Above, you will see a LOT of pictures of all things crafty from this past Christmas.

When Ayden was born (November 2011), I did not go back to work.  Berkley and I were bringing in about the same income so that means we cut our income in half!  By Christmas 2012, I was trying to see if I could decrease our Christmas gift spending without sacrificing gifts.  (Yes, I know that Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, but I think part of what I gained from this experience helped to look at gift giving differently).  So, I decided to make everyone’s gifts.  I had made gifts in the past, but it was as I was inspired.  At this time, Pinterest was a great source of Pinspiration.  So, I got out some trusty notepaper (my BFF) and started my list (one of my strengths).

Off to Hobby Lobby I went, excited that I got to actually buy stuff while I was in there!!!

Boy, was I in for a surprise.  I had NO idea how much work it was going to be to make all these gifts from scratch (and no…I couldn’t just do one gift per person, it was like 2-3 plus a couple gift), while taking care of a house and a one year old.  Also, my parents stay with us when they come for visits.  Not only did I not have all my gifts made by the time they got here, I didn’t even have their gifts made.  So I was making stuff in front of my mom that was for her and had to tell her it was for my MIL.

Anyway, to make a VERY VERY long story just a long story.  I was way in over my head.  I had so much to do at the last minute and I also had baked goods on my gifts list and those can’t be done too far in advance.  Not to mention what I contribute to our family gatherings on Christmas Eve and Day.  If you would like to see more on what I made last year, you can click here.

Alright, fast-forward a little bit to June 2013.  I was so ahead of the game (mind you, I am the world’s BEST list maker and also BEST procrastinator).  I got my notebook, made my list of who I was making gifts for, make a list of the gifts, make another list for all the supplies I will need.  And I started watching the Hobby Lobby and Michael’s ads every Sunday for what anything I needed that was 40 or 50% off so I didn’t have to use up my weekly coupons.  I even highlighted the projects I could do early and get out of the way so that it didn’t all pile up on me with the things I had to wait to do.  I was doing so good.   If there was a few things on sale that I needed, I went, got them, got something with my 40% off coupon and stashed away.  A few months into this wonderful plan and we ran into some major financial hurdles that made me change my tactic.  I now had to wait until the 2nd week in December to purchase the rest of my supplies.  Didn’t have enough of one project to be able to start early..nope!

This is why the phrase “the best laid plans” is the story of my life.  Needless to say, this didn’t all work out according to plan or even close.  I think late November, I ended up changing the whole gift list and going from there.  I worked with what I had and purchased the rest.  On top of this stress, I found out that my parents (who usually come a few days before the holiday) weren’t able to come until very very late the 23rd.  Because of this, I did not want to be rushing around on Christmas Eve (which I always am).  PS, Christmas Eve is when our whole family (grandparents, in-laws, etc) get together for finger foods and gifts.  And this year, it was back at my house.  Not a good year to be behind on gifts again!  On top of finishing gifts, I had to get the house clean, prep food, and still manage to make sure that my son wasn’t eating Nutella out of the jar, sneaking sips of my coffee, or trying to hook the dogs up with extra food!

So what do I do?  I make another list, two actually.  One for every single task for every single gift I had to make.  And the other for every single other thing I had to do that wasn’t gift related.  This might seem like just more work (busy work) to some of you.  But for my undiagnosed attention deficit issues and scatterbrainedness (don’t try to Google it, I know it ain’t a word) it was the only way I could get through all of this.  My brain doesn’t have to think this way.  I just look at the list and do what I can do at that moment.

Believe it or not, I got everything done, and wrapped, early (never has happened for me, usually wrapping in my room while people are arriving).  So, feel free to take a look at the pictures in this post.  If you click on the picture, you can scroll through the gallery and read the captions.

I will always make gifts (maybe not all of them, but at least one per person).  I love the feeling of putting so much thought, creativity, and joy into the gifts and seeing the reaction on the receiver’s face when they open it.  I usually go for a tear, sometimes I get one, sometimes I don’t.  😉

Thanks for taking the time to read through what seems like chaos, still, in my brain.  Stay tuned for the other editions of the Christmas Recap; Gift Photo Blooper Edition and Food Edition.