Friday, November 4, 2011

The Holiday Panic

It's a moment that the ambitious gift making crafter knows well and this year it's come early in our house: the realization that there's no way you can meet your Christmas crafting goals, even if you work, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next ___ days remaining until Christmas.

Maybe it's a breakthrough that the realization came earlier, rather than later this year, or maybe it was just my overly ambitious planning for what exactly would be home made (I was aiming at everything for a money saving change).

Usually the idea that I might not finish in time sets in around the 20th of December.  This year the inkling began at the end of October when I started thinking, "well if I knit a scarf today, and make an ornament every day, and I sew a dress tomorrow and, and, and..." followed by the realization that I haven't knit a scarf in a day since college, when I was a lifeguard and could knit by the side of the mostly empty pool I worked at all day long.  Next I started trying to think of ways around the whole time constraint issue:

Maybe I should go find some really bulky thread and some giant knitting needles?  Or a serger?  A serger might make things faster (at least in my fantasy world... having never actually used on in reality, I can be positive...).  Or I could go a little less ambitious on presents for the girls?  Was it really realistic to start studying the various ten/forts I've been seeing pop up lately in various catalogs?  I've never even built a tent? Even if I have some linen that would "just be perfect" is it really a realistic idea?  

And yet, the fact that these very logical doubts have set in earlier this year hasn't deterred the planning, list making part of my brain that says: you can do it!  Add those cute little felt Christmas tree light banner things to the list!  Stay up an hour later!  Sleep after Christmas!

It probably doesn't help that most of these tasks are done sitting down... so technically I'm "resting" and not "overdoing..."  Yet as I stood in Joann's yesterday, with a mountain of felt, cut by the yard next to me, and a giant growing pile of sparkly tule being stacked on top of it even the other shoppers seemed skeptical.  "Are you going to finish all that by Christmas?" was the question of the day.

But Chrirstmas isn't the only day in question.  Will this set of items be finished by Advent?  Will these be done in time for the December-whatever- shipping deadline so it can make its way across the country?  Plus all those fun feast days in between I've been reading about?

I'm not quite yet ready to let those voices of reason rain on my parade.  Starting so early this year must be a step in the right direction?  And the idea that I might suddenly discover that I'm really a super-fast-sewer, although all evidence and hours spent at the sewing machine so far have pointed to the opposite, is still a dream I cling to.

Besides, it makes me feel a little less disgusted (or so I tell myself) when I realize that our local super stores actually started setting up their Christmas displays before Halloween (they were up, at least in part, last Sunday when we went by to pick up something for lunch after Mass).  I'll tell myself they're just motivating me to get a move on.  And maybe they can motivate me to limit how much we buy from their November stealing displays (what happened to Thanksgiving?!?!?!  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays!!!!  And now we're going straight from Halloween decorations in September to clearance Christmas items in late October?!?!?!).

Anyone else have big holiday crafting plans your putting in to motion (or questioning!) at the moment?

Maybe the panic is starting so early this year because I'd really like to finish everything up before Advent.  That's a nice little dream.

I think I might be one step closer to meeting my goals if I could find a way to keep Mae Bae from swiping my thread spools and taking off with them every chance she gets!


  1. Well, you did ask. I'm thinking of making recpie "decks" for various family members since money is very tight this year and the gift-giving budget is pretty close to nill. I used to be halfway decent at papercrafts, and my penmanship's good, so I'm thinking that with a bit of work done every day, I should be able to write up the cards and make the holders easily in time to send everything out.

    I was confused by the Thanksgiving thing until I remembered that in America thanksgiving is a month later than it is here. Hard to believe it was only like a month a go... I could really go for a second round. ;)

  2. Yes, I'm having this same panic. :) Giant knitting needles, lol. :) I'm thinking I'm going to have to trim some of my list off from "Christmas gifts" to "birthday gifts for during the year." But I'm doing my best! Maybe crochet the scarf? That always goes lots faster. So now, you can go in search of a gigantic hook. :)

  3. I know the feeling, I can barely get stuff up on Etsy. Fortunately, my family does a lotter of who gets what for each family member so I don't have the stress of providing gifts for all my extended family. I think most of my gifts will be sewn this year.

    I had to buy a wooden spool container that hung up on the wall and that was a lifesaver with Susi. Plus it looks so pretty on the wall. I bought mine at Hancock Fabrics, they always have a lot of neat storage stuff like that.

  4. You can do it! I believe :)

    I'm a student, and I'm saving for a car, so my cash flow is a little low. So I think most of my gifts will be homemade spice mixes in nice bottles, with fancy recipe cards.

  5. I think the best plan is to have a set "craft time" built into your schedule year round and as you finish a gift item add it to a box in the closet and just keep adding all year, then give as gifts as needed but not all at once.

    I do that with items I find on sale during the year and then near Christmas I make a list of who I am gifting and then get out the box and see what I have that would suit the people on the list.

    This year a bunch of people will be getting music CD's because a musician whose music I like, his baby daughter needed a heart surgery, and so to help, I purchased a bunch of his funny music. So I have a stack of songs for cat lovers, and songs for Tolkien fans, and songs for people who like kilts.... fun! My goal is to give them to relatives and friends this Christmas.

    I'd never have the nerve to try to make gifts for everyone. And my serger has taken me forever to learn to use and I'm still struggling with it, so that isn't a time saver unless you can learn to use one faster than I have!

    I'm older and have learned that if I want to make something for a gift, to just make it and set it aside along with the things I find on sale cheap during the year, or simply things I FIND during the year that make me think about a particular person. I do this with books too. Have a nice stack of books to use as gifts...

    My hat is off to you for trying to do all made gifts-- that is always such a marvelously wonderful thing to get something someone made just for you. :)

  6. Oh, yes. I'm with you. I confess that since I've been going handmade for Christmas, the store decorations in October are only mildly irritating... I realized that I start much earlier than that! lol. There is no other way. And I agree, finishing up the bulk of it is best before Advent but very, very challenging! We're crocheting scarves, making fire starters, sewing pj's, felt food, ornaments, jewelry...

    The insane part is that I am also doing a craft show in early December. If I could back out now, I would, but I have money in the table. :( Every year it comes to this and I think of how stupid it was to enter in the first place... and every year I pull all-nighters and have a great time when I get there. But I do think that maybe less stress would be lovely right now. :)

  7. I admire your ambition, and believe that you will do what you are able to, and no one will hold it against you if you can't finish. Cash flow is negligible at best for us since we are moving, graduating, replacing very worn furniture, and hosting Thanksgiving, two Christmases, a graduation party, family over Christmas break, and my son's first birthday party! My goal for Christmas is to make chai tea (everyone's favorite) for extended family , paint pottery with the grandparents and godparents, and hit up the post Christmas sales for Christmas presents for LO. My hubby and I aren't doing Christmas since we are getting new furniture. Whew! ;)


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