The Christmas season is drawing near! Whether you buy handcrafted or make your own, we explore why giving the gift of handmade always means so much more.
WHY BUY HANDCRAFTED?
When buying something handmade from an artist or maker, you are buying more than just that particular object….
1. It’s good for the environment. Items that are handmade use less energy and natural resources to produce than items made on a mass production assembly line. Keeping the process small and local ensures that the footprint of a handmade item is minimised. This year it also means your Christmas presents are not stuck in a container!
2. It supports ethical production. Craftspeople care enormously about where their materials come from and will often pay more for quality and peace of mind. Whether it be using eco-silver and recycled packaging, or sourcing from local or sustainable suppliers, they will usually have ethical considerations at the heart of their product.
3. Handmade helps arts and crafts to survive. Buying handcrafted supports the continuation of the creative arts for the next generation by allowing craftspeople to practice, showcase and nurture traditional skills.
4. It’s better for the local economy. The quickest, most effective way to keep small businesses open and keep the money you spend flowing thorough and benefiting your community, is to buy from local businesses.
5. Handcrafted is thoughtful. Each time you give a handmade gift, you can be sure that a real person has invested time and effort into each unique creation which can be treasured for a lifetime. Giving handmade gifts is a memorable and meaningful choice. Your friends and family will appreciate the value of the time taken to choose an authentic handcrafted item instead of a factory-made product.
MAKING YOUR OWN?
For those people who enjoy crafts there is, perhaps, no better reason to make your gifts by hand than the pure and unadulterated pleasure of the creative process. If you’re a creative person, making gifts will be fun from the planning through to the finishing and the wrapping.
When you choose to give a handmade gift to somebody important to you, you’re sending them the message that they were worth the time you spent creating something personal and individual to them. Here are a few suggestions of what you could do!
FOR THE FOODIE
There is a wide range of edible presents that can be handmade quite simply. It’s a personal and low cost gift idea, and the bonus is that you’ll get to lick the bowl afterwards!
Try making homemade jam or marmalade and wrapping the top with an offcut of fabric, tied round with string, to really enhance the handmade aspect of the gift. Handwritten labels describing the contents also add charm and a personal touch.
Recipes for sweet treats like fudge or tray-bakes are readily available online and they can be cut up into squares and presented in nice boxes or jars. If they prefer a tipple, you could make your own infused gin or vodka by decanting the spirit into a glass bottle and adding your choice of flavour such as orange peel or sloes.
BRIGHTEN UP THEIR LIVES
Candles are universally popular and, as well as being the perfect go-to gift, they are also a lot of fun to have a go at handmaking.
You can start with an empty jar, or give it some decoration like chalk paint or decoupage. Alternatively, if you have a ceramic beaker or vintage tea cup they can make brilliant candle homes.
Soy wax kits are available online, you just need to melt the wax over the hob and pour it into your chosen receptacle with a wick positioned down the middle.
In the spirit of sustainable crafting another great idea is to gather up leftover ends of candles and melt them all together.
Why not find a nice basket or box and fill it with a selection of gifts tailored specially to the recipient.
Try theming your hamper to make it easier to choose what goes in it. How about spa or relaxation, gardening, sports, films and TV, chocolate, BBQ, wines from a certain country, or even a crafting hamper filled with bits and bobs for their favourite pastime!
Make it look luxurious with some nice packaging around the basket. Orange slices can be cut thinly and dried out slowly in the oven, then tied on with some brown string and a cinnamon stick to make a festive decoration that also smells lovely!
If presents are a step too far, making your own cards, wrapping paper and gift tags is an easy way to get crafting for Christmas.
Stamps and ink are easily found online (The Arty Crafty Place is a good starting point https://theartycraftyplace.co.uk) and blanks to print on can usually be found in your local stationery outlets.
It’s a good activity to do with the children too. Get a production line going with different colours and stamps and you’ll have Christmas all wrapped up in no time!
Or pick up a book on papercraft such as Papercraft Cornwall (available in store now!) and learn how to make your own cards.
OR…. GIVE THEM A GIFT TO LAST A LIFETIME
By booking someone onto a workshop or buying them a voucher for a craft class of their choice, you can truly give the gift of handmade by starting them off on their own creative journey. Inspire Makers has a range of workshops available. Or, you could buy a gift voucher for a workshop, or item made by one of the 50 creative businesses showcased in the shop.
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