The time between the decision to give handmade gifts and actually getting started on gifts is crucial. That is the time you spend either getting jazzed for the upcoming craft-fest or freaking yourself out and consequently giving up. Just like everything else in life, I believe the holidays should be approached with reasonable expectations. Ahem. If you are Clark Griswold, you can go ahead and stop reading right here. A handmade holiday can be an immense amount of work if you choose projects that are too big or decide to make gifts for too many people. I don't want that to happen to you. I want you to put together a handmade holiday that will make you proud and keep you coming back for more. Here are a few of the steps/guidelines N8tr0n and I use when planning gifts.
01. Start with a list: Every great project starts with a list right? We start by making a list of the people we will be giving gifts to. For us this includes parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews (we only have one of each), and of course, Z-cakes. Right now our family is small enough that we can handle making gifts for nieces and nephews but someday it might not be so easy. Maybe someday I will only want to make handmade gifts for stockings. Maybe we'll only plan to make homemade treats for the neighbors. Make your list of people you want to make gifts for and remember, it doesn't have to be everybody.
02. Seek Inspiration: I've spent most of the year starring things I want to make in my Google reader. Now is the time that I take all of those ideas and weed out the ones that I think will be truly great.
03. Play Matchmaker Sometimes I know exactly what I'm going to make for a particular person on my list. Other times I need their name to sit on the list with a giant blank space next to it while I toss ideas back and forth with N8tr0n and do a little more online inspiration hunting. Eventually something feels right and, more likely, two or three things feel right. As I begin to fill in my "to-make" list I also start making a list of "supplies" that I will need for each gift.
04. Get your craft on: Now it is time for the fun to begin. You get to make stuff! This process is very personal so I urge you to work at whatever pace is comfortable to you. I am a girl who really likes to start projects so I tend to jump from gift to gift, cycling around until everything is complete. You might be the kind of person who starts at the top and powers through to the end. Do whatever you need to do to get the gifts made and stay happy.
05. Just Buy It: I personally believe in supporting the handmade movement. Obviously right? That means that I believe in buying handmade just as much as giving handmade. Plus—here's a confession—I can't make everything. If I want to give my sister-in-law jewelry for Christmas, I'm going to buy it. Same goes for a sweet cutting board in the shape of the Gem State. I can't make those things, but I can buy them.
06. Abandon the impossible: I have to admit that one of my favorite moments of planning a party is the moment when I decide to abandon a few of the ideas I had in the initial planning. It brings some instant relief and it usually doesn't happen until I'm confident that things will be perfect anyway. For example, when I'm about to start a third gift for my nephew two days before Christmas I usually realize that I'm just out of time. So I abandon the idea without guilt knowing that I can make that extra present later for a birthday or a just-because. Abandoning a few of those extras is what ends up really helping me enjoy the remainder of the season.
I hope this helps! Now it is time to get started. Take a moment, make your list, call your friends, get excited. Good planning is essential to making it happen.
Do tell: Have you already gotten started on your handmade holiday? What are you most/least excited about? Anyone on your list have you stumped about what to make? Are there any topics you're hoping will be covered in this series? Tell me all about it in the comments and remember to talk amongst yourselves.
Happy Monday Everyone!