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Christmas Gift Ideas - Learn something new, give yourself

Updated on January 12, 2012

Don't Panic!

Are you planning Christmas on a wing and a prayer?  Just a little money to go around?  It seems that every year it gets harder and harder to have a ‘good’ Christmas with the cost of living rising and the pay either staying the same or getting lower.  (Some folks have had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs)

I’m right there with you!  My family has been growing so rapidly it’s hard to keep up with the gift giving.  I’ve went from 7 to buy for to 21 in a matter of 3 years.  Panic during Christmas has become part of my every day feelings.

I decided about a month ago that I didn’t want to panic anymore. 

I’d been writing about 2 Hubs per day, just putting out my thoughts and I decided I needed to take a bit of a break from that to get creative!

I’m a fairly creative person from time to time.  I do needle work, cook, bake and things such as that.  Over the years I’ve collected yarn, material and different things to get ‘crafty’ with. 

YouTube has the answers!!

So on the spur of the moment I got out my needles and began.  On the internet there is an abundance of different patterns to do.  I like quick and easy things, that way I can make more.  So that’s exactly what I did!

When my Mother passed away she left me with all of her crochet hooks and knitting needles.  Some of which I had no idea how to use them!  I knew the names of them of course because she had told me.  She just never showed me how to use them, or even what they were used for. 

Off to YouTube I went, just to see what I could see.  WOW, did I learn a lot!  There are so many tutorials on YouTube that even the most un-learned individual can get a grasp of! 

You don’t even have to know how, there are people out there willing to teach you.  I’ve known how to crochet and knit for years, the toughest patterns passing me by.  Not any more, I can do anything!


I learned how to Tat, something that I have wanted to learn for years.  Mom always had a tatting shuttle in her collection of things.  She had never learned how to Tat, though her Mother did (my Grandma).  Now I know how not only to shuttle Tat, but needle Tat as well.  After Christmas I’m planning on some good projects with that!  Tatting is delicate work that can use thread all the way up to yarn, whatever the tatter decides to use.  The beauty of tatting is it uses just 2 basic ‘stitches’ to make everything.  It’s the way you put them together that makes things look different.

Afghan Hook

In Moms knitting needle box was an ‘Afghan Hook’ of which I never learned how to use.  Or in other words ‘Tunisian stitch’ is what is made with this, and there are several different outcomes to the stitch.  These are beautiful stitches that combines knitting and crocheting and when finished is absolutely beautiful.  So now I have made a few things with these beautiful stitches that some lucky recipient will receive.  I’ve decided I like using the Tunisian Stitch not only for it’s beauty but it goes very fast!  I can have several projects finished in one day using this technique.

Broomstick Lace

Broomstick Lace

I even learned how to make Broomstick Lace! That is also a combination of knitting and crocheting, well in a sense. I should do the history on it, I can almost bet the ‘creator’ of Broomstick lace used a broomstick rather than a very large knitting needle. When finished it is light and airy and very beautiful!

I will be using this stitch very soon!

Leave something of yourself behind

All yarn or thread work is essentially putting together a series of loops in different ways, using different tools for the trade.  It’s not nearly as frightening as one who has never picked up a needle thinks.  With YouTube those nice people who give detailed instructions make it easy!  Give it a try, make something for someone as a gift! 

I have doilies that were made by my Grandma years ago.  She passed in 1972 so you can only imagine how old they really are.  They are still in great condition and in use in my home.  They’ve become an heirloom.  I have many things that were made by my Mother who passed in 2006 that are still in good use.  So essentially I still have a piece of them that were left to me. 

Now thread work may not be to your liking, I know I have a difficult time seeing the delicate stitches.  This doesn’t mean I can’t leave a piece of myself behind.  Those baby booties or mittens that are so tiny now will fit perfectly in the baby book!  See, you can create memories and leave something behind.

Painting - Drawing - Photo Art

For those of you who refuse to pick up a needle and make something with loops, maybe painting or drawing is something you like to do.  Who wouldn’t love a hand painted or drawn picture?  Even photographic art work is something to behold!  If you by chance have a really nice picture or someone or something that you’d like to share, have it enlarged and put it into a lovely frame.


For those of you on HubPages that have the gift of gab, a story or poem that you have written specifically for someone can mean the world to them.  Put in a nice frame where it can be proudly displayed it will be given a place of honor in someone’s home.

Cooking and Baking

Everyone loves baked gifts.  Making small size sweet breads, cookies, or candy, you can have lots of gifts to give everyone who passes through your door!  Going to the dollar store getting small baskets or large plates you can arrange them prettily on the plate and with clear wrap and a bow it can be secured on the plate for travel.

There are tons of recipes out there for giving at Christmas time, depending on what you like to make from cookies to breads to no-bakes, even microwave candy!  So using the excuse that you can’t bake won’t work!  If you are known to not cook or bake, then this will be a super special gift of yourself.  Why?  Because you took enough time for that special someone(s) to learn how to cook or bake and give them a special gift.

Give part of yourself!

I’m not what you would call a ‘Material Girl’ (sorry Madonna) and don’t get me wrong, I do love really expensive gifts.  BUT when someone gives me something they made by hand, I’m in a special place.  It means they’ve given me something of themselves.  Not only their time and talent but a piece of themselves.  Each piece that is baked, knitted, crocheted, Tatted, Plastic Canvassed,  painted, sketched or written is part of the maker.

Gift giving doesn’t have to be materialistic, yes it’s great to buy something for someone that costs an arm and a leg.  But in the long run will they remember who bought it for them?  Christmas is the time for giving, but no one ever says giving what.  Make this year a gift of yourself! 


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks!! Give you any ideas?

    • daydreamer13 profile image

      daydreamer13 6 years ago

      Great hub!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Great ideas for inexpensive Christmas gifts - but you have to get started way ahead of time. I have seen little doilies made into adorable Christmas ornaments just by spraying them with tons of starch. They look like snow flakes!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Honestly Dave, I like to give gifts to my friends as well as family and I try to put a little Love into each item I create.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      At Christmas, as with most of the year my wife and I are together but alone. Our families are so far apart from us now. For US Lyn and myself exchanging gifts is a thing of the past, and since Christmas is all about love, whe share that on a daily basis, so our christmas is spent serving God in service.

      Brother Dave.

    • sameerk profile image

      sameerk 7 years ago from India

      very nice loved it

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      susie - I wish you good luck on your new project and good fortune, too, just to cover all the bases.

      With reference to the cross-stitched toilet seat cover that my loving daughter created for me, it was a much better choice than a cross-stitched toiled seat - too humid and sticky in my sub-tropical neighborhood. :)

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Oh boy is it easy!!! There are many stitches that you can learn to go along with it once you have mastered the 'basic' stitch. There is a left handed tutorial out there too!! I was amazed when I seen it. There is just about anything out there you can watch to do. I think YouTube must have something similar to Google Adsense, people might get paid to upload, not sure I haven't checked it out yet.

      Not only does it mean more, most of the time it lasts longer than store bought... LOL

      Thanks for Stopping by and commenting!

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      This is a very interesting hub. I didn't realise there were so many tutorials on YouTube. I have often wondered about afghan crochet. It looks so easy, I may even try it. I used to knit a lot but don't have much time nowadays. But it is true, that a gift made by you has more value than one bought.


    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      LOL!! I too go a little overboard when I learn something new. Hmm, cross stitch toilet seat cover... Does she do mail order? Think of the comfort to be had in the winter!! Ooo wait, you didn't say actual toilet seat... darn.. Mom used to do lots of cross stitch stuff, she gave my sister in law all of her Christmas cross stitch villages (they have music boxes in them)

      I bet she could make a cross stitch brief case!! LOL Wow, GO DAUGHTER!!!

      Working on a brand new project today.. Hope it turns out well... Wish me luck!!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      What great suggestions for Christmas gifts, susie. I have always appreciated the things that others give me that are handmade, knowing it took time, effort and some affection to create them.

      For example, my daughter recently learned how to cross-stitch. Now I have a cross-stitched coin purse, a cross-stitched eyeglass case, a cross-stitched key holder, a cross-stitched cellphone case, a cross-stitched wallet, a cross-stitched evening bag, a cross-stitched picture (framed), a cross-stitched pillow, and a cross-stitched toilet seat cover.

      I think she is now working on a cross-stitched briefcase. :)

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      I spent (out of entire life) 2 Christmases away from home... They were the worst Christmases ever. I don't think I could go away anymore at Christmas time. I love it when family comes to visit. I don't care if everyone is sleeping on top of one another.... A few days of inconvenience to me is worth every minute!!

      The beauty is everyone has differences and that's what makes the world go round!!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • profile image

      Makingsense 7 years ago

      Thanks for the hub. It's not for everyone, but our family decided several to not give gifts except for our kids. It's been liberating. This year my wife and I are going to Palm Springs for the holidays so our Southern California relatives will be visiting us. That's the best gift of all!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • howcurecancer profile image

      Elena@LessIsHealthy 7 years ago

      Very interesting! A small treasure.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      I Love the things my Mom and Grandma made too! I'm hoping that the stuff I made will be enjoyed by all! You Tube is GREAT!! I've learned so much from it!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 7 years ago from USA

      I treasure things that were made by my mother and grandmother, and I love making things for my children and grandchildren. I never thought of YouTube, either. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      LOL, I've been trying to figure out how to write this without giving away too many of my secrets so I could post it on facebook as well. All of my family knows I do needle work, just not what! LOL I'm evil teasing them this way... But to me, that's the fun of the Holiday's, the suspense.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you for this Hub. Although I love YouTube, I didn't realize all of that was out there. I understand your "project" comments now. :0) I agree with you about gifts from the heart. The baking idea is one I use too, the cheap holiday containers at Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, make any home baked goods look beautiful. Great Hub. Voted up and shared