They say that he who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree, but what about the stuff on the Christmas tree?
It might not be Christian goodwill fortifying my bones this December, but considering my total Christmas relapse from 2013-2014, the positively yuletide mood I am exuding signals a pretty miraculous U-turn.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, supposedly. Perhaps it’s the un-seasonally mild weather. Or boredom? Maybe Christmas spirit is simply a mental obsession that I have unwittingly developed this year…
Unfortunately, I have a more likely answer for this moderate festive hysteria – a theory evidenced in almost every room in my house. The signs were all there, a little customisation here, a stash of mixed-media materials there… Whenever I left the house, I came with raffia. And so I can deny it no longer; the truth is that I have a long repressed love of… crafting.
Yes, ‘craft’, that inferior cousin of art and design. The kind of thing you find at folk festivals or in the homes of middle-aged Delia Smith enthusiasts. The frustrated artist in me just longs to engage my fingertips with the right side of my brain; to create… things and play with old things that ought to just go in the bin. The pleasure of making something for the sake of making something, combined with time-wasting and feeling a small sense of accomplishment is devastatingly addictive.
Does this make me a ‘crafter’? I hope not. I despise the word and all of the images it brings with it of misguided and frankly talent and imagination-less Pinterest users. I hate decoupage cards, I hate polkadots and I hate anything made out of buttons. I would be mortally offended if anyone tried to gift me, or heaven forbid, sell me, some soulless homemade tat they had unsuccessfully regurgitated from a Cath Kidston brochure.
I am certain that it requires a good deal of skill and time to earn the title of craftsperson, the sort who sculpt stone or weld metal and create other respectful, purposeful wares… forty-five minutes worth of cutting and sticking doesn’t count (ref. exhibit A).
Yet, I have walked the irredeemable walk to Hobbycraft; my face illuminated for all to see by the fluorescent lighting of the categorised aisles. I have watched episodes of Kirstie Allsopp’s Homemade Home…on demand. I can’t help myself and Christmas 2015 has provided a bittersweet sort of sanctity with the knowledge that everybody else is doing it too.
Naturally, the festive season is the opiate of the seasoned and unsuspecting novice crafter alike. Don’t we all become crafty to some extent when we begin to bedeck our homes? Nobody is really innocent once they’ve spray-painted a pinecone or arranged winter foliage in a vase. So I reckon that Christmas is as good a time as any to open the floodgates and let my crafty urges have their wicked way.
Admittedly, the whole process of making and being surrounded by weird (and wonderful) creations is quite a nice one – and a house full of sentimental decorations has a bit more character than one without.
As for the shortcomings of measuring your mood with material things (dubious ones at that)…what happens when Christmas is over and you have to take them down? Well, maybe just don’t stop, there’s always next year.