Holidays in 2020 are completely crazy and strange due to Covid-19. We know this. We’re sick of this – we bet you are, too! So Covid is affecting us this Holiday Season, but we’re carrying on as best we can.
Some traditions change just because the kids are growing up. They all know that there is no jolly elf coming to fill their stockings, but we have the stockings anyway. Growing up so that they are their own drivers and off at college and internships means we aren’t riding around together.
So this year, we are revamping our family viewing and discussion of Christmas Lights, but asynchronously (apart). I designed a Holiday Lights scavenger hunt for our family with two versions. One of our kiddos is doing an internship in a much more urban setting so she will see far more lights than those of us in our tiny town. So we invited some cousins to play also, who would be in the same competitive rank as she. Then I created a website to post our photos of these cool lights we find. Everyone got the link to the website to find the list and see other people’s photos. Everyone texts or emails me their photos with the correlating prompt and where they found the lights. I upload to the website. We may not be together, but we’re all playing the same game and seeing the same lights (kinda). It’s worth my time to do this.
We discovered this year that we don’t have as many card games and board games as we once did. Pieces have been lost and broken along the way. So I bought some new games. I’ll be wrapping these in interesting ways (so they aren’t obvious). They each get to pick one of these mystery packages. But they don’t unwrap right away. Once they have chosen their package they listen to me read a silly one page story. As I read the story every time they hear the words “left” or “right” they pass the package accordingly. So it might be, “Right away I knew I had left five packages by the front steps.” In this case they pass it once to the right and then to the left. Hopefully it will be a funny game.
Now these prior two activities have taken extra time for me, so I cheated for the next activity. I found a kit for four mini gingerbread houses to decorate. Four mini houses, four kids…yep, easy peasy. It comes with icing and candy, but I’ll buy some extra, too. It should occupy them for just a little while…Bonus points, I don’t have to bake the gingerbread buildings.
Somehow, despite being home more in the Spring, I just didn’t make as many gifts ahead like I normally do. Normally by the end of summer, I have some jams, pickles or whatever set aside for gifts. I usually have one or two gifts crocheted as well.
This year, I have been selling my crafts as I make them, and have nothing set aside for gifts. Wow! I can’t tell you the last time I did that. As I write this, I am in the weeds by nine orders. But as I work on these nine orders I’ll add an extra piece in here and there in the assembly line and make some gifts as well. I love the idea of gift baskets, so I’ll be making up some gift bags (because I make and sell these totes). I’ll fill them with some cookies and quick breads we make, instead of jams and jellies. Then, filled some with other personalized items, whether it be masks, coasters, or jewelery. A few people will receive farm fresh eggs.
Due to Covid, I did buy a lot online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When possible, I like to buy from small shops, but I did order some personalized photo merchandise from a big company and I had a gift certificate to another large company (though at least that one is Maine based). I expect to be in an amazing craft store in the next few days dropping off more of my product, I can shop some more then.
I did not achieve my goals of having the majority of our gifts be hand crafted. But I am ok with that. Next year we will do better.
Lessons for next year
It’s not every year that we suffer a pandemic, and had we known back in the spring how the year would pan out, I would have planned some things differently. Instead, I am content at how well my family is weathering the storm. Our family has achieved some important steps in terms of independence: one child went to college, one is in a long term work study program and comes home just on the weekends, our blog and social presence has grown, we’ve done five craft fairs.
We did well planning out some marketing and sales in the beginning of October for Thanksgiving through Christmas. We did well at getting some crafting stocked up before the “rush.” But, we need more stock next year.
We’ll do this again next fall, knowing what worked well this year. Next year, we have two goals to improve upon. 1. More stock ready before November. We’ll still need to make items, but maybe not staying up until 11pm every night! 2. More blog posts written and scheduled, with pins ready to go. This fall the blog has taken a back burner while focusing on sales,and that will cost us blog momentum.
Always, we have a goal of making more of our gifts. We’ll try to return to normal levels of this, and improve as well. This year we have networked with lots of other small businesses and crafters, so hopefully the majority of what we do buy, will come from them.