In today’s post we will explore the notion of Christmas in July for Makers and what that means for us all.
If you continue reading this, you won’t be able to unread it.
You will be in full possession of this knowledge and will therefore have a responsibility to act on it.
There are only 174 days until Christmas. That’s 4,176 hours, or 250,560 minutes, or 15,033,600 seconds.
Phase #1 – Deny Christmas in July
Ostriches are experts at this phase. First of all you could imitate those majestic, flightless birds, stick your head in the sand and pretend it ain’t so. But this realization is going to gnaw at you like a hamster on wood chips. You already know the truth….Christmas is coming.
They say, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” If we aren’t careful this could become a state of being. Also it’s like cotton candy, all fluffy and pretty on the outside but will give you a stomach ache if you persist in devouring it.
Phase #2 – Arguing
I know what you’re saying right now:
“Christmas in July? Now that’s a load of hoo-haw!” (You probably only say that if you’re from North Carolina)
“It’s only July!”
“I bet she’s one of those people who keep Christmas lights up all year long.”
“Don’t you put that on me, Ricky Bobby!” (Bonus points if you can name what movie that came from!)
Truth be told, I’m one of those folks who gets a bit angry when I hear Christmas music before Thanksgiving. As a result I don’t want to hear Bing Crosby crooning about sleigh bells and mistletoe until the suitable hour. I like to celebrate my holidays at the appropriate time and not a minute sooner.
Come on, Be Realistic
I’m also a realist and as makers we need time to get ready. Whether you are preparing for markets or to give handmade gifts this year, it’s going to take time. A lot of time. There are 174 days until Christmas and we are going to need every last one of them.
Phase #3 – Acceptance
Alright, we can’t deny the inevitable. First we’ve just got come to terms with the fact that we are over halfway through 2019 and the holidays will be upon us before we know it. I know that the heat and humidity of summer have melted our wits but we’ve got to be practical! Christmas is coming!
There’s nothing I like better than blissfully skipping through summer and fall, sticking my fingers in my ears and singing loudly anytime someone mentions the holidays. To be truthful Christmas stresses me out. One of the reasons is that I procrastinate. So I put off thinking and planning for Christmas until the bitter end and then all I’m left with is a monthlong frantic sprint to the end.
Phase #4 – Plan
Next I believe one of the best ways to plan is to work backwards from your intended goal. Let’s work through a fictional scenario. Pretend you would like to have 8 amigurumi toys for gifts for family made by Christmas. Plus you would like to have 15 made for your Etsy shop by Black Friday, which is November 29th this year. You will need a total of 23 knitted and crocheted toys for the holidays. Currently you have four made for family and four made for the Etsy shop.
me you with 15 left to make, 4 for family gifts and 11 for the shop. There are 21 weeks until Black Friday which equals 147 days. It takes me an average of 9 days to knit a toy. So 15 x 9 = 135. I should have plenty of time to meet my goal with a few days to spare. Seems like in that “fictional” scenario you would have plenty of time to meet your goal.
Phase #5 – Stay Focused
Likewise it is so incredibly easy to become distracted. When you have a goal like this it will take every ounce of focus you possess to stay on track. I tend to be very squirrel-ish and bounce around to new and shiny distractions. It will take focus and a little luck to reach our goals.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.Paul J. Meyer
Phase #6 – Plan B
I always thought Christmas in July was a strange notion, but not any more. Being a maker has completely changed my opinion on this matter. We all know the stanza from the poem “To a Mouse” (best read in an authentic Scottish accent).
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley.
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
― Robert Burns, Collected Poems of Robert Burns
Most importantly I don’t believe it’s pessimistic to have a plan B. It means we understand that life doesn’t always go as planned and we are able to adapt.
My Plan B
My own plan B is to prioritize. The first and foremost goal is to have plenty of handmade gifts to give this Christmas. I would like to have 8 in total and I believe that is a very doable goal, especially since I’m already halfway there. The Etsy shop listings are secondary. If I am unable to do both, the gifts come first.
By having a plan A and B I feel confident that I will be able to at least accomplish one of them! I’m old enough to realize that while the forecast looks good, storms could be right around the corner. For that reason, I will have a solid Plan B, and maybe even a C, D, and E.
Christmas in July
Finally, the holidays are a wonderful time of the year. Therefore they can bring our attention back to what is really important in life. The flip side is that it can be an extremely stressful season particularly for makers. We want to make our family, friends, and ourselves happy. The only way to do that is to plan and stay focused.
Are you planning on giving gifts or selling handmade items this year? How are you going about planning it all out?