Christmas Giving

Margaret Riley crafts inspiration

By Margaret Riley

Can you believe that Christmas is out in the craft mass merchant stores in July? Who can think about Christmas when you are burning up outside and wearing flip-flops? There is a reason these stores put Christmas out that early. First of all, they order the majority of their Christmas in January and then have it “drop-shipped” in June to the stores. With limited storage space in the stores, they start putting items out. Some companies manufacture two to three years ahead for Christmas. The trends are set long before you see them on the shelves. Secondly, they are helping you out if you are creating gifts for Christmas giving.

Are you going to make a gift this year? How detailed will you be in making it? Simple? Elegant? When you started seeing Christmas put out in July, the stores were telling you NOW is the time to start anything handmade. It takes some time to knit or crochet a hat, especially if you are doing them for all your family members. Maybe you are going to make centerpieces for all your family homes. Who wouldn’t love to get a lovely centerpiece as a gift? If you are going to paint something for holiday display, you will want to get it done by Thanksgiving. Believe me, it takes time to paint a special item for a friend or a loved one! Quilting may take you a very long time to create. You’ll want to figure out the time involved with cutting the pieces, sewing them together, and doing the quilting (oh the lucky person that gets a quilt!!!). A simple project is a cover for a hanger plus another easy quilting project are mug rugs….coasters made from fabric and batting. Cool gift!

So NOW is the time to get started. Don’t wait too much longer to handcraft an item. You can go back into past issues of Painting World magazine and Painting World newsletter/blog and find wonderful treasures to create and give. Have you considered making a yearly tradition in hand painting an ornament for all your friends? Or maybe get a dozen friends together and have an ornament exchange each year in November….and if they are handpainted, what a grand gift to treasure for years to come. One thing about creating an ornament, you get to have some great memories every year when you unpack them AND you get to pack them back up for future holiday celebration. No dust collectors sitting around all year long.

Wreaths are great gifts to give. Think Spring and Summer for a wreath to give, especially if you are a procrastinator and have run out of time to do a Christmas wreath for someone to enjoy. Even creating a yard flag or an outdoor accent will thrill the recipient.

Browse through Pinterest and the internet to find gift ideas. Some are very inexpensive to make. Just keep in mind the amount of time that you have to create in. Whatever you decide to create, it will be wonderful because YOU made it, and YOU put a lot of love into the project. Keep going in creating after Christmas to get a jump on birthdays and Christmas next year! (Give a subscription to Painting World Magazine, too!) Happy Creating!

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