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!