The holidays seem to awaken the dormant crafty side of people. I have friends who fashion  tree centerpieces from ribbons, string tiny beaded angel ornaments and cross-stitch snowmen. My sister even shoots photos of landscapes throughout the year, places them in hand-decorated frames and they become a gift from the heart.

 Not me. I don’t modge-podge, sew, stamp, paint, embroider, needlepoint (are they the same thing?) and I’ve never aimed a glue gun.

When I’m forced to go to Michael’s for supplies for my son’s school projects, it’s like entering craft hell. The only “handcrafted” gift I’ve given was mixed-at-home kahlua poured into glass bottles bought from the Container store. But I did “personalize” them with fancy ribbons.

I was okay with my craft-apathy —  until I was given a crisp white apron 20 years ago. My friend passed them out — they’re the kind food servers wore in school cafeterias —  at our annual Christmas cookie bake.That was the start of a new tradition. After our day of baking, one of us would take the aprons home, wash them and add a decorative accent. Each year, my friends covered the aprons with painted reindeer, dainty needlepoint and glittery treelights wound around the hem.  Then it was my turn – and off I went to craft hell.

In December,  I presented the aprons at the cookie bake. An iron-on red toy soldier covered the apron pockets. “Iron-ons are not allowed,” teased a friend as she tied the apron around her waist. I laughed and realized that it didn’t matter how I’d decorated the aprons.  It’s about spending the day sharing stories and baking cookies with friends.

Still, I just might learn to needlepoint so I’m ready for my next turn.

Do you feel pressure to make handmade gifts and decorations?  Or are you a mini-Martha Stewart and consider the holidays a time to show-off your creative side?