Once every 5 years, I give only gifts that are home made. Since I crochet and knit and do plastic canvas, that's what it usually is. This year, I crocheted lapghans for everyone in the family. One year I sent out things I had made from plastic canvas. One year, I sent out all handmade Christmas ornaments (25 each). Another year it was tree skirts.
Depending on what type of thing interests you, the ideas are limitless. I knew one lady who made beaded ornaments one year. Another latch-hooked small rugs. One friend who was a fantastic photographer, took some beautiful pictures of things that each family was interested in (in my case he sent a gorgeous collage of wildlife around his area since I'm an animal fanatic). He sent them rolled up to save on shipping costs, but frames can be found easily.
Just the idea that it's home made makes it so much more special. And by doing it only every 5 years, then I'm not rushing all through every year trying to get things made. This way I can take my time deciding what to make and getting it made just the way I want it for that family or person.
By cricketnc from Parkton, NC
It's nice to do crafts but the purpose of giving is to do something nice for the recipient; not to do what interests you.
Homemade is great but again, personal to the recipient is what makes gifts special.
If everyone on your list loves the crafts you want to do; that's great but odds are that won't happen.
Hmm... I can't think of anyone I know who wouldn't treasure a handmade gift. (Well, maybe one spoiled-rotten grandson!) And if you'll notice, in the original post, the talented friend took the recipients' interests into account when creating the gift, so it was very much personalized. My mother regularly made or bartered for handmade gifts for her children and grandchildren. One year she embroidered, another knit, another crocheted. She knit me a small afghan while I was in the hospital after a serious car wreck in 2003. It is currently hanging on the back of my easy chair and I proudly tell anyone who asks, "My mommy made that for me." One year she simply bought inexpensive sweatshirts and enhanced the existing images with fabric paint. I think I discarded one when it got tattered, but the other is still with me. I'm glad. I think of her every time I wear it.
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If you're a crafty person, why not make most if not all of your gifts. Not only will you be saving lots of money, time, and gasoline (searching for that "right" gift), chances are your recipient will love and cherish your homemade gift much more, as it will be made with love.
By Terri H.
Editor's Note: The key to doing this is starting early. If you start working on Christmas gifts early, you can not only save money at Christmas time, but enjoy it more.
I totally agree its far more thoughtful to make your gifts. (05/03/2005)