Or at least it was before I discover that Etsy sells kits for making tasteful decorations such as origami baubles and scented candles.
Another revelation is yodomo.co, a website featuring online workshops and kits from a curated selection of artists and craftspeople, designed to help people like me release their inner maker. “Craft supplies can be quite kitsch; I wanted to learn how to make the nice stuff you see on Instagram,” explains founder, Sophie Rochester.
There’s no shame in cheating, I decide, when you’re supporting a small business – and learning a new skill at the same time. “We’ve seen a huge surge in amateur makers since the start of Covid,” Rochester confirms. “The pandemic has put a value on learnt skills; we’ve taken a step away from consumerism.”
A handmade gift is always special but this year they’re a demonstration of how we spent our time during a global pandemic, she continues.
“Making and creating has given people a sense of purpose, which has been crucial to mental health,” she says. “The combination of achievement and escapism will also help our mood in the frenzied run up to Christmas.”
After a weekend of creativity and upskilling at our home in London, here are 20 handmade Christmas decoration, gift and wrapping ideas to keep you sane during lockdown – and hopefully bring a smile to your loved ones.
Design a disco bauble
Emma Mapp’s classy Christmas baubles, which she makes by sticking shiny rounds of leather left over from her camera bag business on to papier maché balls, are proof that you can make beautiful decorations from leftovers. Plain cardboard baubles are available at bakerross.co.uk; last year I decorated them with overlapping shreds of shiny Christmas wrapping paper but you can also use strips of fabric – you just need a glue gun or strong PVA. This year I’m cutting corners with one of Mapp’s kits, which contains a papier maché bauble and 90 shiny leather (or vegan leather) rounds plus a set of instructions (£15, mappoflondon.uk).
Sew a gingerbread man
If, like me, you like the idea of sewing but have a house filled with projects you haven’t even started, I can recommend Miss Shelly. I completed her gingerbread man Christmas decoration kit in an hour. She’d done the boring bit by sourcing the eyes, buttons, bow tie, stuffing and embroidery thread, along with the felt, which she’d cut to the right shape. Now the boys want me to make them each one of her ninjabreadmen. Miss Shelly’s make your own gingerbread man and flamingo bauble kit costs from £8.95 on etsy.com or missshellydesigns.co.uk.