I love Christmas. I love Christmas music, and decorated trees, and people being just a little bit kinder to one another. I like the yummy food and seeing friends and family. And while I do, of course, like receiving gifts, I really like giving gifts. In particular, I like giving gifts that are well-received and liked by the recipients. We have a heck of a gift-giving list, one that gets larger every year as more family and friends have kids. Dave and I tend to be generous when it comes to gift-giving, because we like to use gift opportunities to let people know how much we love them. This year is going to be a bit of a struggle, though. The freelance business is picking up, but it’s still new – less than a year old, really – and we have nowhere near the same income we had at this time last year. This leads me to start thinking about something I haven’t done in a very long time – making homemade gifts.
To be fair, it’s not just the money. We’ve also been feeling lately all too…commercial. We don’t feel we need anything else in the whole world – no more junk to enjoy for a moment and then try to find a place to store it. No more contributions to giant evil corporations than is necessary. And it seems like that’s probably true for most of the people in our lives – they also don’t need a whole lot more…crap. I have a feeling we’ll also be giving to charity in the name of others and buying more locally this year, and while I’m sure we’ll certainly spend some on mega-corporation-generated stuff, we’re going to make a concerted effort to cut down. Homemade gifts will contribute on that front as well.
Here’s the trouble, for me, with homemade gifts – we’re not terribly crafty people. I don’t even own a hot glue gun (or a sewing machine, and I don’t crochet or knit either), and we have only the most basic of tools. We’re pretty good at cooking, but we’re not very experienced at the kind of cooking that makes for good gifts, like canning and pickling and jamming and preserving (also, we have little to no storage space to hold such things until the time comes to give them out). Plus, the last time I did this, buying all the ingredients and containers to wrap everything prettily took almost as much money as just buying presents outright. So I’ve been trying to do some research on cheap and easy homemade gifts. The Martha (as my friend Jen calls her), has tons of ideas, but very few of them are both cheap and easy. There are lots of blogs out there that have ideas and recipes, and a few of them will definitely make it onto my list.
I don’t want to give away specifics of things we’re planning to make, because I don’t want to spoil any surprises for readers who will also be receiving gifts from us, but I did want to share a few of the places I’ve found good ideas in my research.
- List of 40 Homemade Gifts from the Kitchen
- Goodhousekeeping’s Easy DIY Christmas Crafts
- Get Rich Slowly’s A Do-It-Yourself Christmas
- Tip Junkie’s Homemade Christmas Gift Posts
- Semicolon’s list of 100+ Homemade Christmas Gifts for the Craft-Impaired
- The Martha’s Santa’s Workshop series (Note: there are TONS of ideas represented here. The link for the “gifts for her” has 82 ideas all by itself – and that’s just one category of many.)
So those are sites where I’ve gotten a lot of ideas, but I’m still totally open to suggestions. Anyone have any great homemade gifts ideas you like that take little time, skill, space, and money?