Today’s guest post for the Handmade Holiday series is Claudia from Snuggly Monkey. I had the pleasure of getting to know Claudia at Sew South a few years ago and she has a heart as big as her beautiful smile.
I’m most excited about her post today as she is sharing some fabulous ideas for spreading joy through giving to others. Through our time and talents with projects both big and small, Claudia inspires us to give the gift of joy this holiday season.
The Joy of Giving
GIVING PROJECTS BIG & SMALL : HANDMADE HOLIDAYS – INSPIRATIONS SERIES
Hi! My name is Claudia, and I am the owner of Snuggly Monkey, a craft supply shop for the modern Maker. I am grateful to Jennifer for giving me this opportunity to participate in the Handmade Holidays: Inspirations Blog Series, and I am so excited to share some ideas on how you can use your crafty skills to spread kindness and compassion in your community and around the world this season.
It is easy to get caught up in the holiday whirlwind of shopping, wrapping, baking, and general merry-making, but it is also important to take some time to relax and do some things that nurture your spirit by spreading some love and kindness. Volunteering and helping others is a big part of our family life year round, but around the holidays I always try to put special emphasis on the importance of giving back to our community and thinking about those around the world who are struggling with difficulties. I have found that one of the best ways to get my girls engaged in giving projects is to pick something that involves them making something for someone else.
The Joy of Giving
There are so many great organizations out there that would be overjoyed to receive handmade donations. You do not need to have a specific skill, such as knitting or quilting, nor do you need to be an expert sewist. There are projects for every skill level and age range to participate in. If you are trying to involve kids in the process, I encourage you to find a cause that resonates with their interests. Here are just a handful of examples of some giving projects that would love to receive your donations this holiday season:
- Snuggles Project – Perfect for the animal lover! Knit, sew, crotchet or assemble a snuggle for animals in shelters. The organization’s website provides patterns for Crotchet, Knit, Sew, No-Sew, and Toys so you have plenty of options on what to make. You can find the information about how to donate here.
- Capes for Kids – The mission of the Capes for Kids program is “Sending Hope, Faith, and Love to Children Living in Shelters Across the Country.” Make easy to sew capes for children living in shelters to encourage them to be their own superheros in difficult times. The cape pattern can be found here.
- Dress a Girl Around the World – Hope 4 Women International hosts this program and asks volunteers to sew simple pillowcase dresses for girls in need around the world. Patterns and detailed sewing instructions can be found here.
- One Million Pillowcase Challenge – American Patchwork & Quilting put forth a challenge to all sewists, quilters and crafters to help them reach a goal of donating 1 million pillowcases to local charities. To date, over 650,000 pillowcases have been donated. Check the website for participating local quilt shops that collect the pillowcase, but you can also donate them to local charities on your own. The website provides over 50 different pillowcase patterns for you to use here.
- Teddies for Tragedies – Teddies for Tragedies donates hand knit teddy bears to children around the world affected by catastrophes. If you knit, you can make teddy bears, but if you sew you can make a simple gift bag for gifting the teddy bears. You can find information and the pattern for the Teddy Bags here.
These are all wonderful and worthy causes, but if your handmade holiday gift making list is a mile long and the idea of taking on another large sewing project seems overwhelming, there are still lots of ways that you can incorporate charitable giving into your busy schedule. Your giving project can be much smaller scale, such as homemade cookies for neighbors or getting the Elf on the Shelf to suggest a few quick and easy projects to help spread smiles and holiday cheer in your community. Here are a few of my favorite “local” giving projects.
The Giving Bunny Project – I love random acts of kindness. The idea here is simple – make a bunny (or 20) and then take your kids on an adventure around town leaving bunnies in unexpected places for strangers to find. The Urban Threads blog has everything you need from sewing and embroidery patterns to gift tag templates.
Spend an afternoon making Holiday Treat Bags and hand them out to friends, neighbors, teachers, school staff, your mailman, post office employees, etc.
Most people are so busy during the holidays that it is easy to forget to take care of ourselves, to feel overwhelmed and to get down on ourselves. Participate in Operation Beautiful and leave an encouraging note for someone in a public space.
Looking for even more ideas? Check out Mique Provost’s book Make & Share Random Acts of Kindness where she shares nearly 50 different simple craft ideas and recipes for sharing and spreading joy.
The best part about all of these giving projects is that none of them have deadlines! No time to add anything else to your plate before the holidays? No problem! Embrace the idea of the “season” of giving and on those days towards the end of winter break when the new toys have lost their initial sparkle and everyone is starting to get restless before heading back to school, spend the day doing something kind for someone in need.
A big thanks to Jennifer at Ellison Lane for putting together the Handmade Holiday Inspirations series! Be sure to check out all the other great posts in the series. There are also some fantastic prizes up for grabs. All you need to do is link a picture of your handmade holiday project here for a chance to win! (One entry per person please)
Thank you so much for these amazing ideas and inspirations Claudia! I love that you are inspiring us to share our talents and gifts in so many different ways as we celebrate the joy of giving.
Be sure to check out all the inspiring posts in the series so far. SO much goodness!
See y’all tomorrow for another Handmade Holiday Inspiration Post!