Friday, November 4, 2011
Annual Christmas Craft Swap !!
Hi ... I'm Pam and I don't really like Christmas. I like what I think Christmas should be but never like what it ends up being. I find it to be all about money, keeping score, "STUFF" for people who don't need stuff, a huge sense of obligation, and really a fake kind of jolliness. I want it to be all about the family & friends I love, making things to share, feeding people, gifting those who make my life richer without them feeling like they must reciprocate, giving to charities, and a true feeling of community and festivity. I want to make things for people but I don't really have a lot of people who want "made things". BAH HUMBUG !!
So four years ago I decided to do something about it ... create a little of that Christmas I wanted. I had been to a Cookie Swap and enjoyed it. It was fun to visit, share what we had made, and exciting to see what others had made. But ... for me ... it was a lot of baking ! I like to bake but just little batches ... 9 dozen was a lot ! And then all the amazing food I brought home ... wow ! It is just the 2 of us so , sadly, a lot of it ended up uneaten. So I liked the idea but wanted some other vehicle. I love to craft and never seem to have enough reasons to make projects. Hmmmm .... A craft swap !!! And so the idea was born !
I asked a few friends and then asked frequent customers who were fun & crafty people. I didn't know everyone really well ... I just knew that I liked them and was intrigued and inspired by their projects. I quickly found 9 people willing to give it a go ! I wished I could have had more ... but there is a limit to how many things people can make !!
The "rules" were simple ... make nine of anything you want. That's it ! Everyone gets together on the night of the swap, we all bring some sort of food and our crafts. We chat, we eat, we drink, and we share. And it is one of my favourite things about Christmas. Actually it might be my favourite ! We were a random group of people , none of whom knew everyone, but we all were people who like to create and share. Some had to be convinced that they were creative but they found their inner crafters !! The variety of what has been given is amazing and it has never become a competition.
We have had everything from bookmarks, candle holders, wall art, card holders, jams & pickles, bath salts, clove studded oranges, cards, bows, coasters, ornaments ... you name it ! I am amazed every year at what everyone makes. But the most important thing is that everyone makes something from the heart and offers it to the group. We all ohhh and ahhh , we even squeal ! Everything is appreciated and cherished. Some use their gifts, some give them as gifts, and some just hoard them all (that would be me !! This year I am going to try to use them ...) We pass the gifts around and each one brings about discussion about how it was made. It is truly a wonderful evening of shared creativity and friendship.
Through the years some have had to drop out, we have added others, and made new friends. Someone that you run into at the store or at a crop and now know. We don't get together for any other reasons but we have made such nice friends by doing this. And we look forward to each year's get-together.
And then we go our separate ways for the year ... and we plan what we will do next year !!