Homemade gifts can be so much more than the sum of their parts, which makes them a great frugal gift option.
They are redolent of effort, of “I thought of you all year and worked on this for you” versus “I realized I needed a gift for you ten minutes ago and picked this up as I was driving here.”
MoneySavingMom has an extensive collection of frugal gift ideas. Some of my favorite homemade gifts from her list follow:
* Homemade baking mixes
* Embroidered pillowcases
* Hand-stamped notecards
* Personalized CDs (with music, family photos, etc.)
* Custom-made photo calendars (every grandparent I know adores these)
* Homemade food, including freezer-ready quick meals and baked goods (I am seriously asking my mother-in-law for a giant vat of her famous fresh Tomato soup for the holidays this year)
* Canned vegetables, jam, pickles, etc.
* Scarves, sweaters and other knitted/crocheted goodies
* Fleece throw blankets
* Homegrown organic dried herbs (in a charming little jar, what could be better?)
I talked a bit about this in my last entry, but the ultimate “handmade” gift may not be a thing at all, but instead, a service. I love the concept of lending your personal services to someone else, especially in this age of so little free time.
If you’re good at sewing, what about giving certificates for mending and tailoring clothing? Or giving proofreading or resume help to someone still in school? Know someone who travels a lot? A few certificates for rides provided by you to and from the airport could be just the thing. Or create a scrapbook or photo album for someone with lots of memories and no time to compile them. Babysitting, yard cleanup, etc. are gifts which cost little but your time.
I’ve been blessed with some very creative friends, so in the past I’ve received amazing scarves, jewelry, gorgeous embroidered pillowcases, and even original artwork. This year, one of my good friends knitted me some very chic pure-white cashmere gloves.
My own talents are more culinary than crafty, so this year I’m giving out tins of several varieties of homemade cookies and a few premade freezer meals, like lasagna, for those in my life who don’t enjoy cooking as much as I do. If you’re not inclined to create gifts yourself, you can buy amazing and unique handmade gifts of all sorts at Etsy.com.
Any special handmade gifts you’ve given or received? Share your favorites.
Image Credit: Autreyu
Updated August 9, 2011 and originally published December 14, 2007.