when this is over!
I hope that you guys find these tips at least vaguely useful – and I hope I take my own advice and start in on Tip #1! 😉
Thanks for looking!