So I took the handmade holiday pledge awhile back. While I desperately wanted to stick with the pledge, I have come to realize that at times I may need to honor it as much in spirit as in practice.
I won't go on to provide you with a list of excuses why I can't manage getting everything handmade, but let's just say that at the top of the list a little 3 y.o. girl who built up a massive amount of courage to ask Santa for a magnifying glass. Now, I could go to etsy and get her a gorgeous one like this one or this one. But, I don't think that gift would make for a happy child: mama would follow her around to ensure she didn't a) break it, b) lose it, or c) bury it in the dirt - all of which are perfectly acceptable kid things to do. So I find myself searching for an alternative philosophy that will permit me to buy a magnifying glass (that can get broken, lost of buried), but also allow me to put my money where my values are.
My solution? Buy local. When I can't go for handmade, I'll go for supporting locally-owned business. It also helps that our county has an initiative aimed at this very thing!
As for my own list of handmade items, I'm staying on track!
1) Personalized tote bags for twin nieces: done
2) Quilt for soon-to-be-born niece: done
3) Knit socks for sister-in-law 1: done
4) Knit socks for sister-in-law 2: in process
5) Knit cowl (similar to one pictured) for friend: in process
6) Present for my mom: done (here's just a sneak peak since I know she reads this blog!)
7) Block set for soon-be-born niece: on the honey-do list
8) Block set for nephew: on the honey-do list
9) Something special for girlfriend-in-law: on the honey-do list (can't divulge too much as she might read this blog)
10) Baked goods, such as sweet breads - inspiration from Project Quick-Bread - and biscotti, for the many others that touch our lives on a daily basis, like teachers, neighbors, etc: on the list for next week.
There are, of course, a bunch of other gifts that will be given this year - some that include traditional gifts that have been given every year since I can remember; I give a subscription to National Geographic Magazine to my Uncle every year - but this year there will be something new. Many of the gifts we're giving will be handmade. This is more true today than over years past and is something that we will begin to actively incorporate into our annual giving rituals. It may mean that I begin my holiday knitting in July, but it feels really good to be able to give of myself this holiday.
However, all this work hasn't kept me from treating myself. I even managed to squeeze in a quick project for myself. The cowl pictured above is actually for me. St. Nicholas brought me the softest yarn, that was begging to be turned into something to keep me warm this winter. I only used 1 skein for the cowl...so what to do with the other? Maybe a pair of these sucky thumb mitts for my littlest?