September 9, 2012

Christmas in July, August and September: the Plight of the Crafter

There is hope for us yet, ye fellow late gift makers

I am late.

Christmas is only a few (a couple?) months away and here I am, so far, with NO completed handcrafted gifts. Nothing sewn, cooked or knitted. This happens every year and, while I will never get "used to it," I usually accept this unfortunate truth is as part of my life right now, along with a full time job, several kids, and one of those being 3 years old, and a very active non-napper.

While I will be likely struggling through this personal problem again this year (last year I made 6 pairs of felted clog slippers, a couple of hats and slippers, and several dozen Christmas cookies over only a few weeks containing many, many sleep deprived seems like the Christmas season also provides the chance to remember that same sleepless feeling one gets from having a newborn baby in the house), I will forever admire those folks who work away--more happily than I--and all year long at making their gifts.

When I worked at a local "variety" store here in town several years ago (Fred Meyer's, for you folks "in the know"), I ran the Domestics department, and that included Crafts. (I capitalize the words "Domestics" and "Crafts" because they were proper nouns at the time of my employment, and I can't shake the nagging fear of getting into trouble with management lest they see my blog) I used to marvel and muse at the Christmas Crafts and the huge amounts of "value" yarn, sewing items and stitchery kits that would come in the store freight around July. We'd put them out on the shelves--as strange as it seemed to me at the time--and people would come and buy them. Right away.

I was not much of a crafty chick then, and didn't really see the reason for the urgency in these folks' shopping. Oh, I had the underpinnings; I knew my way around a sewing machine and some DMC floss, and I was learning to cook, but I wasn't applying any of those budding skills to my life.

All these years (and several more hobbies) later I finally "get it." I may not apply the time management principles I witnessed all those years ago, but I get it.

For those of you who are procrastinators (and masters of your own justification) like me, I have discovered something: There is still hope for us. Not just because it is only the beginning of September and we have about 15 weeks (give or take) to go before Christmas is upon us, which means about 105 days and 2,520 hours to go (if you don't count sleeping) but because there are others like us. And many of those others are supporting each other in a pretty cool way this year.

I came upon a group discussion on Ravelry the other day that let me dare to dream. There is a group of folks who have created a discussion thread specifically dedicated to completing holiday gifts on time: The Holiday Stash Down Challenge.

Even if you do not knit or crochet, the discussion thread is still a fun and challenging read. (Who knows? You may turn from reading and decide to participate, silently or not!) As the title implies, part of the challenge is to use up your existing yarn and other supplies to create and finish your holiday gifts in time.

There is another facet: if you are a blogger, you are encouraged to blog about your progress. There are prompts for weekly blog post ideas if you like more structure. If you are not a blogger, it is still fun to read what others are doing and feel encouraged.

Let's see: encouragement from others, a structured approach to gift completion and the accountability (even if only perceived) of writing about your progress? Sounds like Weight Watchers for Christmas gift makers!

I encourage you to check it out! Not a member of Ravelry? If you are a knitter or crocheter, you may find this to be your #1 resource for just about everything fiber-ey.

Let's see what we can do! And don't feel badly right off the bat when you see that the Stash Down Challenge was started in May.

Happy knitting, happy everything.

Janelle of The Knitting Muse

Notice there are no Christmas pics in this post? As excited as I can get about certain things, well, there are limits. : )

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