Enjoy Christmas Again – Make it Handmade

Some people love Christmas, some people hate it. Many people just go along with it as it’s hard to avoid the pervasive commercialisation. Unless you lock yourself away for at least six weeks before the special date that is awaited with equal anticipation and trepidation!

handmade hedgehog and tiny bear

Think handmade

One way to avoid the feeling of drowning in a commercialised Christmas is to think handmade! But before we go there, let’s look at Christmas in a little more detail.

There’s so many things not to like about Christmas:

  • ghastly poppy Christmas songs played over poor quality sound systems
  • cheap ornaments in garish colours
  • too much emphasis on eating meat
  • heavy puddings and baked hams that belong in much colder climates

But there are also a lot of things I love:

  • old-fashioned Christmas carols sung a cappella
  • people helping animals and other people out of a sense of Christmassy spirit
  • summer holidays (admittedly we could have summer holidays without Christmas and vice versa, but in Australia most people get a welcome break between Christmas and New Year)
  • catching up with the people you care about
  • eating too much pavlova, trifle and ice cream cake in good company

These are just at front of brain… I could come up with many more if pressed 😀

This year, I decided to do something different.

Susan’s shawl
hand made
Crocheted sneaker-bootees

About three months before Christmas I decided to craft as many handmade gifts as I could. My brand-new nephew River helped with this decision as I couldn’t wait to try my hand at baby gifts and booties.

As regular readers will know, fatigue robs me of much physical and mental energy every day – so this project required some thinking and preplanning. It’s been very timely as I’m writing a non-fiction book, and it’s all about living with fatigue and managing yourself and your time so you can still have fun. It’s a self-help book so of course I’m filling it with my own examples, as well as professional advice.

crocheted converse-bootees
crocheted converse-bootees

This handmade Christmas project has been a great example of taking my own advice and peppering my days with things I enjoy. It’s much harder to be spontaneous when trying to live around fatigue, so doing some planning makes a huge difference. I like to try and plan ahead up to 3 months at a time, set my goals as project targets and manage my activity in small blocks to achieve outcomes.

Mae-lee’s poncho

Also whenever I can, I like to maximise rewards for effort. The handmade Christmas project is an example of what I mean: I enjoy craft, and I enjoy giving gifts to people. Bingo! As long as I allow enough time – I can enjoy the pleasure of crafting and hopefully delight the recipients 😀

A paper crafted photo frame and mini drawer set
A paper crafted photo frame and mini drawer set

I have to admit not everything worked out to plan. I was really looking forward to seeing my niece who currently lives in Cairns, but it was actually a blessing she couldn’t make it as I ran out of time to finish everything I wanted to do. I’m looking forward to seeing her soon though, and can’t wait to give her the gifts then.

I also wanted to make some shortbread biscuits and home-made dog biscuit treats, sadly I didn’t get anywhere near baking this year – hopefully next year (I need to rethink the time allowed :D) I did get time to make an ice-cream cake – the first time I’ve ever made one. But I forgot to take a photo!!!

Key takeaways for me have been:

  • it’s easy to buy gifts but more enjoyable to make them
  • allow enough time, then double it just in case!
  • try and match the gift to its recipient – when you decide to go the handmade route you have the time and energy to really think about what the receiver will enjoy, as well as what you are capable of crafting
  • don’t try and make a gift that looks like it came from a shop – that’s not the point of handmade!

(The gallery of photographs included in this post do not include the gifts I made for my niece. I don’t want to post the images until she’s received them – I’ll update the gallery soon 🙂 )

What are your thoughts? Have you ever made Christmas a handmade event?

Kim Cleary, Author

Kim Cleary

Kim writes paranormal stories with a intrigue, suspense and a hint of romance. She loves all animals, especially her dogs; and thrives on coffee and chocolate while writing and researching.

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