Lunchtime Poll

LTP: Handmade Holiday

Sometimes it’s just easier to make something pretty than figure out what to buy.

How many of you prefer to make holiday presents than buy them? It seems like it would take longer, but really, trekking around the city trying to find something that’s just perfect can be even more time- and energy-consuming than just sitting down and knitting a nice hat.

And since I already have so much yarn, it isn’t really costing me extra to make things. So that’s what I’m doing. Not for everyone – a lot of family members are getting store-bought gifts – but my friends can mostly expect something handmade.

By [E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

8 replies on “LTP: Handmade Holiday”

I usually wind up doing a little bit of cross-stitching. In fact, I have a project I have to finish tonight so I can get it in the mail! And then I have a few other things to do for my family, but since I’m seeing them in mid-January I may just take the stuff with me, so I have a little more time there.

I really prefer buying things, in part because my aunt and I have a tradition of doing all our shopping in one day. It’s a bonding experience that I couldn’t imagine giving up. I did use to make lots of edibles for gifts for people I wasn’t close enough to to buy something for, like distant visiting relatives and bosses. I’d do it again if I had the time, because my gingerbread caramel sauce and dark chocolate peppermint bark are legendary.

I’m going to try my hand at a little crafting this year, however. I’m making coasters with photos on them for my mother. I blame Pinterest.

I don’t buy much in the way of presents. I just am not a creative buyer so I make things. For the last few years I’ve been making star book calendars. If you tie the front cover to the back, from the top, it looks like a star. Each page is a calendar with a picture above it. The next part is the fun part. I just make 4 of them featuring pictures of my niece’s first child. One for them, and two more for the grandparents. Another friend loves flower and those are the photos that I add for hers. I don’t know if anyone uses these things and it’s not my concern. But taking photos all year long with friends and family in mind as I take pictures is a lovely gift for myself.

I bake. Lots. Not always, it has to be admitted, it depends on what else is going on. But if I can, I tend to do mega batches of gingerbread and my super duper chocolate, orange and ginger cake. To make the cakes a bit more cute, for want of a better word, after wrapping them up in greaseproof paper, I tend to wrap them in a lovely tea towel (reusable packaging!) and tie them up with ribbon.

I plan out and work on my homemade gifts during the year, and that’s what most people in my life get from me for xmas. In the past, I’ve done gifts in jars, all manner of baked goods, crocheted plastic bags, and baby spider plants. This year everyone is getting an aloe plant (harvested and re-potted from some neglected, overgrown aloes in my parents’ backyard) and a jar of sauerkraut. (I’m obsessed with making it for myself anyway, what’s an extra twenty jars in the fridge?)

I bought gifts for my immediate family, but I’m working on improving my sewing skills and hopefully next year I’ll have entirely handmade gifts to give!

I’ve done this. For me, it’s usually, “I don’t have the money to buy you shit, but I was thinking of you anyway!”

I don’t tend to get people presents much, though. Usually I prefer to do something nice for someone, like take them to dinner or something like that. It’s not always possible, but it’s a lot of fun.

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