Sunday, January 03, 2016

What I'm doing for next Christmas

I can hear you yelling from here. "WHAT?! We just got done with Christmas already! What's wrong with you, Soozcat?" Yeah, yeah, lotsathings, but there's a method to my madness. Really.

Look, for the last six to eight years or so, I've wanted to try creating handmade Christmas gifts. But I also remember I want to do this way late in the game -- say, about the tail end of November. At that point I have less than a month to make gifts. Whatever I come up with at that late date will probably be a crappy half-baked craft, and nobody wants that!

So this year I'm planning ahead, asking what people want, and setting aside some time every month in 2016 to make gifts. If I can stay on schedule (and yes, I know that's a big IF), I should have plenty of time to make and bake and otherwise cobble together some attractive handmade goodies.

And yes, this large a project needs to be scheduled. Not only do certain items take a while to make, but it's also a question of timing things right. January is not the ideal time of year to make perishable gifts for Christmas 2016; they'd be rancid fomites by August. So I'll start by making gifts on the "durable goods" end of the scale -- jewelry, handmade notebooks, etc. -- as well as projects that take me a long while to complete, like afghans and knitted items. As we move into the harvest season for various edibles, I'll pick food as it comes ripe and process it for home canning, or dry it in the oven, or give it some other kind of giftable makeover. Super-perishable items like cookies can wait until early December.

I'm also doing a fair amount of online research. (Hey, why wouldn't I? Thankfully, loads of other people have already gone through the trial-and-error process of DIY gift making; I'd be a fool not to take advantage of what they learned.) What I'm discovering is that ideas for homemade gifts range from the sublime to the ridiculous, so I'm trying to choose carefully and think about what people would actually want.

And that's where you come in. If you're a family member or close friend, I really need to hear from you. Tell me what you want for this coming Christmas. Tell me what you don't want. Give me helpful details like favorite colors and scents, your chosen hobbies and interests, allergies and food sensitivities, the things you love. I want to be able to give you something you think is amazing.

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