I hope you had a wonderful November so far! I've been leaning heavily into the coziness this fall – lots of evenings snuggled up under my favorite wool blanket on our couch with a candle lit, a soft WIP on my lap, finishing up final seasons of some of our favorite TV shows. (Which, for the most part were disappointing, sigh!)
As busy as this time of the year is, it also feels a little gentler this year than last. I'm not sure what it is - am I better prepared? (Now I probably jinxed it...) Is life with a four year old easier than with a three year old? (Yes, definitely, if you ask me.) Is it just luck? (I'll take it!)
Which is really lovely because it means I can actually look forward to something we've made a bit of a tradition here at Making Stories – our Winter Celebration. We close out the year with a non-religious calendar of sorts that opens its doors on December 1 and runs through December 10. Every day, we send out an email with a little something – a riddle, a giveaway, a gift.
It's our way to say thank you to everyone who has supported us during this year, and to finish it up with something festive. Now, this year will be the last time that we'll run the Winter Celebration the same way, so I thought it might be nice to chat a little about what all goes into it and why I feel the need to change it up for 2024!
You see, over the last four ... five? years, ever since we started the Winter Celebration, it's expanded from year to year. What started out as a "let's just send an email every day" went to "we're adding an extra blog to the website for each door" to "a physical box with items to open every day alongside the virtual doors would be nice". All of which were lovely additions, and I don't regret them one bit, but it's gotten to a point where it's a LOT. A lot to coordinate and set up and post about and publish on the website.
Every year in October, early November, I start a list with ideas for the Winter Celebration. I like to have a mix of riddles and recipes, giveaways and gifts in there, and I try to balance them out so that there's not the same thing behind two subsequent doors.
From that "blank" list that looks a bit like: Day 1 - Riddle, Day 2 - Discount code, Day 3 - Reciped... I start filling it in. I ask our fabulous team for their favorite festive recipes, I google riddles, I create discount codes.
Slowly, the list is filled with content. Some of the days require a bit more setup than others: I like putting the recipes into a lovely layout and a PDF so that you can print them out and get started on them right away.
Once I have all the content together, I head over to Shopify, our webshop platform, and create a new blog for this year's Winter Celebration. I add a post for every day, with a little greeting and that day's riddle / giveaway / discount code / downloadable gift / ...
I also create a blog thumbnail for every day using Canva so that the blog looks nice and neat. Last, but not least, all the blog posts are scheduled so that they go live on midnight the day of their door!
Next up: Emails! We always have a separate email list for our Winter Celebration (which you can sign up for here!) I write and schedule a short email for every day that takes you to the blog on our website where you "open" the virtual door for the day. To round it out, I add the Winter Celebration Email List to our newsletter to let people know how to sign up for it.
This is the digital version – the work for the Winter Celebration Box started way earlier in the year, in the spring, when I started curating the gifts and products that would make their way eventually into a beautifully packaged box.
Researching, testing, ordering 10 products that are produced by small businesses, fit the budget that I set myself, are available in the quantities I need them in and the timeline we're working with has been quite challenging. It's so much fun getting to explore new makers' work and I love how it's all come together – but it's also a lot of juggling timelines and communication!
I love all this work - but also, it's a lot. So this year, we'll have our 10 day long Winter Celebration the last time – next year will look different. I don't yet know how – festive boxes? A shorter winter countdown? Just a pattern gift from us to you? We'll see. I'll enjoy the heck out of this year, and I hope you will too!
it's almost time to wrap up the year! In just a few short weeks, I'll be taking a few days off to recharge, and I hope you do the same.
I want to say a very, very heartfelt thank youfor supporting us in 2023. Every single contribution to the Collective helps keep the lights on here at Making Stories, and I deeply appreciate every single one of you. You make this work possible!
as most of you are in the Northern hemisphere as well, I hope that you're enjoying the very October-esque weather that we've been having! It's a bit grey, with the occasional ray of sunshine or splash of rain, the leaves are definitely falling, and I've started to pull out the knitwear.
I decided that for this month's Collective blog post I would do a little roundup of 3 of my favorite fall things! I would also love to hear what you enjoy doing around this time of the year. There are so many great things to do - I sometimes wish I had a few extra days every week to squeeze them all in.
I've been sitting here for the past 10 minutes, gazing out the window at the slowly turning leaves, trying to figure out what I wanted to write about. Originally, I had planned a post about preparing a launch, but all of a sudden, I was sitting here and thought "oh, maybe that's a bit boring?" (Do let me know if you do not think it's boring and I'll write it up!)
As I let my gaze wander, I noticed a bowl full of fluffy yarn on my office shelf - Bérénice, our latest yarn addition, and I suddenly knew what I wanted to write about: I wanted to share with you how I decide which yarns to carry.
Finding a new yarn that fits into our webshop feels a little bit like magic and fate.
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