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Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Project Stress

Bad, Bad store blogger...

It has been a busy month here, people! It's so exciting when it's busy but it does make it hard to get some blogging time in. I hope you aren't too mad at me ;-)

Let us talk about holiday stress and our projects. *deep breath*

I LOVE giving handmade gifts. I love picking out the perfect project, in the perfect color and making it up with my own two hands. I have developed my own guidelines about my gift-giving with regard to my projects that keep me from going crazy. How about bullet points? If I could send you a powerpoint presentation I would.
  • I can't make everyone something every year.
This is an especially hard one for me to accept. Because there was a time when I would make everyone on my list a scarf or a hat. But now... now I want more. I want personalized aran sweaters and log cabin afghans. And you just can't do that for everyone every year. So one or two people get something big this year and one or two different people get something big next year. Eventually, everyone will get something lovely.
  • Not everything will get done by the due date
December 25 became a date burned into my brain as a project deadline rather than a holiday to enjoy with my friends and family. NO MORE! If I can get it done by that date I am happy, if I can't I'm still happy. This becomes especially easy if you only knit or crochet for people who don't mind getting presents in January or February (hi Celeste!). Also, this falls under the "life is short" category. How nice would it be if we gave our loved ones gifts all year, not just on holidays? Would they love you less if they got their mittens in March?
  • Sometimes the wrapping is pretty, too
If I have a bit of extra time, but not too much, I'll knit a little gift bag or crochet a little ornament to adorn a package. It's special!
  • Decide not to be upset
This is also a hard one. At some point you have to decide that if you make something for someone and they don't like it - it's OK. Really. They'd rather freeze to death than wear the scarf because it doesn't match their jacket? It's OK. Yes, you spent a chunk of your valuable time on it and they may even have asked for the scarf. But now you know who not to make stuff for. Some people need something store bought with a gift receipt taped to it.
Also, someone might get upset that they did NOT get something handmade. As long as you've gently reminded them how busy you are and that you may or may not have something planned for them in future... what else can you do? You can NOT feel guilty that you didn't get something done for them. You're doing your best.
  • Make something I enjoy making
I make exceptions to this guideline for things like amigurumi, which kill my hands to make but are just too cute, and lace which tends to go on forever past the point where I'm not interested anymore. Basically, though, if I don't like making it it won't really get done.

Wow, all of that doesn't sound especially happy. But really - I've given myself freedom. I have given myself permission to knit what I want, for whom I want, when I want and left my holiday open to enjoy my family. (I never was an all-nighter kind of person. It just makes me a blubbering idiot the next day and who wants to be an idiot on a holiday?!)

Please have a low-stress December. Remember to take breaks and be easy on yourself. Let me know if you need ANYTHING. And feel free to comment with your favorite way to de-stress!


p,s. I'll be back with links to last-minute project ideas!


Pegi said...

How timely, Jen, thanks! Funny, after buying all that yarn for hats for the guys in my family, I decided Saturday night that I wasn't going to be able to do it, and hit up Amazon for my brothers-in-law... so, ok, I'll still make the hat for my honey, and I did make one for one nephew, but the rest is going to be for my enjoyment. After all, I have an afghan block to work on!

Chill Out Aromatherapy said...

Stress is something we deal with every day in varying degrees. I really appreciate your site because the holidays are especially stressful when you are trying to put your personal touch on things.

If you know someone that hand-makes many of their Xmas Gifts, even if you don't like it, consider the time they spent on it.

One thoughtful gift for the stressed is "Chill Out" Aromatherapy Oil. This particular blend Useful for Meditation, Relaxation or in a hot soothing bath.
Thanks for the tips - I will remember not to take it too personal when people are disappointed with the gifts I make for them!

Chaz said...

Like your blog