My gifts to others were a gift to myself this year for Solstice/Chanukkah/Christmas. I turned my writing time into beading time for the last two weeks in December. Focusing on beading let my mind wander and work out plot issues with my writings and meditate on other matters.
Any creative time is good time, for me. In the course of beading, I realised that I hardly ever bead for myself anymore; I usually pull out my bead kit when I need to make a gift and nothing in the shops 'speaks to me.' In fact, I prefer making gifts (and writing letters) instead of buying gifts. Why do we fall prey to the consumerist idea that gifts are only valuable when they are expensive or come dearly? While it may sound trite, "It's the thought that counts." I pay far more attention to the process of making things--beaded bits, food, clothing--than I do in just buying things (even when it's the perfect, most awesomest store find for someone). While it might be literally materialistic to like to make things with one's hands, I find the creative process deeply satisfying, filling holes that no amount of bought stuff will ever fill. In my early post-college life (OK, like, two years ago), I lamented often the unsatisfying intangibility of my fellowship (especially since where I worked was focused on changing people's behaviour). That dissatisfaction was a driving factor in choosing to pursue health coaching, as changing people's bodies (or changing their behaviour towards their bodies) seemed (and is) more tangible.
I could've bought a Lego set for my younger cousins, but instead TC and I chose four vintage Lego train minifigs and accessories to send to them. The minifigs are older than my cousins! We gave them a story: the engineers are out of work as their train is incompatible with more recent Lego sets; could A & C give the Legos jobs? I'm not sure how crafty my cousins are, but I hope they will play with these train dudes.
Seems like I've featured Legos and toys quite a bit on this blog in 2014 (here, here, here, here, and here). If there's any sign that I've recovered from the year of the ego, id est, "the long 2013", it's that I bead, write, and play with my toys again. While I worked more with my hands and did very tangible work, during the long 2013, I didn't do a whole lot of creative activity, besides blogging (but boy did I experience a lot of material for future writings). All of these activities require creativity and right-brain activation, far more so than the basic veganising and de-glutenising that I do on a daily basis. Beading and sending my minifigs on adventures were my main modes of entertainment until high school; then I picked up creative writing to tell my stories. When the creative brain ossifies, then that's when one truly becomes an adult, in the negative sense of stodgy, stubborn, uncreative individual. Creative relativism: creativity manifests in different ways for different people, from stagecraft to painting, to legal-ese, to robot-building, to music-making, ad infinitum. My point is that I feel much better about myself and my life, I feel quite fulfilled and peaceful, when I make time to write (blog!) and play.
So, for 2015, I am confident that I can continue to maintain and even increase my creative energy. I get back even more energy when I invest time into creative pursuits.
While not handmade, Playmobil dualsport dude is going to be having some adventures in 2015!
 In my life, December 2012-March 2014, c.f. the "long nineteenth century."