a handmade holiday – inspirations for home/handmade gifting that don’t suck!
I looooove the holiday season. I always have and I absolutely always will. The spirit of gathering with those you love and care for most and sharing meals, spending time together, and giving gifts has always been a weakness. I know, you’re probably thinking “Jen, you disgust me with this Christmas in October mentality. Whatever happened to Halloween and Thanksgiving!?!” My short answer is they’re both still there and I love both quite dearly, but if you’re going to try to save some loot and still show your appreciation to your friends and family for them being in your life, then you might wanna start at least thinking about what you’d like to do. Don’t forget Halloween and Thanksgiving, they too are wonderfully important holidays that deserve their own special celebrations and respect. Just, don’t forget that Santa is peeking his head around the corner
We aren’t broke, and we don’t want to act like it. Yes we just bought a house and there absolutely will be expenses related to that, both the expected and the not, but we did our homework before deciding on this home and we’re confident we won’t be in too deep. But this serious consideration of money does fuel my interest in celebrating and giving wonderful homemade gifts to my friends and family in an attempt to stay within a reasonable holiday budget. And more importantly, I don’t want them to suck! I know myself too well to think I will only give homemade gifts, but planning and doing so will certainly help keep costs in check while adding a warm, personal touch to the gifts we give. We actually started with this idea last year, and those folks we gave the items to really seemed to appreciate the time, effort, and love that went into them. I look forward to this process again this year, as it was a great way to spend time with Matty doing something we really enjoy.
Now I realize there’s a certain stigma attached to giving out homemade gifts. Words like “cheap,” “miserly,” and “stingy” do unfortunately come to mind. I suppose it would appear pretty cheap and uncaring if you throw some premade/storebought chotchkies into a crappy basket. The solution to this little problem seems pretty simple (to me, at least) – put in the time and effort to make your gift something you’d like to receive! Isn’t it worth the time and effort to put into gifts you’re going to give to the people you love and care for the most?!? I never once said that homemade gifts didn’t require time and effort, but they will almost undoubtedly save some money while giving some pretty rockin’ gifts. If it’s not worth it to you, you might as well save yourself some time and effort and discontinue reading. If that doesn’t sound so bad and in fact kinda fun, let’s continue shall we?
I’d like to think that perhaps by giving some really cool, useful, fun homemade gift ideas we’ll be able to open some folks’ eyes to the endlessly awesome possibilities of homemade gifts. Some reasons homemade gifts can acutally be… awesome.
- They can be useful! We made some wine jellies last year that my parents used in literally 2 weeks. Lots of PB&J sandwiches and toast for breakfast will do that. That, my friends, were some well used (and highly enjoyed) gifts. Seriously, who uses those stupid generic bath sets or shave kits anyway? Nobody. Don’t kid yourself, you didn’t either when someone gave them to you. People will appreciate gifts they can use as opposed to more fancy-pantsy stuff they might not need anyway, and can appreciate the time you put into them.
- They can be partially reusable. Think ball jars full of homemade jams/jellies/mixes in a jar. Ball jars are great for storing all assorts of things you never knew you needed to store in something.
- They are great for personalizing your gift to your recipient. You know your friends and family well (hopefully!), so go ahead think about what they use frequently and things they enjoy? You can customize your homemade gift to the exact tastes and likes of your recipients. Make a list of their likes and interests, then figure out something that you can make that coincides with those.
- The highly customizable nature of homemade gifts also helps you control what goes into/does’t go into it. Do you have a friend/family member with special dietary, allergy, or lifestyle considerations? I sure do, and making my own gifts means those folks will know exactly what’s in their gift, and be fairly confident that you thought of that when you made it. I would certainly hope you wouldn’t be trying to kill or offend your recipient, but on that note make sure you think of those things as you’re putting together your gift idea list.
- In conjunction with the easy customization of the actual gifts, making gifts enables you to decide how expensive or inexpensive your gifts will be. Just please, make sure to not look cheap and unappreciative. If you’re going to seriously cheap out on the homemade gifting, don’t do it. People will know, and will almost certainly be offended by your lack of consideration.
- They can be super fun to make! What do you like doing/making? What are your hobbies/crafts that you enjoy doing, and can you incorporate those into your gifts? People who know you know what you’re good at, and can appreciate something you’ve made with joy in your heart. Aside from that, gift-making could be a great family-time activity that produces something functional at its conclusion.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that this whole homemade gift giving idea can be pretty cool if you put some consideration and love into the process. Time for some ideas! Don’t consider this an exhaustive list, as the options to what you can make and give as a gift are only limited to your imagination and creativity! Perhaps some of these ideas will get your juices flowing and inspire your homemade holiday gifts this year!
- Jams/Jellies/pickled/preserved items
- Mixes in a jar (customized to your recipients’ likes/tastes) – meals, soups, stews, dips, drinks, baked goods, etc.
- Brewed items – vinegars, wines, beers, meads, teas, ciders
- Goodies – baked goods, candies, fudge
- knitted/fabric items – pillows, clothes, blankets, stuffed animals
- Candles (I’ve done this in the past, a candle in a ball jar serves as something useful as a candle, and then again as a jar)
- Wooden items (if you happen to work with wood, same goes for metal/glass)
- Framed photograph/artwork