Are you suffering from handmade gift giving and unmade project guilt?

Starting in November, I start scouring craft magazines and blogs for all of the Christmas gifts and projects I am going to make for friends and family.

“This year will be different .This year everyone on my list will get a beautiful handmade gift. This year I will be organized. This year my table and home will look like the cover of a Martha Stewart magazine,” I think to myself.

  • There are embroidered hoops with cute little sayings, adorable apron ideas, tote bags, purses, pajama pants, and baby outfits for friends with babies to be made. My Pinterest feed becomes clogged up with ambitious projects and starts to look like a Tater Tots & Jello link party.
  • And of course I also plan to make handmade cards for everyone with my trusty Silhouette machine I have used like three times.
  • I pick up plain glasses at the Dollar Tree, planning on hand painting lovely winter scenes on them to put on my completely handmade table filled with hand sewn napkins and place mats which I also have planned to make.
  • I buy supplies to make beautiful handmade ornaments which I will lovingly make with my well behaved, excited children.
  • I plan the Christmas dresses to sew.
  • I go to JoAnn fabrics on Black Friday at six in the morning and tussle with women in mu-mu’s over flannel fabrics to make Christmas pajamas for everyone. Something I have never done and always thought sounded like a great idea. Right.
  • I will make Catholic projects to do with my kids, an advent calendar, and an advent wreath which will be lit every Sunday night like all of my friends on FB do.

So how did it go , you ask?

The road to crafty holiday hell is paved with good intentions my friends.

Flash forward to around December 20 when I realize I haven’t made my gifts yet. Well maybe two or three things, A tote bag, a floppy antlered reindeer doll that looks so bad I can only give it to my own child, and precisely one pair of pajama pants. No napkins and the glasses are still stuffed in my closet waiting to be painted while the flannels sit in my linen closet, mocking me every time I open it. The kids were fighting and crying over their handmade ornaments and I put everything away in a grumpy huff.

I feel guilty , knowing I can’t possibly get around to all of the projects I excitedly planned back in November.

Why do I put so much pressure on myself? Advent Mini Stocking Calener Sew Country Chick

I have to give myself credit and say I did make the wreath and calendar. But the calendar had such little stockings…..and well… I keep forgetting to put little goodies inside them! These stockings were too small to put goodies in!

DIY-advent-wreathAnd the advent wreath? We only lit it once so far since we have been going out to eat every Sunday night, when we are supposed to be having warm and cozy family dinners at home on my handmade table linens I have yet to make. But tonight is the last night to light it so there is hope for my redemption yet!

 I did make the littler girls their Christmas dresses. Yay for that!UpcycledChristmasDress

Red Linen Peter Pan collar dress

And the cards? I caved during Black Friday and ordered my cards from Snapfish during the half off sale. And even though I stocked up on all those cute flannels at the Black Friday sale at JoAnn, the thought of actually having to sew up all those pajamas filled me with dread and much biting of fingernails, so on a quick pop in to K Mart to buy some Borax for the snowflake making project I have yet to make with Gigi, I filled my basket with cheap made in China pajamas for everyone I was planning on sewing for. Yes,I felt guilty. Caving into the mindless consumerism of Christmas. But the pajamas were cute, 100 percent cotton flannel, and 40 percent off the already low K Mart price! And guess what? I felt so relieved……

So here is a new idea.

If you are like me and get waaaay too ambitious and beat yourself up for not being a holiday handmade wizard, why not just say,” Forget it!! I am only one person! And I have kids who need to be tended to and a house that needs to be cleaned once in awhile and a body that needs to get itself to the gym after eating all of those goodies that other people seemed to find the time to make and send to me!”

Why not start extending the Christmas spirit to yourself and give yourself a break ?Instead of slaving away at your craft table, take your kids rollerskating like I did yesterday. And foolishly enter the adult only race, assuming you will win because you are an ex half pipe street skater like I am, only to realize there is a roller derby chick in the race, work your hardest to keep up,and fall in front of everyone at the rink.

Good times.

And remember, Martha has a TEAM of people making those things and how many people actually make anything they pin on Pinterest anyway ?

Give yourself a break!Christamscutout

And Merry Christmas.

Share Button


  1. says

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! We also ordered Christmas cards on black Friday from snapfish and Ansley’s can can skirt could really use another row of ruffles but apparently 60 yards of fabric wasn’t enough. 🙂

  2. says

    THANK YOU!!! I was standing up and shouting AMEN by the second paragraph. Okay, not literally, but in my mind I was high-fiving you all the way through this post. I set an expectation for myself that I would make Liv’s Christmas dress this year. I bought the fabric last night. Now I’m thinking it will be just a winter dress but if I get it done in time she can wear it to Christmas Eve service. Taking the pressure off of myself!!

    I’ve linked to your post over at Craft Gossip:


  3. says

    YES! And just because I make things DOES NOT mean I have to make all my gifts! My sewing philosophy is, I only sew things THAT I WANT TO SEW, otherwise my sewing loses it’s joy. If I feel all pressured to create (do to expectations or time crunch or a no longer inspiring project), than I lose that joy and do not start that project. This year I’ve been very inspired and did make most of my gifts. Other years I’ve made none or nearly none, opting to purchase gifts from local shops or other artisans which also brings me great joy. ‘Cause with both holiday gift giving and with creating…. it’s really all about the joy.

  4. Sally says

    Whew!! You said it— and well!! Thank you – this was a Christmas gift for me 🙂

  5. says

    I think we all put too much pressure on ourselves and that’s not what Christmas is about. I did end up making quite a few of my presents and still have one more to sew, but I have lots of time with the kids grown up. However, if I hadn’t felt like it, there would be NO guilt. A good post!!! Have a great Christmas, Justine!!!

  6. Marjorie Trundle says

    This is great advice and I wish I had read this years ago. Although I love trying to be the Australian version of Martha Stewart, I am old enough and wise enough to know I never will be. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

  7. says

    I think part of my lacking in project completion is waiting until November to get started. I wanted this to be a homemade Christmas because it doesn’t cost me any more money to use fabric or yarn from my private warehouse of a closet. One more day and a few projects to go, it was nice to read your post to help me relax and realize my kids won’t like the gifts as much as time with a happy Mommy.

  8. says

    “The road to crafty holiday hell is paved with good intentions my friends.”

    Justine, I read your post while taking a break from all my frantic last minute holiday sewing. I spent most of Sunday and Monday locked in my sewing room trying to finish gifts while my husband and kids watched holiday movies and simply enjoyed being together. I promptly abandoned those projects and joined my family for some fun. Did the kids miss any of the handmade gifts I didn’t finish? Not a bit.

    I hear by solemnly swear that for Christmas 2014 I will not spend the last 2 weeks before Christmas stressing over handmade gifts. They will either be finished already or not made at all. 😉

  9. Judy says

    Justine, the MOST wonderful post.. You are so correct.. i think we all try to make the “perfect Christmas” with all the beautiful handmade things [that requires hours/hours of work]. Even planning early, does not allow enough time.Your post sounds like every person I know.. thanks for sharing the truth!!
    I tell you what, I worked /worked to do all that I did.. To the point of exhaustion–Christmas flew by, and no, all my ideas didn’t get done-never do,ha. And I missed so much..While I was tucked away in my sewing room ,day after day… the holiday season [the fun part] was passing me by.. I kinda felt depressed after it was over.. So.. I declare, I will not try to have the “Martha Stewart Perfect Christmas” next year.. I will take the time to do fun Christmas things.. I will only sew/craft, when I am in the mood too.. and not rushed to do..
    Love your Christmas photo..Beautiful family.. May God bless each of you with a wonderful New Year.