Lifestyle Gift Guides: Handmade for the Holidays

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by Anna Whisler, Contributing Writer

As college kids, the idea of a gift card sounds pretty darn good, but if you think back to the most memorable gifts in your lifetime, chances are it was the thoughtful, homemade gift that left an impression. There is a reason why your parents still have that book you wrote them at age eight and the tried-and-true macaroni necklace from your preschool days. Those were the gifts that meant the most. Although it is fair to say that most of your friends and family no longer prefer jewelry made of food, it is also a good bet that they would appreciate the extra thought that goes into creating a gift instead of buying it.

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To begin, it is important to realize that your gift does not have to be an intricate, extravagant, masterpiece. The majority of us are not professional artisans, and there is simply no way to perfectly mirror something produced in a factory. Yet, there lies the beauty of a handmade gift. The words you misspell, or that small, barely visible patch of whiteout only adds to the charm. Mistakes show that you, a real life human, made the gift, so cast away your perfectionist ways and recognize that it is the thought that counts.

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After adopting that mentality, you can get your hands dirty. Play to your strengths! If you have artistic talent, try creating your own adult coloring book. You can tailor it to the recipient’s personal favorites or memories. Making personalized stationery is another option. Here, you can use whatever medium you like! If photography is your thing, create a photo journal that relates to activities from your past.  

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Maybe the idea of creating something completely from scratch is just a tad too scary for you.  No worries! There are less crafty options out there. Choose some succulents, buy some cactus dirt, scrounge up an aesthetically pleasing bowl and build a terrarium or a succulent garden. If your family has a sweet tooth, pick a recipe, and put together a basket full of the necessary ingredients and instructions. Choose a pair of plain white shoes or some generic denim, and embellish, paint, or fray them until they suit your friend’s tastes.

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Although visiting a nearby mall a week before the holidays is a tempting choice, challenge yourself to suppress the urge! There is a handmade gift solution to fit every giver’s level of expertise and every friend’s preferences. The only downside to gifting handmade? The expectations of your family and friends may skyrocket; so expect to have some big shoes to fill next year.

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