Why I Gift Handmade for the Holidays

At the beginning of September I begin to get a little anxious about the holiday season and all the planning and preparation that the fall months entail. I bust out spreadsheets and my trusty bullet journal and make extensive lists.  From the outside, I admit the whole scene probably looks a wee bit crazy.

This week, as I feel the anxiety start to ramp up, I took a moment to think about the “why”.  Why do I do this in September?  Why do I try to organize and coordinate and plan out every detail so far in advance?  And, perhaps most relevant to this blog, why do I plan for so many handmade gifts, when it would be so much easier to click 3 times at Amazon and have them delivered?

The early timing has everything to do with wanting a peaceful holiday.  Once Thanksgiving arrives, and through New Year’s, I no longer want to be shopping and wrapping and sewing.  I want to enjoy the calm and magic and peace of the season.  I want to drive around and look at lights, I want to bake cookies without hectic last minute trips to the grocery store for supplies, and I want to feel excited to give meaningful, heartfelt gifts.  To make that happen requires planning and preparation and in some ways “Christmas in September.”  It requires an enormous spreadsheet that lays out our traditions and the people we want to present with gifts.  This process brings me peace during the season, even if it makes early September, before I have a good plan in place, feel a little overwhelming.

The additional element of gifting handmade is so important to me.  When I give handmade, I give a piece of me.  For my kids, that means they have something under the tree that doesn’t flash or make noise, but is often soft and snuggly and warm and sweet.  Handmade holiday also means special pillowcases just for December, and a skirt under our tree that was made just for our family.

For our many extended family members, these handmade gifts are an expression of love that can be hard to put into words with the people we care about sometimes. I realized recently that this expression is easily missed by family members who don’t understand the time and energy that go into the gift.  I quickly decided that doesn’t matter to me.  I want that new grand-niece to be swaddled in handmade goodness, and for her mama to have handmade burp cloths.  I want fresh kitchen linens for my mom that came from my sewing machine, and a warm hand-knit sweater for my husband to wear as we brave the Midwest winter on our holiday hiatus from the Miami heat.  And I want to sew and knit and experience the joy I get from selecting fabrics and yarns and deciding on the perfect gift to make for my loves.

So bring on September and the lists and spreadsheets.  Bring on the many trips to the fabric shop and the packages of crafting supplies that will soon begin arriving.  The fun is in the making as well as the gifting.