Christmas Prep: Planning Your Handmade Gifts

I know, I know. Stand down, July is a bit early to talk about Christmas (We have 6 family birthdays in the next 4 weeks – I get it!). But I have my reasons, so hear me out. Handmade gifts take time, and if you want to try and make them and not get stressed about it, you’re going to want to start thinking about them now. While you have the time to breathe.

Normally I leave it until September to start thinking about Christmas, after all the schools have gone back (Well at least in the UK they have, here in DK they go back in about 4 weeks at the beginning of August)

So, why am I talking about Christmas now. If you’re like me and like to make some of your Christmas presents, it definitely makes sense to start earlier and have time to breath than be desperately trying to get those last rows done the night before you give the gift (and skipping finishing touches like blocking if needed).

We’re into July which means that it’s just under 6 months to Christmas. So whether you want to knit items to decorate your home or you want to knit a bunch of gifts for people on your list, the time to get planning is now.

I start with my Christmas Planner (or inserts) from Mrs Brimbles and look at what was given last year – and what’s changed to this year. (If you need a planner you can get the inserts on Anna’s website or Etsy, the bound planner is available from Amazon here). Last year I went with the bound version but I have found that it’s easier to take the “Present Log” pages out of my Filofax Domino planner and take them with me when I go shopping rather than the whole planner.

  • Make a list of everyone you need to buy for. Then narrow down who you’re going to knit something for.
  • Think about what you want to make for then. Be realistic about time – it might be easier to knit the same thing for everyone with different colours yarn. (One year I knitted two cowls to the same pattern with different yarn). For partners, parents or best friends you might want to make something different for them. (On balance if you’re knitting for a Secret Santa for someone at work you might just want to make something that takes less time and effort!)
  • As far as the time, it can be hard to gauge how long a project is going to take. So it might be better to work it out the other way round. You have six months from now, divide that by how many projects you want to do. 5 people to knit for, 6 months to go, that just over a month for each project. That way you don’t need to panic, if you haven’t completed them all yet. A month sounds like a long time but if you’re doing bigger projects you might need to try and do your smaller ones quicker to allow you the extra time on your big project (You might even want to start with that big project so that it is done and ready). Similarly if you’re making lots of big projects, you might want to be really careful about your time scale. On one knitting project, my Dad created a whole spreadsheet for my Mum which worked out how many rows she needed to do each day to stay on her target. I think each day he’d add how many she’d actually done so that it recalculated her target – so if she’d done a lot one day the average might go down, if she’d had a day where she couldn’t reach her minimum then this was spread out again across the remaining days.
  • One you’ve got an idea of your timeline, take a look at patterns and yarn choices. Maybe see if you have things in stash that can be used to start your projects with (this helps with using what you already have but also might lower your overall Christmas present spending too). This also means that if you need to order any yarn, you can get that done and start on the projects you already have the yarn for.
  • Here’s a harsh one but you do need to think about it. Be willing to let some people go. Think about who you really want to knit for? Focus on those people and those things. You’ll be happier and feel less stressed about it – for sure! (Some friends and family don’t always comprehend the love that’s gone into a homemade something special. I recently made a crochet blanket for someone close to our family. I’d been living and breathing the blanket, at every opportunity I had the crochet hook in my hand and was doing the next bit. With all the sorting I had no wrapping paper so ended up wrapping it in my jumper while I delivered it to the person, who didn’t care once they realised what was inside my jumper! When they opened it they were SO excited and happy with it. That definitely made it all worth while!

Now you’re getting there on the organising you can get started with your projects. Here we go!!

Will you be making any of your Christmas presents or is it still too far away for you to think about it? Do you have any go to patterns when it comes to knitting for people?


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