Simplifying Gift Giving


flower gift wrap

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.

Tile Coasters

  • 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.
These ideas work best for gift giving throughout the year but can also be adapted for Christmas gift giving. Just make sure you give yourself more time to plan and make gifts. I’d personally start thinking and making gifts for Christmas at least 3-4 months beforehand (but some people start early in January), depending on how many homemade gifts you plan on giving.

Author: Jess

I love nerds (well, one in particular), sewing, crafting, blog-stalking, and being happy.


  1. Oh, I love bookmarking stuff! And yah, okay…maybe i’m a bit slow, but I just found the “google bookmark” that you can put up on your toolbar and then whenever you want to bookmark something you just click on it and it saves it for you in a nice convenient space—no more cluttered links everywhere! nice feature! and some good ideas Jess!


  2. What great ideas!! I wish I was crafty….


  3. Thanks for the tips. I’ve been trying to make all gifts for the past year or so and it can be stressful. But also fun. :) I like the idea of having some generic gifts ready for any occasion.


  4. Nice work and ideas, keep up the good work and have a nice day!


  5. Great, practical gift ideas. And I agree – life can be stressful but it would be boring if it was easy! Thanks for sharing.


  6. Basically we are getting more stress to find a gift. I think definitely we can reduce our stress by following those steps. Anyway thanks for sharing your experience with us.


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