A merry crafty Christmas from columnist Nic Goddard

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This has been one of my least crafty years, writes Nic Goddard.

A return to increased working hours, no requirement to sit alongside children engaged in arts and crafts and no real outlet for selling my wares has meant my soft fruits were eaten rather than preserved and I more or less hung up my crochet hooks this year.

But a month off from one of my jobs, coupled with a spot of festive nostalgia, means I have found myself digging out craft supplies and enjoying making gifts for people I love this year.

It began with chopping a couple of rogue branches off our Christmas tree and deciding to use to make a wreath. I headed off into the woods armed with secateurs to cut some willow branches to weave them into.

Then, as we decorated our tree with an assortment of decorations, the more fragile requiring unwrapping from being stored all year, meant it was like opening a new gift. So many of our decorations were gifts from others, made by us over the
years or precious souvenir ornaments that coupled with festive music and maybe a glass or two of mulled wine I find myself getting teary eyed with memories of Christmasses past.

When all the Christmas cake mix wouldn’t quite fit into the big tin, instead of making small cakes for us to eat now, I baked a smaller loaf shaped cake which I have marzipanned, iced and decorated and posted down to my parents so they can share our cake with us even if they are not here at our table this year.

I have felted, crocheted, stitched and beaded a variety of tree ornaments to send to family and friends. I have spent several hours trawling through photographs to create photo calendars for family members featuring snaps of happy times of us all together.

All of these activities have taken me far more hours than I would have worked to earn what I may have spent on gifts for them but have given me such joy. I hope they will also bring love and joy to the recipients who will think of me not just when they unwrap the parcels but also every time they sit down over the festive period to enjoy a slice of cake, each month next year when they turn to a new page on the calendar and see another happy memory captured on camera and each Christmas to come when they decorate their trees and hang up something made by me just for them.

The best gifts I have been given are those which had love and thought put into them. I will definitely try to remember this when I’m next considering the best gift for someone along with making sure I let people know how precious the gift of their time has been to me.

Photograph (NO_F53_ChristmasDecs): Made with love – some of Nic’s handmade decorations.