things that charmed me | best homemade gifts

Homemade gifts are one of those things that are a hallmark of holiday celebrations. Whether you love them or hate them (toilet paper cozy anyone?), they certainly have deep meaning regardless. Given the weight a handmade gift has during gift-giving season, I thought I’d explore what I deem to be some of the best of the best. When it comes to making a gift that shows someone you are thinking of them, you might be surprised at the amazing benefits of such a practice.

A few benefits of making handmade gifts:

1 //  Thoughtfulness. Whether your gift is a hit or a miss, (and I have definitely had my share of misses over the years), no one can deny that a homemade gift is thoughtful and requires something a little more from the gift-giver.

2 //  Making your own gifts somehow changes you. When I’ve made gifts, I find that I have to slow everything else down in my life. It takes time to make something—usually more time than you expect. It takes planning, foresight, and quiet moments to focus on the making.

3 //  Your time spent thinking about your loved-one is increased, and it is valuable. My very favorite part about making my own gifts, is the fact that I get uninterrupted quality think-time to focus my thoughts on memories, and on the person I’m making my gift for. Pondering my relationship, and the beauties of my connection with the intended recipient generates gratitude. And it makes for a better gift.

4 // Giving my time and energy to a handmade gift allows me to use my creative skills. Depending on the project you choose, you can even learn a new skill. But even if you are using a skill you already have, you’ll invariably learn something new every time you make something.

5 // It can be fun! Some of my favorite times spent with friends have been gathered around a dining table making gifts for our families.

On to the list! Here are my very favorites!

*  I’m a big fan of homemade kits. Sometimes they can get pricy (when you add up all of the components) but nothing says thoughtful quite like a gathering of items that would please just about anyone. Here’s one for the survivalist in your life (or the guy who loves pocket knives/camping). Get the how to here.

*  I made this adorable pirate softie for my boys for Christmas last year, from this tutorial. I wish I could claim this DIY myself, but the genius behind this pattern comes from

DIY pirate 1

*  These handsome homemade wallets. Great for boys of all sizes, wouldn’t you say?

*  Nobody does handmade gifts quite like Martha Stewart. If you know how to knit, these mittens are for you. So quick to make, you can give a pair to everyone in the family.

*  Don’t have knitting skills? Here’s another Martha Stewart gem that I think just about any non-crafter could handle, easy felt slippers. Or these, for a less flowery version. And then there’s these. My my, Martha sure loves felt slippers, doesn’t she?

*  Since we are on a Martha kick, when I was in college, I looked forward to having kids just so I could make this awesome playhouse kit. Get it here in a very vintage magazine to get  the how-to.


*  Moving on, I’m a big fan of neighbor gifts during the holidays. It’s one of the only times during the year where visitors are welcome more than at any other time of year. And if you’ve had trouble getting to know the people who live near you, this homemade stove top potpourri kit might get you in the door. Sometimes it’s nice to give something that isn’t goodies and treats. The recipe for your gift can be found here.

*  This animal drawstring backpack. Adorable for kids. And looks mighty easy to assemble too.

* This one is semi-homemade, in that your contribution to the gift is your photos, and all the work of bringing them to life is on Artifact Uprising. This wood block plus prints would look beautiful on any desk. Available for 23.99, here.

Wood Block + Prints
*  For those of you who don’t enjoy making gifts, here is a wonderful way to give back and get your holiday shopping started at the same timel! Target and Toms are teaming up, (available Nov 16th, for a limited time only) and 1 for 1 goes to charity! Take a look, here.

*  While I think we are all aware that sometimes the time and effort someone has made to a gift may be unwanted, there is something charming about this tradition. Even the worst gifts can become family legend. Remember the year Grandma’s boyfriend gave her cheese for Christmas?! He never heard the end of it! And of course, I can’t mention homemade holiday gift-giving without putting a link out there for the most CLASSIC do-it-yourself-gift EVER. See it here! You don’t want to skip it.

*  What are your favorite homemade gifts?

Photo Credits: 1 // Feature photo credit: via photopin cc, 2 // Pirate photo: Ann Neslen via Dripping Paintbrush. 3 // Martha Stewart Kids magazine photo by Frank Heckers Text by West Carpenter, Created by Matthew Gleason and Jennifer Wagner, 4 // Wood block and photos via Artifact Uprising


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