Homemade, Handcrafted Gifts
As the holidays approach, the hustle to find perfect gifts on a budget can be overwhelming and stressful. Sometimes we need a little help finding the right present--especially for our trendy friends. One great solution is to give unique and handmade gifts. Whether made with your own hands or somebody else’s, homemade gifts tend to be more heartfelt and personal. Plus, you might just discover a new hobby along the way.
Jewelry is an easy-to-make handmade gift. With simple supplies from your local craft store, bracelets or necklaces customized to your friends’ style will be remembered for a long time. Hand stamped jewelry pieces with names or relationship statuses are great ways to show your sentimentality. They’ll be sure to think of you and your connection every time they wear it. This activity can be completed in only an hour or two.
If you have a little more time on your hands there are so many great fabric and knit projects to take on. As the New England winter approaches, there’s always space in our wardrobes for extra scarves or hats. Even if you aren’t a knitting master, there’s simple tutorials online to help. For a no sew no stress option, consider making some blanket scarfs. All you need is about 1.5-2 yards of your favorite flannel fabric and a pair of scissors. Trim the fabric to your desired width, a cut right in half should work for a basic scarf. Fray the long edges of the material, an optional seam ripper makes this a bit easier. Then, fray the two ends of your scarf by pulling at the threads and twisting them together. Once finished with your scarf, especially those in a plaid pattern, on trend for fall/winter, making them perfect to give all your fashion-forward friends.
Beauty products are also a great staple. They show you care, but can be easily made in bulk if you have more than one friend to gift to. Warm bath in the middle of winter are always a great de-stressor, so a homemade bath bomb can be the perfect present. You can also make small batches of soaps, lotions, and scrubs. This may require investing in some fragrance oils, but any leftovers can be used later in other homemade projects or even for at-home use with a diffuser.
If you really don’t have the time to make your own gifts consider shopping locally or at a small business. Attend a local market or craft fair such as the JP Crafts Fair, Old South Church Christmas Fair, or the SoWa Winter Festival. Etsy, a popular internet marketplace, has tons of great options if you want to shop online. Check out andMorgan’s shop for adorable screen printed items designed and produced in Connecticut. Or, pick out the perfect enamel pin for your best friend from sweetandlovely, with options ranging from Michelle Obama 2020 to an adorable “sass the patriarchy” banner pin.
Potion: handcrafted elixirs, an all natural skincare line based out of Providence, runs an active Etsy shop. The brand created by two friends and former roommates,Katie Bouchard and Viana Newton, was featured this summer at the Providence Flea. They create all natural products including body scrubs, toners, and even perfumes. The duo tries their best to locally source their ingredients and have even collaborated with local coffee company, The Nitro Cart, to create their Nitro Coffee eye serum and Nitro Coffee Scrub. Bouchard says that they’ve found a community in many other local artisans and plan to attend several of this year’s local holiday markets.
The pair believes in the importance of shopping local and supporting small businesses. “Every dollar really does count to people who are running a little business,” says Newton, “buying just one product from a small business can make a big difference.” Not only are you giving quality gifts when you shop local or handmade, but you’re helping your local economy and can be confident in knowing your money is going to real people, instead of large corporations.
When looking for a present for a special someone or loved one, don’t be scared to try out a new craft or experiment creatively. Putting in the effort to make something homemade or supporting a local business shows how much you care. You don’t have to break the bank to give a great gift. Find the sorts of craft projects that work for you and that you enjoy making. While experimenting, you might even pick up a new, unexpected hobby or start a new holiday tradition.
Photo by: Nick Chambers