December 1st: to me it’s the day that the Christmas season really gets under way. Today I am regretting buying the Advent Calendar with all sorts of little cubbies that require filling every year. Why didn’t I just stick with the chocolate advent calendars? They’re so easy! My social calendar is already filling up with plays and concerts and parties and more concerts. I’ve scaled back and said no and reduced our season to the minimum amount of fuss. But once you have a houseful of children, Christmas gets overwhelming.
But this year I’m putting a new spin on things: I’m going homemade. For presents, I mean. If I can’t make it, I’m not giving it. (This is for our relatives, not our children. Because I’m not quite clever enough to make ipods.)
Money is tight right now, which is why I thought of doing homemade gifts in the first place. But I also had a lightbulb-over-the-head moment when I was talking to my husband about a really stressful issue we’ve got going on in our lives. As he was slightly freaking out about this problem, I was listening, head bent, knitting madly. I realized that making things, although it can be frustrating and sometimes challenging, really helps relieve my stress. I’m not sure what part of creating something has a pressure-release valve, but when I’m busy with my hands it’s like the anxiety simply slips away.
At first glance making things for Christmas gifts seems like a sure-fire way to overextend myself. But the arty science of making soap, the repetitive moving of the knitting needles, the designing of labels and gift tags is soothing and calms my spirit. I think this might just be the best idea I’ve had in a long time. Of course, I’ll have to pace myself and not procrastinate, but I’m pretty excited about crafting my brains out.
You may not be a creative person, and the thought of making anything at Christmas is enough to induce tears, so how do you deal with the holiday stress? (I tried eating the stress away last year and I don’t recommend it.) How are you planning on not going insane over the next month?