Holiday Crafts

Published on January 3rd, 2011 | by Julie Finn


How Much Did You Save with D.I.Y. Gifts?

D.I.Y. pinback buttons made from photo greeting cardsWith the exception of my husband and my girls (they get handmade gifts from me every other day of the year), I make D.I.Y. Christmas presents for every single person on my gift list.

The reasons that I do so are aesthetic, of course- I like handmade gifts better than I like store-bought ones. I also consider the thoughtful construction of a gift to suit each loved one to be a philosophical rebuttal to mass-market consumer culture, and the fact that my loving friends and family are inevitably thrilled to receive my creations doesn’t hurt, either.

When you get down to it, though, I also craft homemade Christmas gifts for one very, very practical reason: they’re cheaper! With my stash of thrifted and found craft supplies, I can create Christmas gifts for far cheaper than I could buy a gift of the same quality, and sometimes in less time than it would take to drive to the mall and shop around in the crowds.

The truth is that if I had to buy all my Christmas gifts, I’d have to confine myself to a budget so tight that I’m not sure what I’d buy for some people (What would my mother-in-law like to have that costs less than $10?), and I’d have to cut some people off of my list entirely (Sorry, little cousins!).

Fortunately, I’m a crafter, and so all my loved ones got to feel my love this Christmas.

Next >> Here’s what I made, and more importantly, what I DIDN’T spend

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

7 Responses to How Much Did You Save with D.I.Y. Gifts?

  1. Lynn says:

    Julie, you did a great job. Very inspiring ideas that anyone could do (well, almost anyone). We don’t give nearly as many gifts as you and some years I make everything and some I don’t. This was a year when I made a lot of small gifts (ornaments) to give the 28 people who came to our Christmas Day party and also for our Christmas eve family event, but not so many gifts to give otherwise. I want to start planning for 2011 holidays in advance so I’m sure to make more of the bigger gifts I give. Thanks!

  2. Pumpkinbear says:

    28 ornaments is awesome! I think that it’s nice to give a lot of gifts when they’re handmade, especially if they’re made from stash or recycled materials. I actually need a more generic-type gift, like jam or cold-process soap or such, to give out next year, to a few relatives whom I honored with March of Dimes donations this year. It was sort of cheating, because I give that March of Dimes donaton anyway!

  3. Nicely done! I encourage my little ones to do the same. They get ideas from sites like this one and and have fun making homemade creations. Who doesn’t appreciate and hand made gift?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I also love making hand made gifts. I try and get little gifts and make a bag/basket of things that might be useful for those on my lists of things to get. I get a lot of the decorations here at

  5. Leah says:

    I don’t think your assessment of how much your home-made presents cost is accurate. Maybe you got a lot of your craft stuff for free but it still cost somebody along the way – so really someone else is just paying for your family members’ Christmas presents. 

    • Julie Finn says:

      If anything, my assessment is inaccurate in that I spent way less than $19. If someone else paid $40 for a beautiful wool blanket and then left it a few years later at my recycling center’s re-use aisle for me to find and pick up for free, then good on them, but it’s silly to claim that they paid for my aunt’s casserole carrier in which that blanket was sewn as insulation.

  6. Pingback: How-to: Beeswax and Fabric Scrap Ornaments

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