Last weekend I had the privilege of teaching at a short class that covered a slew of information ranging from why we should be generous to a crash course in budgets & finances. Making wise financial choices are probably most difficult right around this time of year. Giving should not be out of guilt, obligation, or to impress other people—being generous should bring us JOY. Not to mention our culture is not the least bit shy about pressuring us to be constant consumers and to spend spend spend (Black Friday marketing anyone?). The Advent Conspiracy sums it all up pretty well.
My content for the class was about creative gift giving. Below are tips for gifting with thoughtful intentionality & saving time + money this holiday season.
TIME & MONEY SAVERS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
• Make a gift list & budget early // Know how many gifts and how much you want to spend. I've seen good reviews on using The Christmas List app for tracking your gifts.
• Have a "B List" gift // Something small but thoughtful, for the people you want to give a little something (or perhaps you weren't originally planning to give them a gift…eep!). I love the idea of a cute coffee mug with a card saying "also included is a coffee date to be redeemed at a later time" etc.
• Make a large batch of cookie dough // Then freeze it in rolls to cut up and bake when needed. This will prevent extra trips to stores for prepared foods because you'll always have a go-to on hand.
• Host baking/cooking party // Like a cookie exchange where every guest brings bulk of a dessert/appetizer and you swap. This gets you more variety at a lower cost, and they are pretty fun.
FREE GIFT IDEAS
• Give something of yours you know they admire // Like a scarf or purse they complimented, something they have shown interest in. Use with caution—don't give away junk you don't want!
• Give labor // Who wouldn't love a free handyman/cleaner/cook/babysitter for a few hours? Use your skills/availability to offer yours services as a gift, and maybe print off this adorable Gift of Time Certificate.
• Give books you own/have read // Make a fun bookmark and even create a "reader basket" by adding some coffee/tea.
• Repurpose what you have into something new // Example: turn old scrabble tiles into magnets or artwork.
• Tailor very specifically to the individual // Example: Buy lens cleaner, a lens scrunchie, or a pretty camera strap for someone who loves photography.
• Buy bulk items // Like local wine/beer/etc, then dress it up with packaging.
• Make gifts as a group // Where you provide part of the gift. Example: Make a "breakfast basket" that includes pancake mix, syrup, spoons, etc. But each person in the group only provides one ingredient.
TIPS FOR HANDMADE GIFTS
• Utilize Pinterest // Use this as a search engine for ideas or packaging on every gift.
• Start with supplies you own // If you have scrap wood/fabric/yarn, search for gifts using these supplies. You will keep costs down guaranteed.
• Plan to spend around 3-5 hours per gift // Don't get carried away with crafts that take months to make, but also don't expect to have 20 gifts made in one evening.
• Create gifts in bulk // If you make 15 of the same thing you will keep cost and time at a minimum.
• Be wary of pretty photography // Make sure you don't end up with something that looks cheap/cheesy when you take away the skills of whoever photographed the tutorial.
• Be wary of time intensive crafts/gifts // Think through every aspect of the supplies you need and how many steps are in the project. If possible, try to borrow tools (glue gun/hammer) so you don't have to purchase.
• Craft party // Get a group together! This is more fun AND you will save when you share supplies with each other.
Now the fun part! I've spent time curating a board of OVER 60 "do-able" handmade gift ideas. There is a range of skill & style but most are projects I'd like to own myself, which I believe is key when you are giving gifts to people.
I'd love to know tricks you've learned to help save time/money or your thoughts on making gifts rather than buying them! Any of my readers have helpful tips to share?
Image Sources: 1. Chalkboard Mug by Wit & Whistle // 2. Recipe Tea Towel by Hello Beautiful for Spoonflower // 3. Tiny Polaroid Magnets by Ambrosia Creative // 4. Mason Jar Oil Lamp (image by Napa Style, instructions by Heath Ashli) //