Holiday Survival for Creatives: Side-Hustlers and Hobbyists

Holiday Survival for Creatives - Side-hustlers & Hobbyists

(Need context for this post? Check out the introductory post for this series.)

Making things with your hands brings you joy and relaxation… until the turkey is out of the oven and everyone is looking at you. They expect you to head up the decorating committee at work because you’re “SO artistic!” or they want to pay you [not nearly enough money] to make a quilt/knit a sweater/build a hope chest for someone they love because you’re “SO talented!” Worse yet, you excitedly bought all the supplies back in July to make gifts for everyone on your list… now it’s December 15th and you have 2 out of 12 gifts done.

1. Just say no – Just because you’re talented doesn’t mean you have to do all the things. There is someone else who can garland the office, make whatever needs to be made, and bake whatever needs to be baked. It doesn’t have to be you and you don’t have to explain yourself. Just politely decline and get back to your own thing. A firm, polite “NO” is far nicer than a “yes” that stresses you out and causes you to resent everyone.

2. Plan your future empire – Ok, so the commission requests that roll in the week before Christmas are usually laughable, but if people are really clamoring for your creative work, start taking orders for next year. Maybe they’ll be willing to give their gift recipient a “coming soon” and you can deliver in January or maybe you can cultivate these seeds of interest to grow some Valentine’s Day commissions.

3. You’re not obligated – This is another mental shift. Again, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Of course you can make beautiful things but there is no shame in store-bought. Use the supplies for next year’s gifts (and actually start making them in July) or find another use for them. Make gifts for special birthdays instead.

4. Change up your holiday expectations – I really do enjoy making things for people for the holidays. But I know I can’t do it all. A few years ago, my extended family stopped giving each other gifts and now focus on being together, having a good meal and just having fun. This is what the season is really about, in my humble opinion. I have one or two people in my life that I consistently make gifts for and that’s it. I know they appreciate them. I can focus all my time and energy on those one or two items and there’s much less stress. Large families often do Secret Santa – everyone’s name goes in a hat and each person is only responsible for one gift. I think that’s a perfect solution for a manageable holiday.

Regardless of what your holiday challenges may be, know that you aren’t alone. And it’s not the end of the world if things don’t go right.

Whatever holidays you celebrate at the end of the year, may they be happy!

Interested in the other posts in this series?

Jump to Holiday Survival for Creatives: Working Artists and Crafters

Jump to Holiday Survival for Creatives: Got the Van Gogh Blues

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