It seems the second Halloween is over, the winter holiday season has begun. Seriously, as I write this, I got a holiday themed pop-up ad!
Red and green pops of colors become more and more prominent on your errands and screens. Before it’s even half way through November, you may even hear Christmas music. It’s only going to get louder as it gets colder.
It’s a cheerful time. But it’s also STRESSFUL! For me personally, its stressful because of money. It’s hard to budget how much to spend for each gift.
And when I start to try to align my ethics with my gift giving- it’s only more difficult. How do you encourage conscious living, and ethics when everywhere you look, there’s encouragement to consume, buy and waste?
One of the things that helps me ignore all the advertisements and pressure is by giving handmade gifts. I write about why I think handmade gifts are better gifts here. I know sometimes we may not have the time to make a bunch of gifts. That’s why in this list, I wanted to offer different kinds of handmade gifts you can consider!
These ideas all range in their prices and time so hopefully there’s something practical for everybody here!
1. Craft Your Gifts
This is harder to do if you’re behind in the gift buying season and your holiday is already close. But there are affordable, easy crafts you can come up with when time is a concern. One suggestion is coming up with a vegan soup kits. You just layer vegan bouillon cubes, beans you can buy in bulk, spices and herbs, and whatever else your recipe calls for (such as noodles) in a mason jar. You can print some cooking instructions and tie a cute bow around it.
I started to learn crochet specifically for the purpose of crafting crochet items through the year for the holiday gifting season. It takes care a lot of my gift shopping because it’s mostly done already by the time the holiday season rolls around! People love it because it feels so personal and special to receive something handmade.
2. Frame Pictures
Frames can be found in wildly different price points (from $1 at Dollar Tree and up). To find more sustainable frames, you could look on Google or Etsy for repurposed, vintage or handmade frames. I’d even suggest searching Facebook or Craigslist for preowned picture frames.
You could get your pictures printed through multiple sources- some services will print pictures selected directly from your Instagram account. You could also digitally send your pictures to your local pharmacy if they offer that service.
3. Bake Your Gifts
People love baked goods- no matter how loudly they may complain about their diet! Cookies, breads, chocolate covered pretzels or strawberries, and candies can all range in its expense and ease of cooking. You could pick 3 simple recipes and get them all made in one or two evenings. Again, it’s one of those things that feels extra special to people because its handmade!
4. Donate in Someone’s Name
Now I know this isn’t technically “handmade” but hear me out. Donating in someone’s name to an active charity that works in their community to me has the same __ as giving handmade gifts. For one, local charities often are actively improving their communities.
One favorite charity I’ll mention is the Food Empowerment Project. They are an amazing organization that works to empower consumers in making smarter purchases (particularly with chocolate), educating people about our food systems and chocolate slave labor and helping America’s food workers. Just this Fall, they gave children of food laborer’s backpacks for school.
This isn’t handmade items but its work done by hand.
5. Gift Experiences
I know, this is another cheat. But hear me out again! So many experiences you can find on sites like Groupon or local services offer the chance to craft. So instead of giving a handmade gift, you could give someone the opportunity to make something handmade themselves! There’s a lot of wine and canvas, mosaic classes and other similar fun classes you can sign someone up for.
6. Support Makers and Creatives
You don’t have to give something you made yourself- after all, it DOES take time and money. Sometimes, we don’t have that time or the emotional energy to learn new crafts. So my favorite suggestion on this list is to consider buying handmade gifts from other creatives. It gives your special someone something sentimental and gives the artist a chance to be paid and appreciated for their work. It’s all the benefits of something handmade by you but giving someone else that chance for appreciation.
Handmade gifts are such a great way to give someone something totally unique and one of a kind.
For example, you will never find a jean jacket like this in your local store. It’s a jacket I found at my thrift store. I upcycled it with embroidery. Where can you find another customized, eco-friendly jean jacket for the BTS fan in your life? It’s one of a kind and going to be a gift they’ll treasure.
Or, you may find a smaller gift such as my silk hand band is just perfect for your friend. Silk headbands are trending heavily this year. They are practically a luxury item everyone’s gotta have. How cool is it to give someone a beautiful silk headband that is made from a thrown away men’s ties. It’s a cool story they’ll be able to share when they’re out getting compliments on it.