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The DEFINITIVE organised guide to Christmas crafting

Imagine this.

It’s a few days before Christmas and you’re feeling massively overwhelmed, faced with a huge basket of UFOs (Unfinished Objects) that were supposed to be a mass of completed and amazing crafts that you would gift your nearest and dearest/decorate your house with/have enjoyed doing with your family. You’d been envisaging gasps of joy and appreciation when these were unveiled, but now you’re stress eating Christmas tree chocolates and internet searching ‘how to cram an extra 5 hours into a day’, remembering the time your mum told you about staying up till 1am on Christmas Day to finish off the hand-knitted finger puppets and you’re wishing you’d listened a bit harder and that you could go back in time to mid-November to be more organised about this. Stop, take a breath. It’s ok.

As if by magic, here you are, back in November, reading this, the definitive organised guide to Christmas crafting!

I’m going to let you know the best hints and tips to get really organised about Christmas crafting, along with some suggestions for crafting projects and gifts for the craft lovers in your life!

Clearly, I’m going to recommend some lists and planning here! Grab a pen and your favourite planner (or even the back of an envelope) and get ready to feel organised, calm, and productive.

Firstly, we’ll go deep. Why do you want to Christmas craft?

Here are a few reasons I can think of off the top of my head.

· You want to give gifts.

· You want to create unique and personal decorations for the house.

· You want to try out crafts you’ve seen.

· You want to do a great activity as a family.

· You feel that you should do Christmas crafts (like otherwise the movie montage of Christmas just isn’t ‘right’).

· You feel obligated to make things for people because you’re known as a crafter and that’s what people now expect.

What else comes up for you? If there is anything other than you want to do this, perhaps you don’t need to read any further (although the Christmas gift guides might be helpful to you). Perhaps you can just decide that you don’t need to do something just because you feel you should. Perhaps you can add up all of the time you would spend doing crafts, feeling guilty about not doing crafts, getting frustrated doing crafts that you don’t really want to and think about how you would prefer to use that time instead. Then do that.

If you want to give gifts (remember, want to, not feel obligated to), make a list of who you want to give gifts to. What ideas do you already have for these gifts? To me, there’s a couple of different segments in the gift giving list. There are the people who will appreciate and deserve lovingly hand-crafted, hours and hours long kind of gifts. There are the people who will like your home-made gift. And there are the people who probably don’t care if the gifts are home-made or not. This gives you an immediate priority list which is great. I’m all about prioritisation (and if you become that way too, I swear your life will automatically become so much easier).

If you feel daunted by gathering all this data, this might be a clue that you’re planning too much. Think about swapping out some time-consuming gifts for some easy, but still great ones. (Look at these three ideas in last year’s post.

You could knock up three or four of each three of these Christmas foodie gifts in a morning (and that includes going to get supplies). There are also some Christmas printable tags. That could be 12 easy, lovely, and very appreciated gifts done in one morning! Boom. (Also, make yourself some of each too. Now your kitchen is a lovely Christmas haven too.)

If you want to craft for decorations, check in with what you did last year and what worked well. Have a look at photos you took during the festive season.

· What worked best?

· What did you enjoy the most?

· Look through your decorations; what do you already have enough of, what would be good to have more of?

· What supplies do you already have?

· What decoration would you enjoy the most? Why?

Christmas is a great time to try out crafts you’ve seen, pinned, saved. However, if you’re anything like me and you’ve got about a billion craft pins, you can’t do them all.

Which ones will be most appreciated (by you, your family, whoever you want to gift to)?

I sometimes like to put my crafts into categories like:

· Good weekend projects

· Easy in front of the tv projects

· Easy to pick up and put down (the type of thing you’d do in the dentist waiting room)

· Complicated, multi-stage, requires a lot of concentration

· Stash buster

· Needs a lot of new stuff

When your crafts are separated out like this, it can help you prepare realistically and decide what it is you have time for and what you really want to do.

Family fun. I know I’m not the only parent that accidentally seems to think that come December I should be living in a Hallmark film. I have gorgeous visions of family gingerbread house decoration, or baking Christmas cookies. And sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t, but the important thing is seeing who wants to do want. Come up with a couple of suggestions and see what people really want to do. Think realistically about when you’ll do these so you can enjoy the moments instead of feeling like you’re cramming these in on the last few days before Christmas just so you’ve had the ‘Christmas experience’. What are the ‘must-do’s and what are the ‘if we have time’s?

Once you have chosen your crafts then work out:

· Projected time span of each project in numbers of hours

· Projected time span of each project in terms of days/weeks (e.g. one project might take 8 hours, but that could equate to a week if you only have just over an hour a day to devote to crafting, whereas it could take just a day or a weekend if you have more time available)

· The supplies you already have

· The supplies you need

· When you would need to order or buy these supplies

· The total cost (yes you do the crafting for the love of it, but when you work out that 3 knitted jumpers are going to cost you a couple of hundred pounds with the yarn you love, you may decide of a slightly different project like 3 hand knitted shawls instead).

· Sensibly look at the time you actually have available. Reduce this by at least 10%. This gives you some leeway and I promise you on Christmas Eve you will be so glad you did this.

· Batch up projects together. If you’re going to do some cooking or edible gifts for your co-workers and your kids’ classmates, pick a date where you can do this all in one day.

Here are a couple of Christmas crafts that could be a good place to start.

I really like the eye masks from this list of quick sewing gifts, but there are also 26 other projects to choose from.

Knit up a pair of chunky mittens in next to no time with this quick knitting pattern from Eden Cottage Yarns

You can’t beat some Christmas stockings for traditional Christmas cheer and decoration!

I’ve literally never ever had a Christmas tree skirt, but I’m going to make one this year. I’m going to use the one out of a sewing book I have, but this is very similar and looks fabulous.

Gifts for craft lovers

If you’ve got a craft lover in your life that you want to buy for, this is the section for you.

For those who love yarn, I love literally every ball of yarn in the Eden Cottage Yarn collection, but I don’t think you can wrong with the cutest of cute Yarnlings. With various colourways and selections starting at £5, this is the perfect gift for any knitter or crocheter.

For the sewists (sewers seems wrong, you know), have a look at the gorgeous arrays of hampers at Doughty’s. Priced from £30 - £40ish, these are bundles of fabric with matching threads, in a really beautiful gift box. There’s 10% off for the next couple of days too so get in there quick. (I think my personal favourite is the Japanese gilded but the Lewis and Irene Piggy Tales is very sweet too!)

For the busy crafters, how about a planner? I think by now my love for Martha Brook should be evident to everyone. They sell the most adorable stationery, including personalised notebooks so you can create one with their name and something about their crafting on the front. The softback notebooks are just £12.95 which I think is an absolute steal!

(I'm not affiliated to any of the above companies and I get nothing if you click on a link and buy something. These are genuinely ideas that I love and think you will too.!)

You’ll be seeing a lot more from me about Christmas. Why?

I love Christmas

I’m aware that Christmas can be really overwhelming for some people, but it doesn’t need to be!

I love being organised and productive and I know that I can help pass that on to keep others full of Christmas cheer and not feel like it is all too much.

If there’s anything in particular you’d like me to address, let me know! Happy planning people!

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