About a decade ago, I learned to knit. I did so mostly because I was flat broke and could only afford to knit scarves for Christmas presents. They were big bulky things knit on tremendous size 15 needles, but I gave them with embarrassed pride. One or two of them even got worn.
The following Christmas, I knit again. Anxious to give wanted, useful gifts – I attempted wash cloths. To liven things up a bit, I coordinated with a friend and fellow crafter to create knit wash cloths and embroidered dish cloth packages. They were cute. Fun was had. Crappy Homemade Gifts™ was born.
Since then, I have attempted dozens of Crappy Homemade Gifts™ with varying degrees of success. Knitting, bundt cake, home cooked TV dinners, and ginormous plates of Christmas cookies. I’ve also made jam, infused vodkas, peppermint schnapps and handmade jewelry. I’d like to say they were all well received – wrapped in adorableness and deeply appreciated – but I would be lying. For one, my raspberry jelly – despite being lovingly made with homegrown raspberries – was hard as a rock. And the homemade schnapps were really just bad. I relabeled them “Garden Waste Schnapps” and soldiered on.
So, as I approach the 2012 giving season, I have started to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned.
The first three indisputable truths about homemade gifts:
- If what you are giving someone is not something that they would like, it’s a bad gift whether or not it is homemade.
- If you are unsure of what a person would like, it’s best to error on the side of useful. A slightly unwelcome bottle of vanilla will eventually end up in cookies. A slightly unwelcome knickknack ends up at the Goodwill.
- Before giving something away, try it.
With the above goals in mind, I’m reworking my Merry Thriftmas philosophy this year. For the most part, I hope to make my gifts and / or cobble them together through thrift store finds. However, I’m opening up the idea of making crafts to sell on Etsy to raise some money for gifts the finicky on my list. You can’t really give a 15-year-old boy homemade anything. Also, I’m starting early. Way, way early.
- Colorful and Posh Knitted Wash Cloths (imaginemechanix.com)
- Three Christmas Ornaments to Knit in July (woolfreeandlovinknit.typepad.com)
- Last minute gift ideas (debenhams.com)
- Covert Reclamation of Unloved Knitted Things – Totally Justified (all-she-wants-to-do-is-knit.com)