Gift giving is the staple of at least two holidays, a few more if your spoiled, and the hunt for the perfect present can be haunting. This past week, it was my boyfriend’s birthday and it was the first gifting holiday we were spending together since we only recently started dating. I mulled around ideas for quite some time leading up to the big day.
I finally landed on the idea of making a corn hole set from scratch, and I dove into the project right away. A coworker with power tools helped me put together the wooden structure. I spent a weekend painting the boards with my boyf’s college colors and mascot, and in the evenings after work, I would sew and stuff the corn baggies while watching TV. The whole process took about a month, and I was left with a solid final product. I was proud of what I had created, and when the birthday celebration rolled around, I felt like all my hard work was appreciated and he loved what I was able to put together.
The more I think about it, the more I am realizing that a homemade gift is the ideal route. You earn some major brownie points with your heartfelt creation, and you also get the self-satisfaction that comes with accomplishing something. I am imparting this wisdom on you, so that you too can be a stellar girlfriend, boyfriend, daughter, son, wife, husband, criminal partner, etc.
When I say homemade gift, you can’t cop out and put forth no effort. Giving a poorly drawn picture of Santa Claus is cute when you’re six, it’s just laziness when you’re 26. Create something that takes a little time and will have actual value. Next time you go on a trip, get pictures printed, save ticket stubs, maps, or other mementos and put them all together in a mini scrapbook for your beau. Instead of mailing your parents a Hello Fresh subscription for their anniversary, organize with your siblings a fun photoshoot of all of you together, or take a stab at wreath making and give them your finished project. There’s a ton of value in giving a gift that you clearly put a lot into, instead of using two-click check out to purchase.
I get that not everyone is crafty or artistic, but you don’t need to be. Cater a gift to your skill set. Are you a decent writer? Make your significant other swoon with a well-versed love letter. You understand computers? Make a basic app for someone on their birthday they can download on their phone. If you still feel like you don’t have any valuable skill sets, find a class or a workshop that can help you out. You can mull your own wine or make your own pottery, then bequeath your finished product to the important people in your life with a nice little side announcement of, “I made this myself.”
There may be a connotation that a homemade gift is the cheap route, but that’s not always the case. Supplies can be expensive, plus time is money. If you are strapped for cash, you can always work on a small budget. If you have the means to go above and beyond, splurge a bit and it’ll show.
I’d like to add that store-bought gifts are fantastic, it’s not that they’re somehow lesser than a homemade item or always hold less sentimental value. I am 100% the bitch that has asked for Tiffany’s jewelry every birthday (and never receives it I might add), so I get the appeal. Sometimes though, it’s nice to put a little labor into something to show others you care enough to risk paper cuts and paint stained clothes. Variety is the spice of life, and that includes presents too.
With Christmas just around the corner, you have time to start planning your projects now. Pull up Pinterest or Brit Co. and find some inspiration as the weather gets colder. If all else fails and you end up with a shitty final product, just send the receiving party an Amazon gift card instead and join the rest of the masses buying something at the last-minute..