Holiday crafters prepare all year for the holiday season, hope COVID stays home

Updated: Oct. 5, 2020 at 10:57 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Debbie Keene has been making money off her crafting for roughly five decades.

“I have been a crafter since 1973. My dad bought a jigsaw and a sander for me and taught me how to cut out wood,” she said.

It’s fun now, but in days gone by, it got her through 18 years as a single mother.

“I literally paid for football cleats and cheerleader uniforms and things like that," she said.

Keene says the income from the holiday season was always the lion’s share of that money. That’s not unlike how it is for many who prepare all year for the holidays. Crafters and artists like her are currently in the homestretch of their work season, with holiday markets and crafts fairs being the finish line on what has been a very long year.

“On the big shows, you have to have your fees in like in January, Feb, March, April, something like that. About that time is when COVID shut everything down," she said.

Many suppliers weren’t shipping during that time, and it was harder to get your hands on the things you need. Also, many crafters didn’t pay the fees for the end of the year because they didn’t know what to expect.

Keene said she starts doing the initial cutting in January for a big show like Mistletoe Marketplace, and around late spring or early summer otherwise.

It’s not far from the minds of crafters that Coronavirus has messed everything else up this year… It doesn’t seem likely, but what’s to protect big shows like Handworks or Mistletoe Marketplace?

“That would be a huge hit if the shows just totally canceled,” Keene said.

Acting Fair Commission Director Michael Lasseter says the decision ultimately would be up to the organizer of the event.

“Unless the governor, the health department or the governor comes out with a mandate, and we can’t have indoor events or the capacity is so small that it wouldn’t work out for either party,” he said.

But at this point, things look merry and bright.

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