Ok, I'll admit it. I am a holiday fair junky. With my trusty friend Marina by my side we've spent the last three holiday seasons going from church to high school to people's houses exploring all the ways that people do different crafts. And before this year we had a lot of fun. But something has changed in 2008. I'd like to say its the economy but the events are still taking place and the crafters and vendors are all still there, but somehow I've gotten bored. I'm not seeing anything new in the way of holiday crafts and it makes me a little sad. Three years ago when we started really going full tilt at the shows we were always enraptured with the crafts on display. The jewelry sparkled, the santas made us smile and we happily paid $4 or $5 for a unique little stocking stuffer that would be just perfect in someone's stocking. But this year from the very first show things changed. It was all the same. The crafts were exactly the same as last year and just how many times can you give holiday potholders and tea towels, cute little snowman dolls and bead jewelry.
That's not to say all sales disappoint. As we discussed this problem the other night we identified two shows we'd enjoyed and gotten gifts at and plan to return next year. The others we'll let pass. So my advice to all those crafters out there - change things up. Try new yarns, new fabrics, new techniques. Innovate. Don't rely on doing the same thing over and over - the time of the useless stocking stuffer has passed. People are spending less and want more value and more creativity.