Every year I have the same struggle: To make or not to make. And yes, of course, I want to MAKE ALL THE THINGS. Because for some reason, it feels more meaningful if I make a gift for a loved one. Especially if it will be cozy and useful too.
Some of my early memories are making gifts for people I loved. I was wicked fast on that loom and made potholders for all of my favorite aunts and uncles and grandparents. Probably several years in a row even. When we were in middle school, my sister and I would set up a folding table in the dank dark back room of the basement and manufacture Christmas gifts. We made plaster of paris magnets that we painted carefully. Another year we made pom pom with googly eyes magnets. We made pasta noodle angel ornaments. We made nativities out of that twisted paper stuff with spanish moss hair. And our beloved family never made us feel stupid for the chintzy crafts we did. In fact, those lovely magnets graced their refrigerators for years, making me feel as thought I’d made some important contribution for years to come. (Thank you to those kind relatives who used ugly potholders and displayed my meager crafty contributions with such generosity).
For every baby that comes into my life, I want to run out and buy gobs of flannel (or cotton, depending on the day) and sew that new baby a new blanket. Sadly I am constantly constrained by finding TIME to actually make said blanket (especially when people in my life are having babies constantly!) (If you ever wonder why I have a ridiculous fabric stash, this is why. Buy the fabric, run out of time, buy a gift, stash the fabric for next time). This summer there was a baby shower for my cousin’s first baby. I felt wretched that I didn’t have time to make anything and even worse resorted to a gift card because there wasn’t a lot left on the registry and I didn’t have time to sort through it all. Does giving a gift card mean I don’t love my cousin and his wife and their new baby?? Nope. I gave it with the love and generosity of my heart. I’m thrilled to welcome their baby into the world and into this big, beautiful family. On the other hand, I was embracing the reality in my own life (limitations– always limitations) and also figured new parents can always use diaper money, amiright? Nonetheless, I felt bad because my impulse is to make something meaningful. And as sweet as that is, I’m also recognizing that I need to let go of feeling bad about my limitations.
This brings me back to Christmas. I want to make something for all the little people in my life. Duh. But again, time and money folks, the struggle is real. Last year I started making plushies (homemade stuffed animals) for all the nieces and nephews, but didn’t even manage to get them made for all the in town kids, much less the far away kids. I just couldn’t do it, no matter how hard I tried. And believe me, I tried!
Well, the calendar tells me that Christmas is a mere 45 days away and of course my brain is racing and I’m perusing my sizable fabric stash to see what I can make in that time. The count right now looks like 15 nieces and nephews, 6 godchildren, and of course, the family calendar.
Rather than looking at the impossibility of that on top of my full time job, full time life, and several home improvement projects and a million leaves to deal with, I’m going to be optimistic and report that I’m actually getting somewhere on Christmas gifts… IN NOVEMBER! Way to go Reenie. Not to mention that now that it is dark all evening, every evening, it is good for the soul to have other things to work on, rather than curl up under a blanket and wish it wasn’t so dark.
So far I’ve made two dinosaur sweatshirts for godsons, coordinated with the godfather for a third godson’s gift, and bought something for #4 godson. Woooo. Not everything will be homemade and it doesn’t mean that there’s not love and meaning behind the gifts (yes, I’m reminding myself of this). I’ve got overly optimistic ideas for the two goddaughters (MAKE ALL THE THINGS) and a plan for what to purchase if I can’t actually get things made (this seems like the likely outcome). Sunday night I cut out 10 pairs of flannel pants (that is 2/3 of the nieces and nephews). And last night, while hanging out with a dear friend who happens to own a serger, the two of us assembled ALL of those pants. Now I just have lots of hemming and adding elastic… and getting 5 more pairs cut out and sewn. Nothing I make will be perfect, but it is made because I love those munchkins and I hope they know it!
So I am embracing reality in my life and reporting to you, my dear reader, that I am, as usual, a work in progress. I am making incredibly optimistic plans for a lot of homemade Christmas, but realistic enough to say that I probably won’t get as far as I want to because there is a lot of life going on and I’m going to work on embracing that too.
Happy 45 days of Make-All-The-Things before Christmas (or perhaps it should be Embrace-all-the-reality-and-go-buy-some-gifts).