A Handmade Christmas
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, filled with many ways to ruin your annual budget. Personally, I really love to go to a store and be surrounded by new, clean products that haven't been opened yet. I love looking at something on a shelf and thinking about how one of my friends might like it. I find everything I think I want, and then I get to the register and the total price is staggering, but I think, these are all things that I think my friends and family would like, so it's worth it. Then I get home, open my bags and I think, "Is that all I got? I thought there was more."
This year, just before Thanksgiving, I lost my job. Luckily, my fiancé has one that pays well, so we can still pay the bills, but it definitely made the idea of Christmas shopping terrifying. We decided that it was simply not in our budget to go out and buy the kind of presents we had gotten last year, so we started thinking about make presents. Basically, this means that I've been scouring Pinterest for good present ideas every night. Pinterest really is a wonderful tool when you're looking for craft ideas. I highly recommend it.
When planning out how you're going to make presents, you have to first think about what you have on hand. If you go out and buy a lot of crafting supplies, you're not really saving money, are you? For me, this mainly consisted of paper (I'm a paper hoarder), watercolor paints, and yarn. If you enjoy baking and you have a lot of baking supplies on hand, maybe it would make more sense for you to bake cookies. If you're a sewer, you can sew a lot of presents with the odds and ends of fabric that you have (don't lie, you know you have some).
Once you've pinpointed what supplies you have, you need to think about what gifts you want to make. This is my favorite part of handmade Christmas presents: you have the opportunity to really think about what your friends and family need. Here's what I came up with for my gifts:
- For my cousin in the National Guard: I made a personalized stationery set. We used to write letters to each other as kids, so I figured she'd appreciate the memory. She's also being deployed in January, so she wouldn't be able to use any clothing or jewelry for a year.
- For my friend from high school: I made an arm-knitted scarf, because she's always telling me how cold she is. This scarf was really easy to make and only took me half an hour or so. The video is super helpful!
- For my artsy traveling friend in Asia: I made a little sketchbook and painted to cover with a quote that references her love for new places. She recently started sketching, so I figured she'd like a portable sketchbook. I happen to have a binding machine, so this came together very quickly.
- For my parents and brother: I made hand-painted calendars. I gave them enough art for their walls while I was in college, so I decided to put together something that they could use every day.
- For my nephew: I made edible play dough. He's only 2, so I knew it had to be something that would appeal to his senses while being safe (because he still wants to eat everything!).
Maybe the most important thing to remember before you commit yourself to making Christmas presents, is that they will take time to make. Some projects can come together easily, but others may take several hours to put together. Don't be discouraged if a project takes longer than you expected it to. It'll be worth it in the end!
This is not an exhaustive list, but it might give you a few ideas to get started.
- Cookies in a Jar
- Baked Clay Ornaments (image only)
- Peppermint Fudge
- Salted Caramel Sauce
- Paint Dipped Wooden Spoons
- Arm-Knit Infinity Scarf
- Crochet Hat
- Coffee Cozy
- Fingerless Gloves
- Here's a website with multiple knit gift patterns
- Key Holder
- Recycled Palette Furniture
- Shutter Mail Organizer
- Tablet/Recipe Book Holder
- Building Block Candle Holder
For more ideas, search on Google or Pinterest. Remember to limit your searches to what supplies you already have on hand, or your Christmas could get more expensive than you planned. Have fun!