Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Christmas is Only 13 Weeks Away!

Are you a last minute shopper? I used to be; I even remember buying cartons of cigarettes to wrap and give (and see opened) on Christmas Eve, back when more people on my list smoked. I’m pleased to say they don't anymore and I wouldn’t buy them cigarettes now anyhow, but I’m also pleased to say the last minute thing isn’t usual anymore either. That’s partly because I have to ship my gifts across the Atlantic by the first week of December. I don’t always make that deadline, (and this year Royal Mail wants parcels by 20 October to guarantee delivery, which has little or no chance!) but between the distance and my downshifted lifestyle, I’m thinking seriously about Christmas presents now, largely because they will be homemade.

If you are in the least crafty and think you might be interested, I can tell you it’s a lot more fun to make presents than to drag yourself around the malls in December throwing money at it. I really get into population control mode when I'm squished between shopper -- I hate crowds like that. Besides, a handmade gift is much more unique and can be quite special.

I can’t give you any specific ideas without giving the game away – not that Bill’s kids read this blog – but the Womens Institute, a very interesting English institution, has a great book of ideas. (In fact, I just bought myself a used copy!!) For that matter, your library is probably stuffed with craft books of one kind or another:
sewing, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, tatting, ribbon craft, woodcraft, paper mache, embroidery, you name it. Never mind the library, try the internet for ideas. The Tightwad Gazette editor suggests finding an idea that works for several people and to do mass production if possible. I remember one year making her denim pot holders and making my then-mother-in-law chuckle.

I’ve long ago abandoned the idea that my Christmas gift to someone is any more than a token of regard and affection.
I don’t expect to improve the quality of their life other than with a festive venue, plenty of good food and the pleasure of my company, though if I get the right gift I know it might give them nice thoughts of me when they use it. Opening gifts in this house is just a tradition to observe, not a life changing event. I’ve been an only child wading waist deep in the paper from my presents. I’ve had an only step-child who experienced the same. It’s not really a pretty sight; and none of us are children any more. I like to give gifts that are perhaps a small surprise or that make the recipient laugh.

If possible, like to notice and fill a small gap that perhaps that person isn’t even aware of.
Most of the people I know go out and buy what they want when they want it. If they haven’t bought it for themselves it is likely I can’t afford to, even if I knew what it was they wanted specifically. I only ask Bill for his wish list. The others get what they get.

So, lowering the bar with that, if you can find something to make that is pretty or useful or fun, I say get to it!
Christmas is only 13 weeks away.

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