There's a lot of challenges and contests that sewers can join throughout the year. Right now I'm currently managing the Holiday Sewing Contest for Pattern Review (PR). PR offers contests all year around.
This is my fifth contest managing role and I choose to manage different contests to support other sewers take part and this increases my knowledge of how I can use what I know for different projects. It works both ways.
Everyone has their own style and take on how they tackle their projects so this gives myself and others the opportunity to 'watch and learn' or get motivated and sew along.
The first contest I managed was the Vintage contest and that was a steep learning curve but there were so many helpful PR members that gave the contestants a hand with dating their patterns, it was a great contest to learn from.
Here's a link to the rules.
This is a really long contest - 6 weeks. You can choose to sew any holiday-themed item, not just the coming festive season.
Here's a link to the discussion.
So while this doesn't include cocktail dresses, which has it's own contest coming up, you can choose any holiday.
By the way, contest manager are volunteers.