The holidays are upon us again; for many, that means fretting over finding the perfect gift for everyone on the gift list. This year, forget the iPads and Keurig coffee brewers and consider a handmade holiday.
I dare you to find one person on your list who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive a handmade gift from you (well, maybe not the guy who posted that meme on Facebook that reads, “Homemade gifts are the perfect way to say I’ve got lots more time than money.” Get that guy a gift card). And yes, even if you are craft-challenged. Because the gifts can be handcrafted by your hands … or by someone else’s.
Make It Yourself
Even at this late date, if you keep your ideas simple, you can give handmade gifts. I recently whipped up a batch of peppermint sugar scrub that took literally five minutes to make, yet, packaged in pretty jars with some ribbon and homemade labels, makes a lovely gift. Do you still need a little something for your child’s teacher or your favorite librarian? You can find step-by-step instructions for making the scrub on my blog.
And you can’t go wrong with food. Got a crabby grandpa that hates every gift you give him? I bet he wouldn’t say no to some decadent fruit- and nut-laden chocolate candy bark. And I bet you wouldn’t say no to making it when you find out how easy it is (the recipe is on my blog): if you can boil water and wield a knife, you’re all set. At this point, you’re practically Harry & David.
Let’s say you’re not quite Harry & David. Maybe you’re more like the Harry & David catalog. You can still give handmade by shopping handmade. If you’re as fortunate as I am to live here in Vermont, you can barely take a step without finding a handmade gift.
Shop your local main street: no matter what town you live in, you’re sure to find an art or craft gallery selling beautiful wares from local artisans. I have stopped more times than I care to count into Frog Hollow — a Vermont State Craft Center — in Burlington to find a special gift for someone and have never been disappointed.
No gallery in town? Online craft emporiums such as etsy.com can put you in touch with more artisans than you knew existed, from the local to the international, without even having to set foot out of your front door. Try qualifying your search for artisans by state to give your gift more local flair. Or simply shop the Vermont Life Catalog. I bought a beautiful set of luminaries from the catalog as a gift; knowing that they were handcrafted in my home state will make them that much more meaningful to the recipient.
And don’t forget local craft fairs, which are abundant during the holidays. You may not be crafty, but plenty of your neighbors are, and they’d love sell you a hand-knit hat, a fetching little apron, a polished wooden bowl, some silver jewelry or delicious maple products — and your family, friends or mail carrier would be even more delighted to receive them.
It’s not too late: happy handmade holiday to you!