Instructables

Handmade for the Holidays


The winter holidays are upon us!  I can't seem to go anywhere without being accosted in several senses at once with a frantic plea to "BUY, BUY, BUY!"  Advertisements for various sales splash across my field of view, blaring pop versions of holiday songs reverberate against my eardrums, and obnoxious clouds of synthetic fragrances waft, uninvited, into my sinuses.  Maybe I'm an idealist, or maybe I'm just a curmudgeon... but I don't understand how a season of giving meshes with a season of commercial overconsumption.

If I thought hard about it, perhaps my aunt Ida really wouldn't be thrilled with the box of assorted oversalted meats, plastic vials of suspiciously labeled "seasonings", and cheap imported mugs with images of football playing reindeer.  But if the tacky mug set is the only piece of kitsch in an entire department store that fits in my budget, how much choice do I have?

Lots, it turns out.  Handmade gifts have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it's easy to see why.  They're individualized and unique, they tend to use fewer resources and produce far less pollution since they're not made in a factory, they can be created with attention to detail and quality, and can cost little more than time and thought.  In this economy, most of us have limited funds.  Even if you're fabulously wealthy, a thoughtful handmade gift from you can mean more than a pricey basket that took no more though than whipping out a credit card.

If you're browsing Instructables, you probably already enjoy learning about other people's ideas and sharing your own.  Whether you're a long term author or haven't yet posted your own Instructable, now is the perfect time to show us something you can make!  Have you reclaimed wool from a thrift store sweater to make a set of mittens for your mom?  Have you made a small batch of scented homemade play dough, or perhaps melted old bits of crayons into chunky, swirly new ones for a child in your life?  Are you brainstorming a plywood and acrylic laser cut clock for a loved one?  Whatever it is that you've made as a gift, we'd love to see it!  If you haven't yet... there's still time to get started. 

This year, we have some fabulous incentives (as if you needed more reasons to make something for someone else).  Win yourself or a loved one a new computer, iPad or camera to document future Instructables! We'll be posting the Holiday Gifts Contest page soon, so be sure to keep an eye out.  

In the meantime, be sure to check out the Reuse and Sew Warm contests already running.  There's still time to enter, and while you're there, be sure to vote for your favorites! 

kkeagan1 year ago
Xmas is supposed to be a time to spend with your family, making a gift for someone shows how important they are in your life
Check me in the Toys Department. I'm on the way! :-)
scoochmaroo (author)  M.C. Langer1 year ago
Excited as always to see your contributions!
Sorry for the delay, but my Christmas season was a little bit complicated. My contribution:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Naval-Base-Playset-for-GIJOE-action-figures-mad/

:-)
Bill WW1 year ago
My shop becomes "Santa's workshop" this time of year.
In my family, we could NOT buy a gift until we made a gift for the same person. In this way that person, their lives, likes and ways were used to select the gift you made. I have always liked the hand-made gift idea, it encompasses so much more then just buying a gift and passing it on. For a handmade gift to really shine, you have to 'know' the person you're giving it to, not just about them.

Make the gift FIT the person, their likes, hobbies, preferences. By doing so, you give a gift that means more then "You know me", and more like "You REALLY know me!" Like for a friend, I gave him a pipe holder for his favorite pipe that lets him carry it in his jacket inside pocket, so its always handy and not likely to get lost.

Such gifts allow you the whole year to plan them, and you might even learn new things in making them. Like learning leather work to make a pipe holder, or a CD case, or trying some sewing to make a personal sized back pack with the pockets just where they want them, or a bit of carpentry to make a simple roll-a-round work table for that guy who works in his garage every chance he gets.

The time spent and the thought put into such gifts is 'unusual' these days of mass marketing, and 'Home-made' and 'Hand-build' are actually the signs of real connection between people and not some off the shelf item any one can get.
I like the hand-made gift idea, it encompasses so much more then just buying a gift and passing it on. For a handmade gift to really shine, you have to 'know' the person you're giving it to, not just about them. Make the gift fit the person, their likes, hobbies, preferences. By doing so, you give a gift that means more then "You know me", and more like "You REALLY know me!" Like for a friend, I gave him a pipe holder for his favorite pipe that lets him carry it in his jacket inside pocket, so its always handy and not likely to get lost. Such gifts allow you the whole year to plan them, and you might even learn new things in making them. Like learning leather work to make a pipe holder of a CD case, Sewing to make a personal sized back pack with the pockets just where they want them, or a simple roll-a-round work table for that guy who works in his garage every chance he gets. The time spent and the thought put into such gifts is 'unusual' these days of mass marketing, and 'Home-made' and 'Hand-build' are actually the signs of real connection between people and not some off the shelf item any one can get.
I agree...and I'm excited to see handmade come back in style!
fgtopul1 year ago
so do i!
kathynv1 year ago
I wholeheartedly agree with your observation. Most people adore getting handmade gifts and not the same old plastic piece o' junk. I gave handmade jewelry to nearly everyone on my list, year after year. Last year, I thought people were sick of the jewelry and I gave people store bought gifts.

People weren't rude enough to complain, but nearly everyone said that they had been looking forward to a new piece of jewelry. I'm back to making bracelets aplenty. Folks that don't want bracelets (mostly men), get a tin full of homemade cookies, which have also been very well received. I get to save a tiny bit of money, because if you make jewelry properly, it still costs, and goes double for cookies. Kids get either cool handmade toys, or if they are begging for some piece of plastic from Santa, something like that. Thanks for your wonderful editorial.
786Ayesha1 year ago
I am excited about this contest.I have a crazy idea and hope it will turn out the way my idea works.Count me in as long as the contest is for 3 or 4 weeks as I need atleast two weeks to finish this ibles.Looking forwad to it
poofrabbit1 year ago
Oh dear, it's clear I need to put some time in my calendar for all those crazy ideas that have been running around my head and make them happen!
uziham1 year ago
when does this contest start??
shazni1 year ago
super...now my reuse instuctable will have to hold a bit...i think I'll put it up for the holiday gifts :-)
as it would make a lovely gift for teens... male or female :-)
Hack42Moem1 year ago
Ooh, looks like I'll hold off on my upcoming "Make Christmas ornaments from used computer parts"-I'ble for a little while!
Mrballeng1 year ago
I've been waiting for this one. Can't wait!
*quietly puts supplies back in the closet*...
You're funny :). I don't have any cards up my sleeve. I just like to participate even if I can't compete.
scoochmaroo (author)  Mrballeng1 year ago
Oh boy. Now I can't wait too!
xpat731 year ago
When it comes to hand made gifts can I do some thing with fabric and sewing?
scoochmaroo (author)  xpat731 year ago
Absolutely! This is almost an anything-goes kind of contest! As long as it's something that you make and (could) give to someone else, it counts, regardless of the tools you use.
I've got a perfect entry of this. Almost done with the writeup.
scoochmaroo (author)  JamesRPatrick1 year ago
Cool! Just be sure not to publish before the contest starts next week!
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