Well, it’s official. Thanksgiving is cancelled. Not only are stores around the country opening at obscene hours on Black Friday morning to lure shoppers in with merchandise sales, but now some stores like Macy’s and JCPenney have made it a habit to open on Thanksgiving night.
As someone who once worked in retail, I have a serious problem with retail stores of any kind being open on Thanksgiving Day. Retail as a business is torturous for its store employees. More often than not, the pay, benefits, work hours, and general time-off at retail stores and chains are pretty abysmal. Add to this the fact that corporations are further destroying their employees’ enjoyment of major holidays by being open on Thanksgiving Day itself or, God-forbid, on Christmas. I cry foul. Since I’m not in charge of the companies in question, I can’t directly stop the idiocy. That being said, I can do something as a consumer to run interference with this rampant commercialism. I propose a Make-In.
What’s a Make-In?
A Make-In is a two-day event occurring during the Thanksgiving holiday. Family members stay home during Thanksgiving Day to spend time with each other. They also stay home during Black Friday instead of shop—for anything. Now before you scream at me about the time lost on Christmas-gift buying, keep reading. The point of a Make-In is not about boycotting businesses, although you could make it about that if you really wished. The idea of a Make-In is to spend some quality time with your family and friends doing something besides stuffing your face with turkey or fighting the masses for the last My Pink Posy doll for your kid.
People participating in a Make-In are responsible for actually making their own Christmas presents for their family members and friends instead of spending the day buying them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be buying Christmas presents for people. I know from experience that retailers make the majority of their annual sales during the month before Christmas. Retailers making sales means that their employees can keep the jobs that help their families stay afloat. From this standpoint, buying from retailers is a good thing—just not on Thanksgiving Day.
How do you plan a Make-In?
Doing a Thanksgiving Make-In requires a little extra organization on the part of the event planner—mainly you have to get supplies ahead of time. In order to do this, you’ll need to make a trip to your favorite craft stores, office supply stores, and dollar stores way ahead of time to purchase the supplies you need.
Part of the fun of a Make-In is to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind presents without emptying your wallet. Look for items that are relatively inexpensive to purchase and then find creative ways to dress them up into something truly unique and special.
What presents should you create during a Make-In?
When doing a Make-In, play to each person’s strengths. Does someone in your group love to shoot photos? Let him take photos of the family while they are crafting gifts and turn the photos into small personalized Christmas scrap books. Do you have a writer? She can write personalized poetry for people or write a fiction story to share with everyone as a gift. Got a gamer? Have him create a series of crossword puzzles or mazes for people to solve. Is someone great at organizing? Let her make decorative storage boxes or office bins for use in people’s office cubicles. Know a cook? Have him create custom recipe cards for people sharing a few of his favorite treats. The point of this is for everyone to create a personalized present for each other.
This year, for example, I plan to handcraft everyone’s Christmas tree ornaments. Every year, my husband and I send out Christmas ornaments to our family members and close friends and this year will be no exception. Consequently I’ve been brainstorming some interesting concepts. Here is a list of a few of my fun present ideas:
Origami ornaments: create Christmas tree ornaments with an oriental flare by folding paper into unique sculptures. Coat these origami designs with clear resin to help protect them. Don’t forget to add a ribbon so that they can hang on the tree when you’re finished.
Needed supplies: square sheets of scrapbook or wrapping paper (6×6 inch squares work well), scissors, resin, and ribbon, and anything else that looks interesting.
Photo ornaments: capture special moments in hand-painted frames for your Christmas tree.
Needed supplies: special photos, small frames that need painting or decorations added, paint, brushes, buttons, stickers, cloth, ribbons, jewelry bobbles, and anything else that looks interesting.
Hand-painted ornaments: make hand-painted ornaments for your loved-ones.
Needed supplies: plain glass ornament bulbs, paint, brushes, buttons, stickers, cloth, ribbons, jewelry bobbles, and anything else that looks interesting.
Custom Jewelry: craft unique necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more for the special people in your life.
Needed supplies: beads, pendants, wire, ribbon, string, fishing line, scissors and/or wire cutters, and anything else that looks interesting.
Need more good ideas? I suggest browsing places like Etsy or Pinterest to spark some creative concepts. By all means, please contact me with what you craft. I can’t wait to hear about your creations. I wish you all a wonderful, meaningful Thanksgiving!
Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!