It’s the month of Christmas, guys! Are you anywhere near ready? I have some presents still to buy, but to be honest, I might start planning one Christmas before the current one is over. Love of holidays? Crazy organization? Awareness of a budget? Maybe one, two, or all three things—maybe even a few more!—but the bottom line is that a good chunk of my Christmas shopping is finished. Yay, me!
I’m not so naïve as to think that’s the case across the board though! In fact, someone might be thinking, “Yeah, I need to work on that shopping list…” while reading this post. If that’s the case, stick around! I have some tips coming up that you might find useful!
Make it personal
In my experience, gift-giving can go best when you really think about the person instead of how much you want to spend or how impressive other people might find the gift. Example: My mom had been saying for years that she wanted a certain record—yes, record!—and one year it occurred to me that buying her said record could be a good idea. Why hadn’t I thought of it before? Maybe I was caught up on the it-has-to-be-new concept for a Christmas present? I’m not sure. Long story short though, I bought a used record online for about $10, give or take, and I don’t know that I’d ever seen my mom so happy opening a present.
If you think outside of the box instead of putting a series of labels on what you’re supposed to buy, it opens a door to a category of gift that will be the focus of this post: homemade. Who says you can’t give someone something you made yourself? Sure, you might not have bought it in a store, but you took the time to craft it with your own hands! Not only can it be a beautiful gift, but there’s a sentimentality to it that might be harder to achieve from something store-bought.
Still, as with store-bought gifts, it pays to think about what you’ll craft instead of flippantly deciding on something. With that in mind, here are a few tips for any of you who want to change up some of your I-need-to-buy-a-present items to I-think-I’ll-make-something choices, specifically gifts that need a needle and thread to create:
- Know your recipient! This could be key no matter if it’s store-bought or homemade. If you have an idea of the recipient’s personality, you could find it easier to plan your gift. Your friend who loves rockabilly, for instance, might love a purse made from material with a 50’s theme! Is another friend’s kitchen decorated in sunflowers? Then maybe a table runner made with sunflower-based fabric could be an option! If you can tailor your gift for the person you plan to give it to, the level of appreciation that person has might seriously increase!
- Manage your time. This one might be something to keep in mind for next year since Christmas is so near! But if you decide that homemade gifts are the way to go, don’t underestimate the idea of pacing yourself! Working on a dozen gifts in three weeks might be hectic. Deciding in January that you want to do homemade gifts for that year’s Christmas though would let you space your work out over months—and trust me when I say that pacing yourself can be a WONDERFUL idea!
- Consider your budget. Just because it’s homemade doesn’t mean it won’t cost some money! Sure, there are cheaper homemade options than making curtains, quilts, or clothing, but I’m talking about sewing here! Once upon a time, I decided I was going to make my mom a homemade quilt, and I might have ended up spending more on the supplies than I would’ve spent on a store-bought item. But I had a certain fabric I wanted to use, and it required more panels than I thought it would… The bottom line is you shouldn’t assume homemade automatically equals cheap, so if you need to work within a budget, still consider that budget! Should you realize the supplies you need for your projects are going to run too high, tinker with your ideas. Is there a different fabric you can use that’s cheaper, but still a good option? Can you scale it back—maybe make a throw instead of a full-sized quilt? A beauty of crafting your own gifts is that you can make those kinds of calls because it’s your creation!
- Browse. You might not be window shopping, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look for ideas online! Pinterest is a clear example of a place to find those ideas. In fact, I was inspired while writing this post, and you can now find my “Homemade Gift Ideas” board here! Even running a Google search can help you get the creative ball rolling by giving concepts that you can alter and tailor to your gift-giving wants. Though the overall idea might have come from someone else, the details—what fabric, what color, what size—can still come from you! You can find a series of sewn gift ideas here ! FYI, I love the cross-stitching lyrics one!