I meant to make these Wee Mouse Tin Houses as gifts this past Christmas. I really did. I even bought fabric. A week before Christmas. Needless to say, the mice didn’t get made. But there’s always Christmas 2013, right?
Except that after surviving the holidays the last thing I want to do is start thinking about next year. I need to recover! But every December as I’m scrambling to find supplies to make teacher gifts or staying up way too late finishing a scarf, I kick myself and wonder why I didn’t work on gifts all year.
My problem is that despite my best intentions I lose focus sometime around Groundhog Day. Christmas seems so far away. And it turns out that all the other months are busy on their own, without adding Christmas projects to the mix.
So this year I’m going to try a simple plan that, I hope, will add structure without making me feel overwhelmed.
Every month I’m going to work on one thing for Christmas. That’s it. I can make something or just gather materials so everything’s ready to go when we need it. And if it turns out I can’t actually sew tiny mice, I’ll have time to switch gears and come up with a different gift idea.
Here are some ideas I’m excited about. Maybe you’ll like them, too!
January: Owl ornaments. Buy burlap, felt, and twine and cut out owl parts during Downton Abbey. Let the kids assemble the owls one day when they’re bored.
February: Buy Altoids and start eating so the Wee Mice can have their Tin Houses. Start sewing.
March: Chunky Cowl. I’ve been wanting to knit a cowl forever. I’ll try this pattern and if it doesn’t work, I’ll keep looking.
April: I have a picture in my mind of a soap I’d like to make: reindeer-shaped, with brown-ish oatmeal-type soap, and a nose made out of some kind of seed pod. Look for reindeer mold and seed pod, and come up with recipe.
May: Look for ornament ideas for kids’ crafting party. These almond bird ornaments from Better Homes and Gardens are cute.
June: Gather materials for needle-felting a snowman or two.
September: We’ll know the kids’ teachers now, so we can start thinking about gift ideas for them.
October: Christmas in a Jar. I made a few of these this Christmas and a friend said the potpourri smelled great, so I’d like to make more. We don’t have a dehydrator, so I had to dry the fruit in the oven. Definitely not something I want to do last-minute again. I also had trouble finding the right-sized labels. I never did figure out what she used, so I just printed labels on a different size and cut them to fit. But it would be nice not to bother with that next time. I would also want to buy as many spices in bulk as possible because the cost adds up!
November: Snowman gum. Buy gum and baker’s twine and start drawing the little faces. Make enough for all the kids we know. Start Grandma’s fruitcake so the brandy has time to soak in.
December: Finish up loose ends and, fingers crossed here, thank myself for getting a head-start on the craziness.
Do you work on Christmas throughout the year, whether it’s shopping early or making your gifts ahead of time? Have you discovered a great way to plan ahead so life is calmer in December?