Are You a Holiday Gift Buyer or Maker?

Posted by Wooly Dragon on

Does anyone else remember making those pot holders from rings of knit fabric by "weaving" them on a special little board with pegs? That was my first sojourn into the world of making presents for family members when I was young. 

Once I learner how to knit & crochet, my selection of possible  handmade goodies was made broader. Now everyone was getting scarves and bedsocks, regardless of the fact that most of my family lived in south Florida. It was the thought that counted, right? 

Then I became a teenager/ young adult and I felt that handmade gifts weren't worth the time and effort and that no one would really want anything I made anyway. So I ended up running into the big box stores and the shopping malls, attempting to find the perfect gifts for everyone. If I was lucky, I would come across things that were perfect for Aunt So & So and Uncle Thingamabob and if I was very lucky I found these things several months before Christmas.

I was never the "start shopping for Christmas presents on Christmas Eve" kind of person, but I definitely didn't start shopping on New Year's Day for the following Christmas either. Is anyone really that efficient? 

So, what's the solution? Bought gifts or handmade gifts? Probably both. I generally make one big gift for one person and a few quick & easy ones for other people AND also buy presents for everyone I need to get presents for. Why?

Mostly it's a time management issue for me. For example, for four years in a row, I knit temperature blankets; one per year for my mom, my dad, my brother and my BFF. They take a long time to create; so much so, I still don't have a temperature blanket of my own! There's no way I could have knit those four blankets in a single year...


Time management is a key ingredient in making gifts. I once wrapped up a ball of yarn and a picture of the sweater I was making and gave that to my brother for Christmas because I had misjudged how long it would take me to make. That was 20 years ago and I still haven't finished it...maybe next year?! Now I try to figure out what I'm making and for who by June (earlier if possible) and then spend the remainder of the year making the gift.

I find I do much better when I give myself lots of extra time. I also realize that sometimes stuff happens and I don't get finished in time. If that happens, I make sure to let the person I'm making it for know their present will be late or wait until the following year to give it to them.

Saving money may or may not happen when making gifts. If you have to buy the supplies, you can spend way more than if you simply buy ready-made items. How often have I gone to craft shows and heard someone talking about a gorgeous, hand knit sweater..."It's lovely, but I can buy something similar at Walmart for $20." We all know that isn't true. To paraphrase a certain credit card company commercial, "Buy a mass produced machine made sweater from China at a big box store...$20. Buy a locally handmade sweater made with hand dyed & hand spun yarn...priceless!"

So, what is your crafting super power? Are you making any gifts this year? Dust off that sewing machine! Get that yarn out of the closet! Pull out that pot holder maker from that box in the garage and get to creating!

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