Sound the klaxons! It is officially two months until Christmas day. Ah-oooh-gah! Panic! Panic stations! PANIC!
But actually, don't...because unless you're in charge of the annual Santa parade, two months is plenty of time to get organised for Christmas. Having said that, if you're on a limited budget and want to bulk out your gifty offerings with some homemade fare, then now is actually a pretty good time to start getting organised in a non-panicky, totally on top of it way. At least that's the theory.
And that's how I ended up pulling a bunch of Christmas books off the shelf before Halloween. Because homemade may be cheaper but it also takes longer... What I'm looking for is stylish inspiration, but stuff that's not too fiddly or requires a lot of expensive ingredients/materials.
Here's how my festive five lined up:
This scores high in the "stylish photography/inspiration" category. If you are the kind of person who likes large paper pom-poms and chandelier drops as tree ornaments you'll do well with this book. There's a whole section on place-setting related crafts that I would never do in a million years... however the edible gifts and kids crafts are all cute and achievable. Cookies that can also be tree decorations? I can whip those up in an afternoon, no worries.
I picked this book due to the title because I have no time to do anything. Most of the projects within (50 in total) do seem simple to moderately fiddly, but a lot of them feature felt and needlework so if that's not your aesthetic/strength you might prefer something else. That said, there are some bright, cheery decoration options and pretty idiot proof gift ideas (e.g. flavoured vinegars, vanilla sugar), though typically very northern-hemisphere appropriate (cosy baby boots, hot water bottle covers and so on).
This book wins in the "who has the best photos of effortless-looking rustic holiday cabins" competition by a Country Living mile. Everything in this book looks beautiful... however most of us cannot pull off hanging beribboned pine branches from our living room doorknobs, or sprigs of artfully placed pine in old jars without it looking mildly ridiculous. The recipes though are mouthwatering, and the gift ideas, very chic - sugar cookies shaped like buttons! Espresso sugar cubes! Bespoke embroidered gloves! Gourmet marshmallows! Rosemary honey! Gifts I'd be happy to receive and only slightly less happy to make.
I have always enjoyed Kirstie Allsop's sense of style both in her fashion choices and in her crafty television outings like Kirstie's vintage home so had high hopes that she would solve all my Christmas gift problems in one fell swoop. Alas, no. This book rates the highest in fussy/fiddly factor. One project involved screenprinting. Making my own silkscreen is several steps too far for this lazy crafter. Saving graces come in the form of a dead easy recipe for summer favourite, limoncello, a rather good looking chutney, a mulled cider, and a spiced pear martini that I can't stop thinking about. So mainly the booze and food section.
I went washi tape mad a couple of Christmases ago so I am not immune to its easy, removable adhesive charms. Unfortunately the crafts in this book do rather depend on you having acquired vast quantities of washi tape in a variety of Christmas-themed patterns, which I cannot be bothered with, frankly. And the appeal for me is how easy washi tape is to use but somehow they've managed to make it all fiddly. I reckon you could make most of the projects with patterned paper and some spray adhesive so if you've the time and skill and a fully stocked crafting toolkit, this could be your Christmas crafting inspiration - it just wasn't mine.
Any sure-fire Christmas crafts you want to share or favourite Christmas inspiration type books?