Crafting gifts yourself can be a lovely way to show someone you thought of them.
For neighbours and community colleagues, the children and I bake biscuits or fairy cakes, then pop them in a little bag with lots of ribbon. The kids wear their festive gear and we head out to walk the rounds, calling on our neighbours and volunteers who are on duty to hand them all out. We do the same at Halloween, giving the kids a chance to dress up in costumes and call on people we know. It might all sound a bit Waltons, but it gives the kids a chance to take part in the seasonal atmosphere by carol singing/trick or treating without then going on to demand money or sweets afterwards.
Putting together larger crafts for people you love is not always cheaper than buying gifts, but it is often cheaper than the bought equivalent e.g. £5.00 would not buy you a handknitted scarf crafted by someone else, but would buy you the range of wool for a beautiful long colourful scarf you handknitted yourself. Just lumping a hamper of bulk-made jams to everyone you know might not be the best idea... Aunty So-and-so never eats anything sweet, or Grandma Bob would rather eat the best-bought stuff, etc. Tailoring the gifts to the person you gift them to can make a world of difference, otherwise it isn't really any more thoughtful than buying in Boots 3-for-2 toiletries sets... just a lot more effort for you.
A good rule to go by is to ask yourself "would I enjoy this gift?" and then "would the recipient enjoy this gift?" If it is something for their house or to wear, is it their style? If it is food, do they actually enjoy this type of food? I mean, just because you can make laundry liquid and know it is good for the environment and smells nice, you cannot assume that someone, especially someone who hates household chores, will appreciate a gift of it (unless you are being ironic.)
I also find that some people assume because you offer a handmade gift that you are skimping so to supplement some of the below ideas, I tend to purchase something and also make a Christmas Cake to go alongside.
Some of the gifts we have put together in the past include:
- A jam and chutney hamper, supplemented with bought biscuits and a bottle of something nice
- An eco-household hamper, including moisturing handwash, homemade laundry liquid, all purpose cleaner, and a handstiched apron.
- A mug stuffed with the recipient's favourite goodies like mint chocs and sweets, or fudge selections, you get the idea + cocoa + a miniature of brandy or rum. Slippers and pyjamas can be added to this hamper; handcrafted bedsocks or slippers are great, try this for felt ones or this for crochet ones.
- Scarves and hats - I like this pattern for women in different colours and finished with tassels, and this for the fellas.
- Festive patterned hats for the kids - I will post some in upcoming days.
- Simple knitted dolls with the colours and features matching their favourite characters e.g. add orange hair + navy top, pale blue arms, and purple skirt for an Anna doll, or a white plait and pale blue dress for Elsa dolls - just leave out the legs and knit a full skirt.
- Other knitted creatures - this year I am making a couple of pokemon by doing a simple crocheted tube with stuffing and tied to make a neck, and then adding features of favourite pokemon like ears and spines/odd tails! And also a Bing Bunny, by adding ears, all in black, then a red body and legs for his dungarees and green arms for his jumper.