There's just something about the calendar switching over to November that brings on Christmas plans. Not that I haven't had plans all year, but November crystallizes and accelerates them. The truth is, big craft projects for Christmas need a lot more lead time than November. But there are lots of little things - cards, tags, packaging, tree ornaments, etc - that can be made very quickly. Presents for family and close friends I've had planned for a while, so I've done a lot of preparation for them, and November is the month that I need to evaluate whether they will actually get finished! Tanith kicked things off with a Christmas craft party over last weekend, and I've been spending lots of spare minutes stitching.
I'm involved in several exchanges over at RPG Geek this year: a Christmas card exchange and two present exchanges. One of the present exchanges is just games off people's wishlists, but the other, a less formal, smaller exchange in the 'Tavern' (the off-topic forum area) is a mixed bag of stuff related to their gaming and non-gaming interests. And we don't get told who our targets are until mid-November. I'm crafting three of my five cards (the other two I'm buying, as I want to send 'Australian Christmas' cards to some overseas people and I'm not in the mood to stitch koalas). And I'm also making a card and a tree ornament for my Tavern exchange target. This means very quick crafting - trying to figure out what I can make that relates to their interests and won't be too time consuming.
I love making crafted items, so I don't mind putting the work into these items (and current state of unemployment does at least give me plenty of time to work on them). But I do sometimes wonder if I'm being silly to do these for people I don't know.
Even when I look at my own close circles of family and friends, there are people for whom I rarely make gifts. Sometimes it is because it is difficult to find things they'd like that I can make - my husband falls into this category, one of the reasons I'm so excited about the Rogue Trader cape I'm making for him. I know he'll actually use this. My brother is another - he has a very tight list of interests, and is streamlining his life. As I can't craft weightlifting equipment, I'm stumped on what I could make for him. But both of these guys have hung around crafters for long enough that I think they would at least appreciate the work that went into a present. There are others, however, who shall remain unnamed, for whom I am reluctant to make presents because I don't think they realise how much work is involved and don't appreciate them. The targets of my various geek exchanges are people I've only met online, and talking about roleplaying. I have no idea what category they will fall into. Will they see them as special craft items or just another card?
Or is that a relevant question? If I've enjoyed the process - if I've enjoyed researching their interests through their profiles, and finding a suitable pattern or card design, enjoyed the crafting - then does anything that happens after they leave my hands matter? If I've had a good time and am proud of my work, does it matter whether the recipient appreciates the work involved? Does my effort 'require' suitable acknowledgement to make it worthwhile?
Questions I'm pondering. Meanwhile, back to stitching...