Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas: Handmade Gifts

source: ex.libris

Today is day four in our two-week Christmas series: Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas.

We first decided to do “a handmade Christmas” last year, and I loved it. We bought very few gifts but instead put a lot of thought into the gifts we made for our family.

It was a lot of fun to put so much thought and effort into the gifts we gave rather than just running to the store and picking out the first thing we thought each person would like. And truth be told, I am really not very crafty — despite my best intentions — so if I can pull this off, anyone can!

If you’re planning to make a lot of your gifts this year, it’s a good idea to start early so that you have plenty of time in case you run into any hiccups. You also need to remember to leave time to pack and mail them if necessary.

Homemade Gift Ideas

If you like the idea of homemade gifts but aren’t sure where to start, I’ve put together a list of resources to help you start brainstorming. You can also start asking friends for ideas, and if you’re a member of any social media sites, use that to your advantage. Last year when I was looking for ideas for my dad’s two young step-sons, I asked on Twitter and got a lot of great ideas as well.

Get Organized

As you make decisions about the gifts you’d like to make, begin filling out the Christmas Homemade Gifts Printable so that you have a list of the projects, sources, supplies you need, etc. all in one place. Depending on how your Christmas budget works, you may want to make a single shopping trip to your local craft store and get all of the supplies you need at one time, or you may purchase them on a project-by-project basis as you go.

Once your sheets are filled out and you have a good idea of the projects you will be tackling and the time each will take to complete, begin adding them to your Christmas calendar, setting deadlines for the completion of each project. For larger or more intricate gifts, you’ll want to break down the steps and put several different phases on your calendar to help you stay motivated and on track. Nothing’s worse than projects that you just can’t finish on time!

A Final Word of Caution

If this is your first year to really focus on homemade gifts, be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Last year I started out with way too many projects on my list. Thankfully, I’m pretty good about scaling back as I go if I realize that I’m in over my head, and I was able to eliminate several projects so that I didn’t end up stressed out and overwhelmed. You can always add more gift ideas once you finish the first batch, but it’s better to start small and simple than to end up frustrated and unhappy with your final products!

Today’s task: Brainstorm handmade gift ideas for the people on your gift list. As you make decisions about the gifts you want to make, use the Christmas Handmade Gifts Printable to make notes about each project. Then transfer your projects onto your Christmas calendar to make sure you have enough time to complete everything.

Have you had a “handmade Christmas” before? Do you consider yourself crafty, or does the idea of making gifts overwhelm you?