When I decided, as a New Year’s Resolution, to make 50-80% of the gifts my husband and I gave this year, I thought I’d be incredibly stressed out. Homemade gift giving can sound (and be) intimidating and stressful. But I also thought it sounded like fun (yes, fun and stress are not mutually exclusive). Homemade gift giving is a great creative outlet for me and my husband loves it because we don’t have as many random craft projects laying around the house. Now I craft with a purpose!
So how can the stress and intimidation of gift giving be alleviated? From my experience I’ve found that following these steps helps reduce the stress (and increase the enjoyment) of homemade gift giving:
- Plan ahead. I usually start brainstorming for gift ideas a month or so in advance. Using Anne’s Birthday Calendar is a great way to keep track of what’s coming up.
- Don’t procrastinate. Start making the gift about 2-3 weeks before you plan on giving it. This way if something comes up last minute, you won’t be in a time crunch.
- KISS (“keep it simple, stupid”). Realize that most homemade gifts do not need to be elaborate. For most gifts, it’s ok to keep it simple. Expecting too much from yourself only makes homemade gift giving a stressful experience. Start with smaller homemade gifts, maybe paired up with something you bought. It’s ok. As you get more time or more comfortable with the homemade process, gifts can become more complicated.
- Work with what you have. When first starting out, try and think of gifts you can make with the supplies you have on hand. As you continue making gifts you can gradually increase your craft supplies. Too much too soon can be overwhelming.
- Find inspiration. It’s ok to see what other people have done and adapt your ideas. Oftentimes I don’t know exactly what I want to make, but I know I want to use felt (just using what I have… :)) or make a pincushion so I’ll go to flickr, etsy, or oneprettything and search and see what other people have made.
- Generic gifts. Making and keeping generic gifts on hand is a great way to still give handmade gifts for those forgotten unplanned events. I try and have coasters, embellished dish towels, and appliqued onesies on hand at all times… just in case.
- Bookmark ideas. Ever come across an idea that you might want to use later? Bookmark it! You never know if that tutorial on how to cover a 3-ring binder will come in handy. I have an entire folder of bookmarked gift ideas.