Holiday Crafting Plan: Stay Organized and Excited Through Year’s End
By Kathryn Vercillo
The holidays are rapidly approaching. As usual, you plan to knit or crochet a few gifts. Plus, you want to hand craft some of your holiday décor. However, what starts off right around now as a feeling of excitement can quickly become something much less fun. As the holidays get closer, it can feel like they’re a deadline instead of a delight. Staying organized and ahead of the game will help you remain excited crafting all the way through to the new year.
Make a Detailed List
First, you need to make a list of every craft that you want to complete for the holidays. Your “to do” list should include:
- Home décor projects for every holiday through year’s end
- Holiday gift bags, cards with yarn appliques, and handmade stockings
- Holiday items to add to your Etsy store, craft booth, etc.
- Knit or crochet Christmas gifts
In addition, you should note an approximate length of time that each item will take to complete. Otherwise you could end up with ten sweaters to knit during the week before Christmas.
Get Out Your Calendar
Those approximate times on your list are meaningless without a more detailed plan. Get out a calendar and start figuring out when you are actually going to craft the items on your list. Some tips:
- Aim to have each item complete a week in advance of the holiday date. For example, Thanksgiving crafts should be done by mid-November.
- Remember that the deadline for some Christmas gifts is the date you want to ship them.
- Add extra time to any projects that use new techniques or have finicky details.
- Start lengthy projects early. Don’t put off crocheting a king-sized blanket until December 15th.
- Be realistic. Your holiday crafting time has to fit in with all of the season’s other obligation
Here’s the thing: if you can’t make this work on paper then you can’t make it work in your craft room. No matter how much you want to hand craft every holiday item, you can only do so much. If you push yourself beyond what’s healthy, you will dread crafting instead of enjoying it. That defeats the purpose.
What if I Want to do too Much?
Okay, so you admit that your plans don’t fit on the calendar. You know that you need to scale back your ambitions. But where do you start?
The first thing to do is to get honest with yourself. Why do you want to make these décor and gift items? Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves because we believe things like:
- People will be disappointed if I don’t give them a handmade gift.
- People will like me more if I knit them something personal.
- Crafting gifts is part of my identity; I don’t feel worthy when I don’t do this.
- It’s important to impress people with how well I’ve got my crafty life together.
- I’ve always done this, so I have to do it again.
- My Etsy store will go out of business if I don’t stock it full enough.
If your motivations for putting together a crafty holiday are complicated by fear and emotional entanglement, then it helps to practice self-care around that. Otherwise, you’ll never be happy with how the holidays turn out.
Other than working on your inner demons, here are some specific tips to follow for eliminating things from your crafty to-do list to free up time and energy:
- Eliminate any projects that fill you with dread. Yes, just take them off the list.
- Give priority to the projects that make you feel really excited.
- Replace time-consuming projects with simpler ones. For example, crochet an applique for store-bought stockings instead of crocheting the whole stocking. Make a bulky-yarn blanket instead of one from sock yarn.
Order Supplies and Organize Them
Finally, you need to get everything organized so that when crafting time comes, you’re ready to get right down to work. Here’s what to do:
- Make a list of all required supplies and order them immediately.
- Sort yarn into bags for each project. Include a print version of any pattern you plan to use.
- Label the bag with the date the project should be completed by as well as the dates you plan to work on it.
- Store the bags in order of when you’ll work on them, with the soonest-to-start project at the front.
- Keep a crafty space clear in your house. This is hard to do during the busy holidays, but it makes it so much easier to snag a few extra minutes of craft time here and there.
Remember, the holidays are supposed to be fun. Practice gratitude for what you have, including the time and skills to craft. Be flexible about changing your craft plan if things get too hectic. Give yourself permission to let the stress go and indulge in the joy of making things by hand. Crochet and knitting are healing crafts, so allow your craft time to be this season’s downtime instead of its downer.
Kathryn Vercillo is the author of several books on crochet health including Crochet Saved My Life. She publishes a monthly crochet newsletter through Patreon.