The Christmas season is a busy time, talk about stating the obvious. Some people thrive on being busy and all the preparations, buying gifts, making things, writing cards, wrapping and hiding presents. Others get stressed out and just want it to be over. Sorry, but that's the truth of it. If you fall into the second category, you may want to skip the making-your-own-presents thing.
Everyone is different, another obvious statement. We go through different stages in our lives and what we enjoy doing at one time may not bring us pleasure at a later time.
When I was younger I loved making Christmas presents. I started early in the year and made all sorts of things. I went through different phases.
I made plenty of hampers and baskets containing things like mint jelly, pickled onions, pickled plums (like a solid plum sauce and yes, there were two plum trees in the back yard), relish and biscuits. Through the year I kept suitable jars and containers which I decorated with glued on Christmas pictures.
I continued making and giving biscuits long after I had tired of making the other food items.
I made a couple of recipe books after a dear friend gave me a beautiful one with a felt cover decorated with a Christmas tree. Forty one years later I still have and use that recipe book.
Hand made recipe book from friend Image by Marie Vonow
There was my Christmas decoration phase where I made cute ornaments using bread dough and walnut shells which I painted. I used pine cones and gum nuts to make Christmas wreaths.
One year I attended a class and learnt how to make Christmas presents. We made cardboard presentation boxes for individually wrapped cakes of soap. There were techniques for making decorations. It was lots of fun and I made friends.
When I did a couple of pottery classes my family and friends received pottery wind chimes, animals, pots for the garden, vases, bowls and ash trays. This was great because I loved making pottery but there is a limit to the number of wind chimes and vases you can fit in one house. My special friends received pottery houses.
Pottery house Image by Marie Vonow
Somewhere along the way I slowed up with the making my own presents thing. I didn't have as much enthusiasm for the idea and to be honest Christmas stressed me. I was busy with children and caring for other family members as well holdig down a job. I found a few recipients actually didn't appreciate the time and effort that went into the making of handmade gifts.
Here we are, many years down the track. It's the second week in November. How many presents have I made? Answer - zero. How many do I intend making? Hmmm, I might bake a couple batches of biscuits to give as presents, but then again, I might not.
Do my adult sons want hand made presents from me? Answer, no. Will my friends be disappointed if I don't make a present for them? Answer, no.
Therefore it seems the only reason for me to make any presents would be if I felt creative and if it was going to bring me pleasure.
If you are considering making your own presents ask yourself:
How much time do you have?
Do you have the skills?
Do you already have any equipment or tools needed?
Will you get pleasure from it?
Do you want to?
How much money will it cost you? Making presents isn't always the money saving option.
Will you have lots of leftover fabric or other items that you don't know what to do with?
Will the recipients appreciate the time and effort you put into the gift?
Christmas can be pretty tiring so only make presents if it isn't going to add stress to your life. Don't do it to compete with someone else in your circle or because you read somewhere you should.