Crafting Gifts

By Jeanelle D. Horcasitas

October 8, 2015 5 min read

My favorite part of any holiday, birthday or special occasion is when people get to open their gifts. The genuine happiness and smiles that take over during the unwrapping and revealing of a gift are priceless. In recent years, there have been some pretty impressive gifts, such as iPads, iPhones, TVs, Beats headphones and other hot items that can be snagged during Black Friday deals. Sure, as consumers we find ourselves loving our materialistic purchases -- but what happened to good old-fashioned homemade gifts?

Homemade gifts are some of the best things that you can give, because they truly capture the love and admiration that you have for that special someone. Whether you're making gifts for a child or an adult, there's something for everyone. I'm going to suggest to you a few of my favorite homemade gifts, but remember that the choices are endless!

*Layering Up

Food items (especially sweets) are always a great go-to for homemade gifts! My favorite is the customized food package, especially when layered in a Mason jar. If you're not sure where to start, check out Pinterest for plenty of inspiration and DIY help.

If you want to stay in the holiday spirit, make a prepackaged hot chocolate or cookie mix of your own creation. My favorite combination for a hot chocolate Mason jar gift is layered in four different sections: one-quarter yummy hot chocolate powder, one-quarter fluffy marshmallows, one-quarter chocolate chips and one-quarter peppermint candies to top it off. If you want to get more personal, tie a festive bow around the top of the jar, or attach a tag with a sweet message -- or both! Small touches such as these make all the difference. If you want to do this same project for cookies, simply layer the ingredients on top of one another. Keep in mind that this Mason jar will only hold so many ingredients, so be sure to measure each layer accordingly.

*Keep the Memories Alive

Some of my absolute favorite homemade gifts are those that include photos or some sort of memorabilia from a happy time spent together. A shadow-box frame is the perfect medium to get creative with -- you can even add some three-dimensional items. The possibilities for what you can put inside are limitless: from movie and concert tickets to fun souvenirs you got on a vacation together. You can keep photos in their original form, or cut them up in fun shapes and sizes to create a beautiful collage. As always, a special message or even an inspiring quote truly adds a loving touch to the whole gift. You can wrap up the gift if you'd like, or hang it in a place where you know the person will see it and can reminisce about the good times together.

If you can't get your hands on a shadow-box frame, make a photo album with scrapbook paper or even construction paper. Make it even more interesting by narrating each photo with a caption. You can even make a complete storybook. Trust me, it's way better than Instagram, and the gift receiver will love the time and effort that you put into curating an amazing photo book or shadow box.

*Sew Something Spectacular

For all of my fashionistas out there who know how to sew, handcrafted gifts from you are just as impressive (if not more so) as the stuff at the mall. If you're in possession of a sewing machine, you can certainly create many fun handmade gifts that everyone will love. But what if you don't know how to sew, or you're just a beginner? No need to worry! There are plenty of free YouTube videos available online that can assist you with learning basic functions of your machine and step-by-step tutorials of countless fun sewing projects.

I would suggest sticking to easier projects if you're a beginner, such as pillowcases or a fabric pennant banner. Once again, check out Pinterest for ideas, or even drop into your local Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store. If you feel like you're at more of an intermediate level, I would suggest sewing a customized tote bag, cosmetic bag or even pajamas. However, keep in mind that sewing can be a bit tedious and time consuming, so if you plan to make a few different homemade gifts, be sure to start early and plan accordingly. Have fun mixing and matching your own fabrics to create the ultimate customized gifts for your loved ones. I guarantee they're going to love it!

So get those creative juices flowing and start crafting some one-of-a-kind gifts that everyone will love and appreciate this holiday season.

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