We’ve been giving one another gifts for millennia. They’ve helped us offer tribute to distant monarchs in a bid to strengthen alliances. They are those small trinkets that celebrate a loved one’s spending another year on the planet. Whatever the occasion, gifts help us to express our emotions and help us to forge closer bonds with one another.
There is a tendency, too, for us as gift-givers to obsess a little over finding the perfect item. Indeed, it can become a source of anxiety if we are unable to buy that expensive gift we know the recipient has wanted for some time. Yet, this approach ignores that the value of gifts doesn’t generally come from how much money we’re able to invest at a store. The consideration, effort, and time that we apply to our gift-giving are what counts the most. As a result, homemade gifts have become something of a premium option.
Let’s review what it is about homemade gifts that imbue them with inherent value.
We can get the most elaborate store-bought gift imaginable, and it still wouldn’t be as personal as an item that we had made ourselves. Sure, we could engrave it with a message, but that still doesn’t express our connection to the person we’re giving it to nearly as much as something that we’ve created ourselves. Think about it. This is something that we have poured our own creativity and personality into, with the sole purpose of making a gift entirely aimed at the recipient. It doesn’t get much more personal than that.
There are also certain types of homemade gifts that really push the personal connection that we’re after. Photography, particularly taking a portrait, can be great here. Indeed, alongside good lighting and focusing on the eyes, one of the key elements of taking a great photographic portrait is making a connection with our subject and engaging with who they are as a person. Our personal relationship with our friend or loved one allows us to capture an aspect of them that we know makes them special — their laugh, their quirkiness, that mischief in their smile. Combined with a handmade frame, this can be a truly personal gift.
It is also important to acknowledge that there are very few gifts that we can buy that represent what we feel for the person we’re giving to. Even if it’s not for a special occasion, one of those “just because” gifts to a friend, we are more able to give something that resonates with them on an emotional level if we make it ourselves. We know what ideas they value above anything else, what would make them laugh from their soul, what sparks memories that they treasure. We can make a gift that we imbue with these concepts something that they don’t just appreciate but cherish.
One of the most valuable aspects of homemade gifts is that almost everybody has the ability to make something meaningful for a friend or loved one. Too often today we find ourselves feeling guilt over our inability to buy a pricey item that we know a friend or loved one might enjoy. Creating and giving a highly personal present makes giving something of true value accessible to all of us.
Some of us might be put off by not having the skill to create something unique — cost, after all, isn’t the only barrier to personal gift-giving. However, the internet is a vital tool for accessibility to the knowledge needed to thrive in this regard. Whether it is making fluffy slippers for a college student or a creatively edited video of family memories, there are tutorials online which will walk learners through the process step-by-step. YouTube videos or Skillshare courses can give us a visual guide to the required skills, and more complex gifts can benefit from advance planning to review the tutorials and make some practice items.
That said, time can also be at a premium — but even those looking for a last-minute gift can produce something handmade. Soaps can be made quickly using mostly items that can be found in the average kitchen. Even food can be an ideal homemade gift; whether this is a favorite bakery item using a family recipe or a fancy home-cooked meal created in an afternoon. The key is to make something that is meaningful without stressing the limitations that you face. Give what you can, but make it from the heart.
Probably the primary reason that homemade gifts have inherent value is the fact that they are unique. The time, effort, individual touches, and love that we put into making these items cannot be found in any store — even those that specialize in ostensibly handmade merchandise. Whatever we choose to make for a friend or loved one is sealed in a moment in time; we have made choices specifically for our recipient that aren’t going to be repeated.
There are certainly those items that are more predisposed to being unique. Creating a painting as a gift can be a complex undertaking, and even if we paint the same subject again, there won’t be exactly the same application of pigment or approach — such gifts are often affected by mood, circumstances, and intention. The same goes for using carpentry skills to make a piece of homeware or furniture from reclaimed raw materials; both the design approach and the physical elements are unique, and they make for a very special homemade gift.
Even those gifts that might be deemed disposable can also be special. While bath bombs have become popular through cosmetic brands, these can be made relatively easily at home. They can also be made with unique combinations of salts, scents, and oils to suit the specific tastes of the intended recipient. However, while we can add baking soda and pigments to make these slightly more impressive, it is equally important to do some research on what products might stick to pipes and cause clogs in drains. We don’t want the impact of our unique gifts to be an additional burden on our loved one’s plumbing.
Homemade gifts have the potential to bring a great deal of joy into our loved ones’ lives. Their personal nature and unique features help to make them some of the most valuable items we can offer. The fact that they are accessible options for almost anyone can mean that we all have the potential to celebrate our friends and family in a positive and creative way.