In years gone by, this is the time of the winter where I've started to have a panic about Christmas gifts, what is needed, what to buy, for whom, from where, with what cash. Last year, mostly for financial reasons we opted to give a mix of homemade gifts and gifts purchased on pre-Christmas travels to Leipzig. And this year, the majority of the gifts we give will be homemade.
This is not for everyone, and I've had questions ranging from 'WTF?' to 'But where are you going to find the time?' to 'But do people really want homemade stuff?' when chatting about the bits and pieces that I've been making. All valid, well mostly and so here's a few reasons that we are choosing to give the limited gifts we do as mostly homemade...
1. Cost- crafts can be costly, as can making food stuffs, but if you plan carefully and buy cautiously, making gifts can be a cost effective way to give. I chose to purchase dry ingredients for food gifts when they were on special offers in July and August and by making some things in bulk, I was able to save money per weight of a product that I would have needed.
All about the money, money, money
TIP: Always keep a list of what you intend to make, how many and what the cost is to keep an eye on things though, as this should stop the cost spiralling out of control.
2. Reducing 'stuff'- As a family, most of us have all the 'stuff' we want or need. My mother and I are both quite militant about regularly clearing out and keeping our things more minimal. Giving homemade gifts such as food items or ingredients that can be enjoyed and used up reduces the stuff element of Christmas and suits the food fanatic nature of most of my family members, but consider also gifts like candles, homemade skincare or festive decorations that can be used up as opposed to many ornamental options, and always keep your recipient in mind- what they like, use and might be allergic or intolerant to.
3. Enjoyment- I'm not a naturally craft type, but teaching myself to crochet has actually been very enjoyable and is an excellent activity to keep me busy on winter evenings now the nights have pulled in, bonus that it's productive whilst we hammer through every series of Breaking Bad on Netflix.
Teaching myself to crochet earlier this year
TIP: If you want to give something you've never tried to make before, have trial run, or teach yourself the skill in the summer to allow time to learn or come up with a different idea if necessary.
4. Personality- I've never been much taken with the commercial elements of Christmas, and whilst I always had generous gifts at Christmas, as an adult I prefer to give as much as receive gifts that have personal meaning or personality in them- along the quality over quantity theory I suppose. Homemade gifts are unique and therefore the limit on how personal they are is only ever set by you.
Not altogether untrue
TIP: Keep wrapping paper simple and have some fun with ribbon, tags, photos or embellishments to inject some personality.
In our own inevitable style
5. Compromise- T & I truthfully couldn't afford to give shop bought versions of many of the gifts I've enjoyed making this year, and our compromise is that we can give things I'm proud to say I've made. The compromise on making gifts is that I spend a great deal of my time- on which I put a value, not just making the gifts but also wrapping them and making them feel every bit as special as I intend them to be. For many, finding the time to do both the crafting or making and the wrapping is not an enjoyable task, so it might be time to reassess as to whether the cost of purchasing ready to go gifts is worth it to banish crafting misery from your life. Despite the batch of fudge that just WOULD. NOT. SET. or the very lumpy wonky first attempts at crochet on a long car journey back in August, I've had a lot of fun and satisfaction in looking at my finished products, stored away ready for next month.
TIP: Don't, for the love of shoes, spend too long on Pinterest comparing your efforts to those scary über crafty types- inspiration is there to make your of it what you will. Seeking to replicate is likely to lead to frustration and misery.
Kitchen crafting.... #NAILEDIT