I’m Marie from Underground Crafter, and like many crafters, I love to make handmade gifts for the holidays. Not only do I get to express myself creatively, but also can often make higher quality DIY gifts than what I can usually afford to buy for my friends and family.
I’m also not the only crafter who has ever become overwhelmed by making gifts for the winter holidays or has lost sleep, gotten a repetitive stress injury, or just became annoyed with the demands of handmade gift giving.
To help make this year’s holiday crafting more pleasurable, I’m sharing 7 tips for getting a head start on holiday crafting.
7 Tips for Getting a Head Start on Holiday Crafting and DIY Gifts
Start Your Homemade Christmas Decorations & DIY Gifts Early
This one almost goes without saying, but start your holiday crafting as early in the year as possible. You will give yourself more time so you can work at a leisurely pace, or you can choose to make gifts for more people on your holiday list.
Decide Who Will Receive Homemade Gifts
Not everyone appreciates handmade gifts, and others may not be fans of your favorite craft. The holidays will be more fun for you (and for the recipient) if you focus your efforts on making gifts for those who will actually enjoy them. I call these people “handmade-worthy” recipients.
As you think about all the people (and pets) you may consider making gifts for, narrow your list down to those who would appreciate something handmade. These are usually the people who have had kind things to say about your crafting, who are makers themselves, or who have worn and used previous handmade gifts.
Make a Project List
Now that you’ve eliminated those who aren’t “handmade-worthy” and know everyone you’d like to make gifts for, make a list of the types of gifts you’d like to make for them. Some crafters make variations of the same project for everyone on the list (like a favorite knit scarf pattern in different yarns) while others like to make a completely unique gift for each recipient.
Survey Your Supplies and Budget
Most of us crafters already have a stash of supplies. Look through your existing stash and compare it with the items on your project list. Now take a look at your budget to decide when and if you need to purchase any additional materials.
Be Realistic About Your Time Frame
In my experience, overestimating the availability of time is the most common struggle crafters face when working on handmade holiday gifts. While we could all make unlimited gifts if we had unlimited time, the reality is that as each week moves by, our holiday gift deadlines become narrower. So, be realistic about how long each project will take, and consider revising your list based on the amount of time available.
Take Frequent Breaks
Even when you are working towards crafting deadlines, be sure to take care of yourself. Take frequent breaks (every 30 to 90 minutes, depending on your craft and the intensity of your work) to stretch and rest your eyes/hands. This will help you avoid repetitive stress injuries.
Have a Backup Plan
Sometimes, even the best plans go awry. Have a backup in case you can’t finish your projects on time. This might mean putting aside money to purchase gifts later.
You may find virtually working alongside other crafters on holiday gifts makes the entire process more fun. Look for holiday make-a-longs on your favorite social networks. If you crochet, join the Holiday Stashdown Crochet-a-Long which includes 15 free crochet patterns by 15 designers.
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