Friday, December 26, 2008

A Homemade Christmas

Let this be a reminder that deciding to have "a homemade Christmas" requires time- lots of time.

Let this furthermore be a reminder that the idea of having "a homemade Christmas" for the purpose of saving money is something of a farce. Buying supplies can get pricey.

And then there's the pressure. Let this be a reminder that if one is hoping to enjoy the magic of the season, one must:
a) allow plenty of time for the purchasing, creating, messing up, and remaking of homemade gifts,
b) not decide to try out a lot of new crafting ideas hoping for the perfect result on the first try, and
c) maybe not try to do completely different crafts for everyone on one's list, but rather decide that everyone that year should receive the same type of craft, or at least one of two to three pre-chosen crafts.

My projects this year included:
Soap and potpourri making
Screen printing
Sewing and stuffing herbal sleep pillows
Re-covering the inside of a knitting basket
and Baking

This was decidedly too much. Luckily the soap had to be done early and I've made it before, but as for the rest... Well, I've never even used a sewing machine. My husband ended up making the herbal sleep pillows the night before and doing a much better job than I could have. Screen printing also got left to the night before, and had I not anticipated failure and made an extra screen, I would have been S.O.L. Baking was pushed back to the moment the dessert table was being set and knitting was cancelled altogether. Re-covering the basket was completely out of my league. I ended up ripping out everything I'd done, taking it to my mom, allowing her to do 99% of what got done, and still presenting a work in progress to my sister for Christmas.

She didn't mind. Her homemade Christmas was going the same way. The present she was making for me got ditched after a mod-podge substitution gone horribly wrong. The box of make-your-own-candles she bought sat in her room collecting dust. I helped her screen print a number of shirts the night before the gift exchange, and during her down time she was painting bird houses- something she was forced to enlist the help of my dad to get finished. She stayed up until six in the morning, pressing flowers into picture frames and who knows what else.

My dad had long since wrapped all of his store bought gifts and put them under the tree and was happily relaxing and enjoying some Christmas cheer.

As for my mom's homemade Christmas, well, all the gifts I saw were store bought. The pot holders we were all supposed to get as gifts didn't even make an appearance at the gift opening celebration. But then, she had started that knitting basket re-covering project of mine, and that particular project has really put her in the lead to be fair.

To sum up, I'd just like to remind myself that Christmas is still not about the gifts. This year I was trying to get that point across to myself, but it ended up sounding more like, "Christmas is about making gifts, not buying them- but if you don't have time/money/can't/don't want to make them, then you should waste even more time and money running around looking for meaningless store bought gifts to impress them, then return half of that when you realize what you've spent and stay up all night the night before trying to make last minute presents that you should have made weeks ago."

Possible solutions for next year include:
Starting earlier
Drawing one person's name to give a gift to
Not giving gifts

I have a whole 364 days to think about it.

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