You guys, we just had our first snow flurry of the season here in NYC! It’s one of my most favorite things about living in the Northeast! Right now the concept of snow falling is still cute…. it hasn’t yet fallen in great quantities and cumulated and turned into disgusting sludge or fatal black ice. That’s when it gets significantly less cute. Yuck.
It’s just another reminder that the holiday season is upon us! With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas on the horizon, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about presents for my friends and family members.
I’m a big fan of homemade gifts (mostly because I’m just barely making my ends meet, but also because a handmade present conveys so much more thought and love than something you bought in a store) and over the years I’ve come up with some crafty and cost effective gift ideas.
- Knitted scarves/beanies. When I’m not typing away furiously on my keyboard or nose deep in a great book, I am a knitting machine. At least lately I have been. I learned how to knit when I was studying abroad in Argentina (thanks to my dear friend Emily and 24+ hour bus rides all over the country) and it’s been one of the greatest talents I’ve picked up! I’m on a mission to make knit scarves/beanies for as many people as possible this holiday season.
- Homemade bath time goodies. This summer I made homemade sugar scrubs for all my lady friends as a “hooray for summer shenanigans” present. It was super easy, super cheap, and super appreciated. The most expensive part was buying the little jars (but thanks to the glory that is known as Ikea, I got a packs of 6 little jars for $3! I love Ikea!) and from there I just used a recipe of brown sugar, white sugar, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Mix it all up, spoon into the jars, and then decorate! My lady friends and I had the softest scented skin in all of New York. FACT.
- Baked goodies. When the weather outside is frightful, I stay inside and bake. Baking is a relatively new hobby I’ve picked up, but I’ve been having a blast creating tasty treats for friends and family alike. I’ve got cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, brownies, chocolate covered pretzels, fudge, and bite-sized pumpkin pies in my repertoire. Check out my cooking blog to see what new treats I’ll be coming up with this holiday season!
- Scrapbooks. These are great gifts for those special loved ones with whom you have a million photos/inside jokes/memories. When I was in high school I once made a book for my at-the-time boyfriend titled “101 reasons to love you.” It was literally just a binder full of 101 reasons why I loved him so much – and I went through and illustrated each one with goofy looking stick figures and stickers. He still has it to this day and reads it on particularly gloomy days.
- Survival kits and care packages. Do you have a friend who recently started law school? How about someone who just moved from one part of the world to another? Send them a survival kit/care package filled with things they’ll love! When my good friend Nisha left for college this year my mom and I came up with the brilliant idea to give her a “College Survival Kit” that included tiny bottles of booze, Ramen noodles, a Starbucks gift card, and other silly things.
- Hand painted presents. You don’t have to be a Picasso to make someone a delightful hand painted present. I’ve got close to zero painting capabilities but last year for Christmas I painted mason jars for my best friend and my brother and then filled them up with their favorite candies. In the past I’ve also painted picture frames, mirrors, candles, and tiny canvases as presents.
Personally, I think that cold winter days are the best times to sit at home and work on presents for people. Fueled by Spotify playlists and Jameson-spiked hot cocoas, I know what I’ll be doing for the rest of 2012.
For more of my favorite DIY projects, check out my Bear’s DIY Pinterest board! And please feel free to leave some of your favorite homemade present ideas in the comments! I’m always looking for new projects and crafts to add to my life!
Walking in a winter wonderland,