Every year when Christmas time rolls around there comes the eternal question. What do I get insert name here for Christmas this year. In times of economic uncertainty, it becomes even more difficult. You want to get them something nice, but times are tight. It may be that you have that one member of the family that you just can’t afford to get them what you really want to get them this year, or perhaps it’s a favorite teacher or friend that you just can’t justify spending a huge sum of money on but you’d like to give them something heartfelt and personal. Fortunately, in our family we have members with an abundance of talent, quilters, bakers, artists, writers, we run the gamut. So, that tends to make it easier to create handmade gifts for family and friends at the time of the year when the family budget runs tightest.
Most people are far too modest when assessing their own ability to be creative. Even people who rate themselves as having no talent at all can make something beautiful that will hold great sentimental value for someone when given as a gift. Here are some ideas of things you can make this holiday season which cost little to make but can be a big hit with family, friends or acquaintances.
For the family cook – Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a rock star chef to create sweet or savory treats for holiday gift giving. There are easy to follow recipes all over from cookbooks to the internet on how to bake cookies like shortbread, chocolate chip or oatmeal. Pack these up in plastic bags and place in inexpensive tins from the dollar store. Tie them up with a pretty ribbon, and presto, you have a thoughtful handmade treat that people think you spent a lot of time and thought on. Alternatively, you can do a flavorful popcorn medley with caramel, chili or cheese, or perhaps try peanut brittle or fudge.
Are you a writer, photographer or artist – A meaningful poem of short verse about how much a certain someone means to you, printed on quality stock paper, framed and suitable for hanging can be a powerful symbol of your love. In situations where you’re looking for something to get for that someone who has everything, this just might do the trick, even if you are not pressed for cash. If writing is not your thing, then a photograph, painting or drawing can be just as touching. Have the kids dress up and pose around the Christmas tree, then give the framed photo as a gift for Grandma or Auntie, or sketch a scene that reminds them of a happy place from their past.
Maybe woodworking is your game – Print out simple print art patterns from the Internet and allow your scroll saw to turn plain old craft wood into holiday ornaments. The possibilities are endless. Snowmen, Christmas trees, angels, even a fancy menorah for Hanukkah, painted with some acrylic paint, all would be suitable for hanging from a tree or mantelpiece.
Sewing anyone – A table runner, wall hanging or tree skirt made from leftover or scrap material you may have lying around can brighten anyone’s holiday home. All it takes is a bit of imagination. Don’t sell yourself short. Examples of folk art like this fetches top dollar at home décor establishments, yet you can make it yourself for a fraction of the cost and bask in the compliments you’re sure to get from the recipient – and all of her houseguests.
Naturally, you are not limited to these suggestions, and I would urge you to come up with some of your own unique ideas on how to create personalized, crafty gifts such as scrapbooks, leather work or embellished apparel. In addition to saving money, giving gifts like these tend to bring the real meaning of the holidays back into focus. It’s all about family and spirituality and giving something of ourselves. How better to do that than by giving a gift that is truly a part of us.