I love Christmas. Not so much the actual day, but the preparations. I like decorating the house, baking, choosing and wrapping gifts. There’s not much I don’t like about the pre-Christmas season. I even like Christmas music, although I draw the line at Mariah Carey singing “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
What I don’t like about Christmas is how stressed I get. I put a lot of pressure on myself to find just the “right” present for everyone on my list. In recent years, I’ve tried to make as many gifts as I can, plus make my own Christmas cards. I want the house to look perfect and unique. Every year, I find myself failing to finish half the projects on my “to do” list. Not only do I inevitably end up making a mad dash to the mall the week before Christmas, but by the time December 24 rolls around, I also end up feeling like I’ve failed. As if the “to do” list is some sort of test. Not surprisingly, this takes quite a bit of the fun out of the whole Christmas experience.
This year I’ve decided to do things a bit differently. I’m cutting down on the number of pre-Christmas projects. I usually make the nibblies and sweets for our an annual holiday, but this year, I’m going to rely more on store bought items – nothing wrong with a cheese tray. M and I will still make cookies, but probably just enough to serve at the party and give to friends and family, rather than our usual 80 – 100 dozen. Thanks to a card-making course I took in late-October, I got a head start on my Christmas cards and I finished the last one last week. I’ve got 21 cards (plus a few leftover from last year that never got sent); now all I have to do is send them out!
As for my Christmas shopping, I’m making progress. I’m lucky to have a friend who, like me, is a craft-fair junkie. If I can’t make it myself, I’d prefer to buy a gift from a local artisan, rather than purchasing a mass- marketed product from a big-box store. We’re fortunate that from early November to mid-December, there’s at least one craft fair every weekend within a 30 minute drive. One of our favourites took place a couple of weeks ago, and I was able to cross a couple of people off my list and pick up a ideas for a few others. We’re looking forward to a couple of events in December, including one in the community centre that’s co-located in M’s school – it’s a mix of artisans and part-time crafters. There’s always a few gems mixed in with the tole painting and crocheted toilet paper holders. At last year’s sale, I bought Mr. Magic a beautiful photograph of boats in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, from a photographer who lives just a few blocks from our house.
This year, I’ve also decided to wrap as I go, rather than waiting to do it in one fell swoop. What I’m going to do on Christmas eve, I’ve no idea. But this way, I can make my own tags and fuss with the wrapping.
Where I’m really cutting back this year is on home-made gifts. I have mixed feelings about this, as I get enormous pleasure out of making a unique, one-of a-kind gift for a close friend or a family member. However, I’m involved in a big project at work that runs until at least mid-December. I’m already working late almost every night during the week, so why put extra pressure on my skinny shoulders?
Here’s my (short) list of gifts to make:
– multi-strand stretch bracelet for some teenage friends (similar to a couple I found on Pinterest from Avon)
– a pair of earrings, like these great Magma Drop earrings from FusionBeads, as well as a complementary necklace for my friend, the craft-fair afficienado
– a necklace with a Jennifer Jangles flower charm for my best friend’s daughter
– a laptop case for a MacBook Air (this is for me) – lots of tutorials available, but I like this one from arstechnica (but I might iron my fabric first – lol).
I also have a couple of more projects on my list, but I’m keeping them under wraps for the moment (just in case the would-be recipients read this blog).
‘Tis the season…good luck with your holiday preparations.