Creativity and Christmas: they are perfect partners. They walk together, merrily and bright, hand in hand. Stopping for a moment to catch a kiss under the mistletoe.
December marks the time of the year when imperfect bakers (like me) create wonky mince pies and overly alcoholic chutneys. Or occasional crafters return to their childhood and make Christmas cards worthy of a Blue Peter badge. We become florists and foragers, making wreaths and table arrangements with foliage found in our gardens.
Tis the season to be jolly creative.
After the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday last week, one could mistake this time of the year as one big shopping extravaganza. TV adverts jostle for 1st prize in the ad department. Major department store windows are at their very best this time of year with incredible, theatrical displays worthy of being on the west end stage. All to entice us into their shops to spend money.
I don’t know about you but I’ve felt rather fatigued by the spend spend spend, deals deals deals, buy buy buy, messages of the past couple of weeks on TV, online and in my email inbox.
As an artist and maker, this time of year leaves me feeling a little torn. I’ll openly admit I’m not great at promoting myself. At Christmas, I’m even worse because I find pushing my work at this time of year, among all the noise of commercialism, feels a little crass.
The Gift of Creativity this Christmas
As a consumer, the deals and sales messages were completely lost on me anyway. It’s the creatives and independent businesses that I have followed during the year, usually on social media or locally at fairs or in independent shops that I’m more likely to buy from. Knowing the face behind the product and business, knowing their story and what inspires their creativity, makes me want to buy from them.
My point is, at this time of year, thoughtful creative gifts, personalised goods, crafted by independent makers and businesses or even better, making something yourself, they are far better ways of giving. More satisfying than ‘getting a good deal’ or buying an item because you saw it in a sale.
I’m very lucky that many of the neighbours in our street, swap gifts of home-made chocolates, chutneys, sloe-gin and last year, a Christmas wreath made of chocolate – yummy! It was lovely. Perhaps it’s old-fashioned of me to want to return to a time when gift giving was simpler. And not the commercial buy-fest that now represents this time of year.
So let YOUR creativity flourish this December. What can you make for a loved one? It doesn’t have to be complicated. It may be a simple home-made card.
If you are going to buy a gift, spend time at a local Christmas craft fair, wandering around the stalls, chatting to the actual makers of the products you see. Or buy from the creatives you have admired on social media for a while when every product will be made and packaged with care and attention.
If you’re in Brighton this weekend, check out the Brighton Etsy Made Local Christmas Market on Saturday 2nd December. You’ll be able to meet and buy beautiful wares from some of the best sellers from East Sussex IMO!
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