Every year I decide to make a slew of handmade gifts and every year I run out of time. Every. Single. Year. Why does this keep happening to me? Why is it that I never learn, or – more importantly - how can this be avoided next year? Here are some ideas to get visions of sugar-plums back in your head instead of unfinished seams:
- Start early – This is kind of obvious, but you’d be surprised how “early” really needs to be. Last Christmas, I told my best friend that I’d make her a Christmas stocking because, shockingly, after 34 years of adulthood, she still didn’t have one! I felt confident in this project’s success, after all I had an entire year! In the end, I barely made it in time for the USPS suggested “last day to ship on time”. Lesson learned – just because you have a year, doesn’t mean you should take a whole year to start. Try to start by July when not too much is going on. By the time it’s September, it’s back-to-school time; then in October you’ll be sewing Halloween costumes; November you are cleaning the entire house and cooking a gigantic meal; and few short weeks later, you are busy with shopping, you are stressed and sweating eggnog trying to finish your handmade gifts.
- Prune your “nice” list – Handmade gifts are awesome and of course everyone deserves one, but is everyone really going to appreciate them as much as you do? Some people will be just as happy to get a gift card or some (gasp!) may even prefer store-bought. Save your handmade gifts for other crafters or other folks who will really appreciate the effort.
- Don’t get too fancy – One of the valuable lessons I learned from business school was: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. You could make Christmas stockings for every family member and friend, embroidered with their name and appliqued with images representing their favorite pastimes, or you could make simple but colorful patchwork stockings instead. Whatever crazy idea you had, just tone it way down. It will still be handmade but it will be made all the better by getting completed on time and not turning you into a crazy Grinch in the process.
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