Whether you knit, crochet, scrapbook, do decorative painting, cross stitch, do origami, make jewelry, or (insert your craft here), chances are that you give handmade gifts. Although you may save some money by making the item, you still want to know that the recipient will appreciate your gift and use it instead of sticking the item in a box that ends up in the closet or attic.
You may have heard “horror” stories from the crafter who spends hours planning and making a gift, buying the best quality supplies, because the item is for a special person in the crafter’s life. And, then, the receiver of the gift doesn’t realize what went into creating the item and what was supposed to be a cherished keepsake ends up being gnawed on by a dog, toddler, or insects.
Give a Useful Gift
Scarves, hat and glove sets, dishcloths, decorated picture frames, etc. all fall into the “useful” category. Whatever your craft, consider making and giving items that can get used. Bonus points to you if you first consider the needs of the recipient.
Your friend with allergies may not be all that excited with the scented soaps or candles you’ve made for them. And your sibling who lives in the city in an apartment with a modern style won’t know what to do with the granny square afghan you devoted hours to making.
Give a Holiday-Themed Gift
Go beyond Christmas stockings and ornaments and consider holidays such as Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, etc. Okay, you might not want to give a Halloween decoration for Christmas, but you can give holiday-themed items during that holiday or for the recipient’s birthday if it is close to a holiday.
Because an item is connected to a holiday the recipient can bring it out for a few weeks and then put it away without feeling guilty for not putting the item on display 24/7. Unless someone has requested a particular item, keep things small. A ceramic Christmas tree that requires its own tabletop may end up competing with favorite holiday decoration that someone already owns.
Give a Handmade Gift to Others
If you love making knotted blankets or crocheted hats but everyone you know already has some of your handiwork, consider giving to charity. Lionbrand.com allows you to look for charities seeking items that are knit or crocheted. If you do another type of craft, contact the group to find out if an item you makes would be appreciated by the people the charity assists.
Many of the items charities seek are items that can be worn or used as opposed to things that are purely decorative. You may never know who receives an item that you’ve crafted, but you can know it will bolster someone’s spirits.
Of course, if you really love your craft, you could consider selling it at craft fairs or on Etsy. If you start browsing craft fairs or online, you’ll discover all the wonderful things people make using the skills they developed practicing their craft.
Photo by Susan Caplan McCarthy