It’s official: the holidays are here. No matter what you’re celebrating, chances are you feel some pressure to do a bit of decorating and give some gifts. Rather than head to the big box store for impersonal gifts and decorations, why not try out some handmade alternatives this year?
Gifts and decor you make yourself are often less expensive and always have much more heart than something you picked up at the mall. If you’re not the crafty type, you can still add a handmade touch to the holidays by pledging to buy handmade this season. When you buy from an independent artist or crafter, you’re helping directly support their art!
I know, when you think of handmade gifts you picture tea cozies and horrible Christmas sweaters. Handmade gifts actually don’t have to be that intricate or that hokey.
You can put together pretty, layered dry soup mixes in a mason jar, for example. Just layer the beans, spices, and grains, and tie some bakers twine around the neck of the jar with a list of wet ingredients and cooking instructions. We get so many tchotchkes over the holidays, many of your giftees will appreciate something so personal and practical. Plus, once they’ve made the soup, that mason jar has a million different uses!
Homemade bath products are another simple, handmade holiday gift option. From scrubs to bath salts, you can whip these up in big batches, then give them out in pretty, reusable containers. Easy peasy, and not at all cheesy!
If you’re not into making gifts yourself, it’s so easy to shop for handmade presents. Whether you prefer to shop online or in person, there are tons of handmade holiday resources available from craft markets and pop up shops to sites like Etsy.
>>Next: Handmade Decorations
This is another area where you can opt to make or opt to shop. Making ornaments and garland is a fun activity to do with friends and with your kids.
For kids, you might try something simple and classic, like a cranberry and popcorn garland. The only other things you need are a needle and thread. Kids will love deciding what to string next and hanging their creation in a doorway or on the tree.
You can even put your friends and family to work! At your next holiday party, try setting up a craft station with supplies for making decorations, and let folks have at it. Crafts are a great ice breaker, and you’ll be left with unique decorations that stir up lovely holiday memories. Stock the table with supplies like: reclaimed cardboard, wine corks, permanent markers, glitter, glue, googly eyes, string, needles and thread, vintage buttons, and ribbon. It’s fun to see what folks create!
If you prefer to buy handmade, Etsy is a fabulous resource. I searched “holiday decoration” and came up with over 100,000 options! You can also hunt for handmade decorations at craft markets and shops that sell handmade wares. Artists will often create holiday decorations just for the season.
Soup Mix. Photo by Becky Striepe
Handmade Bunting. Creative Commons photo by stampinmom