For December, the monthly craft question was: Do you have a craft-only policy when it comes to holidays or do you sometimes buy your holiday gifts? What’s the best gift you’ve ever made for someone?
As always, we asked our favorite bloggers and designers for their input and advice.
Here’s what they had to say:
I often do both. I love making holiday gifts the best though. I would have to say the best gift I have ever made for someone was a queen size afghan. I made 2 of them and both were for my husband.
I try to make as many gifts as I can for Christmas, but teenagers aren’t always receptive to handmade gifts, so I do buy some. Last year I made ‘snuggies’ out of fleece for all the females on my list. They were very well received.
I prefer to make crafts as gifts. I find they are gifts that are treasured more so than those that are store bought, and you tend to put a lot more thought into a handmade gift (colour, taste, decor etc). It’s not always possible when you have many gifts to give, but I do it whenever I can…meaning I usually start “Christmas Shopping” in July!
Margot Potter from The Impatient Crafter
I have in past years created all handmade gifts for family and friends with custom packaging, but I’m so busy designing for a living these days that crafting in my spare time becomes overwhelming. I have made some gorgeous one of a kind pieces of jewelry for family members using special beads that I truly coveted, but it feels so good to give something you really love to someone you know will really love it too, that it supersedes the occasional crafter’s regret. These days I mostly buy gifts or gift certificates and filter my creativity into decorating and entertaining.
Tiffany Windsor from Cool2Craft
I wish I had the time for a craft-only policy for Christmas gift giving! It’s usually about half and half. I like to gather gifts throughout the year and tuck them away so that when the holidays arrive, I’m mostly done with my shopping! I don’t know that I have a favorite project that I have made but hand-made is BY FAR the BEST! I can tell you the best gift I have ever received was from my mother Aleene who unknown to us took a porcelain painting class and gave each of her daughters these beautiful tiny hand-painted porcelain bells. Momma Aleene never had much time to sit down and craft since she was so busy running her businesses so for her to take the time to make these hand-mades was the best gift EVER!
Jane Skoch from Maiden Jane
As a crafter, I have the overwhelming desire to make a handmade gift for everyone on my list. However, to decrease the stress of the holidays, I pick and choose the handmade gifts and buy the rest. Whenever I can, I do a “batch” project to give to teachers, sisters, and friends. This year I made mug rugs, monogrammed mugs and hot cocoa. If I can knit small projects like hats and wrist warmers, and IF I can start in July, then I add some hand-knitted items to my list. Occasionally I have a burning desire to create a hand knitted item for someone and that will be my only knitted gift. So I guess my answer is a bit in the grey area – and also a bit haphazard – just like my crafting! This year I really wanted to try making a fabric basket, so that became the base for a coffee basket since I used a coffee sack to make it. I like to try new things and try to go where ever my creativity takes me!
Alyice Edrich from Alyice Edrich Creatives
I do not have a crafts only policy. I tend to do 50/50. I believe that a gift should fit the recipient’s tastes and preferences. I know a few people who don’t like anything crafty or artsy decorating their homes so why give them something they wouldn’t appreciate? On the other hand, I do make gifts for people whom I know will appreciate the effort behind them. I try to match colors and styles to fit their personal preferences and home decor so that a gift I create will be a welcome treat and not an “Oh that is so pretty but what am I going to do with it?” kind of thing. You know, nobody likes to be the White Elephant in the room. I think the best gift I ever created had to be the day my kids and I put together a Christmas video for my mother. We were missing her and she was missing us. It had been five years since we spent Christmas together and I wanted to do something special for her. So the kids and I decorated the house early. Then we got all dressed up and we celebrated Christmas with my mom. We read to her out of Christmas books, we opened her presents and talked into the camera as though she was in the very same room with us, we danced around the house, and we gave her a tour of the new apartment we were renting. When she received the video, she cried tears fo joy and tears of “missing you” and then showed it to everyone who stepped foot into her home that Christmas. I had no idea something so simple would touch her so profoundly, but it did. And it made my heart soar to know that that year, that handcrafted, homemade, gift was just what she needed to make Christmas feel like Christmas.
Eileen Hull from Thoughts From My Studio
I try to make all my gifts by hand but unfortunately, sometimes time runs out. I find that it’s best to pick a project that can be made assembly line style and then customize as much as possible. For example, last year I made earrings for all the girls on my list. Luckily, I have a large supply of beads on hand (!) so I was able to make them in their favorite colors. I designed a matboard folder to package them in and I think everyone was happy. I believe when you create a gift by hand, it is a statement to the recipient that they are special to you and worth going the extra mile for.
Stefi Luca from Just Chic
I started sewing and crafting at the end of last year so my first opportunity to create holiday gifts came only this Christmas. I made necklaces for my two little nieces to match the headbands I had previously given them. I will definitely continue creating gifts for the girls but I’m not sure if I’ll extend my audience. 🙂
Amy Anderson from Modge Podge Rocks!
I’m sad to say I craft too much for my blog and not enough for other people! I try to make gifts when I can, but I have resorted to store-bought. I did Mod Podge a gnome birdhouse for my parents’ for Christmas. It’s one of my favorite gifts I’ve made, and they loved it too!
Michael Sellick from The Crochet Crowd
I prefer to make my gifts verses buying them in a store. I am more satisfied giving away and original hand made gift that is carefully selected instead of a store purchased item. The best gift I ever made was an a 3 Set Couch Throw. Each throw using the same colours but mixed up so they looked unique. I used glittery yarn that I haven’t seen on the market since. To me, they were beacons of magnificence and the family that scored them absolutely loves Christmas to the point their entire home décor is transformed. It was a worthwhile experience and much cheaper than guessing at the store on something they may never need or already have.
Juliana Hudgins from Juliana Productions
I buy most of my Holiday gifts but always try to include something from the heart or a handmade item. A few years ago we did try the “Make your gift yourself idea” and it was very entertaining and interesting. My Mom made this really cool cross out of plaster for my brother, my husband made my son a shadow box that featured his High School letter for Soccer and I made my Dad a fleece no sew John Deer blanket. We all had a lot of fun making our gifts and telling the little stories behind each one.
Lynn Colwell from Celebrate Green
I try to make as many gifts as possible, but I also like to buy from other crafters and artists. Not sure about the best gift, but maybe an outfit for our granddaughter with a quilted jacket and a doll in a matching outfit.
Phyllis Serbs from Many Creative Gifts
Oh, I never plan in time to do crafts-only holiday presents! I think my best handmade gift was a pair of mittens I crocheted for my mom because she loves the yarn I used and they keep her hands warm and toasty!
Ashley from Domestic Fashionista
It depends on my mood whether or not I go for homemade or store bought gifts. Last year I went all out and made all the women aprons. This year I did not have the same time or energy so we went store bought but still creative. I hope to always be thoughtful in my gift giving and sometimes it just depends on the person and the season they are in whether or not I go homemade or store bought.
Candace Liccione from WYE River Designs
No we don’t have a crafts only holiday policy. In fact since we are a craft family we tend to go the other way and buy gifts. We did an all handmade Christmas once and we still talk about it because we were amazed at the creativity of all but especially the guys who truly felt that they were not crafty. We should be doing the handmade Christmas more often. I work with herbs also so the best handmade gift would be herbal salves and herbal tea and bath blends made into holiday gift baskets for family.
This year I did have a crochet everyone gift policy and ended up making 30 projects for my kids, grands and great grands. I did buy a box of candy for each also. I made hats, scarfs, poncho’s, fingerless gloves , snood and scoodies. My favorite was a snowy owl amaguri, my own design for my daughter, who collects owls. Her whole family raved about it.
Kendra from My Insanity
No. I think it would kill me to make all of my gifts. But their are homemade (or embellished) gifts every year. I’ve really been working with my kids to help them make gifts for one another. That’s how I grew up and I think making a gift teaches them so much more about giving than borrowing some money from mom or dad to buy a trinket at the store.
Denise Bielick from Oak Hill Designs
I usually buy most of my gifts. It’s too much pressure to make all my gifts. I learned my lesson from having to travel with my sewing machine to finish gifts. I also cut 2 of the same sleeve on a dress I was working on at the last minute. I am usually working on projects for the Craft and Hobby Association show in January over the holidays. It doesn’t make for the most relaxing holiday. Guess I need to get my act together and start earlier! What’s the best gift I’ve ever made for someone? That’s a tough question. Over the years, I’ve made quite a few gifts. One year I made dresses and dolls with matching dresses for my 2 nieces. Two years ago, I gave my nephew’s daughter a really bright frog quilt. He now has a son and I am debating what quilt I am making for him. I think I set a dangerous precedent!
Linda Walsh from Linda Walsh Originals
I don’t have a crafts-only policy but do prefer to make most of my gifts. In fact, I’ve given handmade gifts to my family and friends for close to 50 years now. Handmade gifts works out well for most of my older relatives, but doesn’t work out for my younger grandchildren. They usually want the most popular toy or electronic gadget of the year. Since I’ve been making and giving gifts for close to 50 years now it would be really hard for me to say which was the best gift. I pour my heart and soul into every gift I make and each time I finish one I consider it my favorite – that is until I finish the next one.
Tina from TStichesandCrafts
When it comes to my holiday gifts I would say 80% are made by me and 20% are purchased. I have had nothing but positive feedback from those that receive my handmade gifts over the years. One of the things I did this year for my Mom, Sister and Aunts was make a set of knitted dish cloths, purchased a traditional size bottle of dish soap and a veggie peeler (a very special peeler… one my mom discovered years back and now is a family favorite). I put the dish cloths together, folded them in half, I put the peeler in between the dish cloths and with a peice of yarn I tied it with a bow onto the dish soap bottle. Huge Success! All the Ladies loved their gift. Handmade gifts can be just as special as something you buy and nothing says I love and care about you more than a gift you make special for someone. Have a Happy Creative Day!