08 November 2010

Handmade Holiday: Getting Started


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!

Handmade Holiday 2010: A series about making it happen.



Rendy Tucker said...

So, I think you should email me your google reader list. :) I need IDEAS!!! I rarely read blogs, so I don't see the cute stuff that's out there.
My homemade Christmas list includes:
some "prints"- graphic designed, framed little artworks that are mostly gospel/hymn related.
An apron and some sewn "food" for Scarlett.
Perhaps some rice neck-warmer thingies. (LAME) As you can see- I'm in dire need of some IDEAAAAAS! Help!

Rachel said...

Okay I'm making crayon rolls for my nieces and nephews, I'm a little late getting on that band wagon, but they are so cute. For Lucy I have this excellent idea to take her around town and take photos of her acting out a children's story I wrote about a princess, then I will upload the pictures to shutterfly and make it into her very own book starring her. I have other ideas floating around, but I cannot wait to see what you have in mind!

Staci said...

My neighbor gave me some fabric that her MIL bought at a yard sale. It had all been cut into 4" squares and was sorted by rows (l to r) and tied into bundles. Someone went to a lot of work putting all of that together! Most of it isn't fabric that I would pick, but SOMEONE thought it looked good together. I stitched some of it together, found some other fabric, and made 3 quilts! I'm excited to see the one I'm giving to my FIL and most excited to see the one I'm giving back to my neighbor.

That's what I LOVE about handmade gifts - the moment that they receiver realizes you took the time to make something specifically for them.

michelle said...

I like what you said about loving handmade gifts, but as your family expands, maybe you will only do handmade stocking stuffers or a few gifts. That's how it is for me. I love making gifts, but it's totally unrealistic for me to make something for everyone on my list. Still, I usually have a pretty ambitious list of handmade items going. And then the editing begins at some point.

I am in the midst of a rather frustrating knitting project I had planned to give to a good friend. I may have to abandon it. I have a whole slew of things I want to make for Eva.

I have to have a meeting with myself this week to determine what other projects I will tackle!

Charlotte said...

I think I'm going to shoot for a homemade holiday next season. Not because I don't have the time right now, necessarily, but I haven't been starring projects, and I don't even have a sewing machine. I figure, though, if I can hone my craft over the next year and accumulate my supplies, I'll be set come next Christmas.

It's on.

Emily said...

I am so excited about this series- you have such great ideas!

I am trying to do a homemade holiday myself this year. Since the primary readership of my blog is my family I will probably wait until after Christmas to post my projects and I'll do a Christmas Rewind, but I have already started knitting some gifts and I can't wait to get everything done :)

Oh and thanks for the linkage to my jewelry blog:)

jt said...

Your process sounds almost identical to mine- Except I am crazy and vow to make every single gift. And I try to make something for everyone from the lady to delivers my mail, to every one of Bella's classmates and all of her teachers, every friend and all of their children... It's a problem, really.

Related Posts with Thumbnails