When Halloween decorations are still in the stores, it’s hard to start thinking about the gift-giving holidays – “too early” is what most say! But if you like to make handmade gifts, then it’s time to start planning – and in some cases making! Here are some tips, timelines, and free patterns to help you prep for the holidays this year!
Make a List & Check It Twice
Who are you creating for this year? While it can be tempting to aim for a 100% handmade holiday, the cold hard fact is that not everyone appreciates handmade gifts, and your time and talents are precious!
Make sure you are crocheting and knitting for those who will honor your time and talents. And make sure you know about any allergies – not everyone can handle all natural fibers!
Create a Countdown Calendar
Whether you’re a paper person or a digital devotee, it’s time to break open your calendar and start thinking about how much time you have to devote to making your gifts this year. While Christmas might be “months away,” it really breaks down to only a few weeks!
Depending on the length of your list and the amount of free time you have to devote to making, you will want to make sure you have enough time to make each project, without turning your own holiday into a stressful rush.
Try printing out a few free online calendar pages and planning out a deadline for each project to keep yourself on track – and to make sure you’re being realistic too!
GIFT IDEA: Dragon Wing Cowl by Jessie At Home – Knitting for the holidays doesn’t have to take forever – try a beautiful one skein accessory like this pattern featuring just one ball of Red Heart Sparkle Soft!
Plan Your Projects & Get Organized
After you’ve got your gift list made, it’s time to think about supplies! Do you have the yarn you need to make the projects on your list? Have you bookmarked or printed out the patterns you want to make?
One thing that can be very helpful, when you have a lot of projects lined up, is to make yourself a bunch of “kits.” Using project bags, bins, plastic baggies, sections of the spare bed – whatever works for you! – put the yarn, supplies, and pattern for each project in its own pile or container.
This has 3 great benefits – you’ll see exactly what you still need to purchase or gather together, so you can organize your shopping list, and you’ll also see exactly how big a “job” you are setting yourself up for – and if that schedule is realistic!
And finally, when you’re ready to get started with each project, you’ll have everything you need right there – grab and go!
All the planning in the world won’t help if you don’t start crocheting in time! But the race to the holiday can take its toll on your muscles – be sure to stop, stretch, and relax on nights you’re yarning. Nothing will slow you down more than an injury!
In addition to the muscle strain, holiday prep can affect our mental health as well. Be sure to take deep breathes during those stretches, and remember that handmade takes time.
If you find yourself stressing out about gift projects, go back to your schedule or calendar and see if you can mix up the order a bit – try alternating between complicated patterns and simple patterns that can be made while you relax and watch your favorite holiday movies!
GIFT IDEA: Cozy Time Fringe Throw by Salena Baca for Red Heart – Relax with a cup of cocoa (or maybe some mulled wine?) and this ultra easy, relaxing, and supremely comfy throw made with Red Heart Hygge!
Have a Backup Plan
Sometimes, despite our best intentions and efforts, the handmade gift just isn’t going to get made in time. It’s happened to just about every crafter!
So what will you do? You have lots of options – from gifting an “IOU,” to making something smaller/faster, to setting the project aside for next year and purchasing something for this year instead.
After all, part of the value of handmade is that it takes time – something we all run short of sometimes. So it doesn’t hurt to always have a few “quick gift” patterns in your back pocket for emergencies – and then we’ll start earlier next year, right?
GIFT IDEA: Hanging Gift Card Holder by Moogly – This super quick pattern is perfect for last-minute gift emergencies – or when you need to make a bunch of quick gifts in bulk – with just 25 yards of Red Heart Scrubby Smoothie!
Good luck all – and Happy Holidays!