Retail 101 probably would’ve taught me that those Holiday Gift Guides No. 3 + 4 should have been posted already. Yikes! I should also be reminding you of our Pub Knit Night (tonight, 7:30 PM at Congress Hall in Cape May) and of our Holiday Party + Stash Swap (Wednesday, December 19 from 6-8PM). If you sign up for our email newsletter, you already got those reminders so I’m not a complete retail delinquent.
But, (not so surprisingly) they don’t cover this kind of retail stuff when you’re studying social work. Here I am, preoccupied instead with how this “most wonderful time of year” can become super stressful, especially when we’ve committed ourselves to lots of handmade gifts.
Hobbies like knitting and sewing — hobbies that usually bring us joy and relieve our stress — can end up becoming contributors to our holiday crazy. The stakes are higher with those handmade projects because you have a deadline to finish. We tell ourselves that we better do it perfectly the first time because there’s no time leftover to fix any mistakes! In reality, the person on the receiving end is not going to inspect their gift for mismatched seams or unruly stitches. They are going to love it because you made it. Just for them. We are our own toughest critics.
So, let’s take a collective breath. Maybe roll those shoulders down. You can probably hear mine crack through the screen from all the stress that I store in there! And, let’s remind ourselves that the beauty of handmade gifts is that each strand of yarn or piece of fabric ran through your fingers as you create this “thing.” That you labored over this beautiful object as an act of love, so the process is just as–or more!– significant than the finished result.
Because if it was really all about the “thing” then you would’ve just bought it already. We all know that would’ve been faster (and probably cheaper)!
Giving handmade is not about the end result. It’s about the act of creating something from scratch to give part of yourself to another. And, that’s pretty much the most perfect gift I can imagine.
My holiday wish is that stop policing our projects with such harsh, critical eyes. No need to be so mean! Then, we can open ourselves up to truly working on our craft. How can we learn and improve if we become so fearful of making a mistake that we don’t try new things and experiment?
If there ever were a fleet of our inner craft policemen and women, I imagine they would look like my nephew, Finn. On your ticket, he would write”Le-lax!” He’s not so great with his “R” sounds yet. Officer Finn would order you to stop hesitating and trust yourself, just try your best, enjoy your process, and be proud of what you make. And, then he’d smile and stick his tongue out at you.