roots of givingHandmade Households

In our society the word “giving” is most often associated with material goods. While there is nothing wrong with giving gifts, we need to seriously examine our motives. Are we giving out of guilt or some unspoken “rule”?

The usual image associated with homemade gifts is that quintessential macaroni necklace you made for mom in preschool.  While that was heartfelt, here we propose the marriage of the sincere and functional. If they don’t need it, don’t make it. A life of giving is rooted in simplicity and recognition of what is necessary and what is not.  We encourage you to make sure your desires for giving a handmade gift align with the receiver’s desire for that gift.  The upside to making your own gift you ask? While on the whole being, cheaper, more environmentally friendly and personal, we have found that they elicit much more enthusiastic and genuine “thank-you’s” than that $15 iTunes gift card.

Breaking Ground

  • Collect quotes that make you think of someone or compile a list of memories and arrange them in a creative fashion (CD/ DVD, scrapbook, quilt, piece of jewelry, book)
  • Hand make a cookbook filled with meaningful recipes that reflect your relationship with someone. Then make time to cook at least one recipe a month together.
  • Utilize your specific talents. If you aren’t a seamstress, don’t feel like you need to make a quilt for someone. Take advantage of the knowledge and skills you already have.
  • Prepare a mini-herb garden for the culinary enthusiast (basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, etc) and provide instructions on how to care for the plants.
  • Recycle your brown paper grocery bags into an earthy sketchbook for those artist types. Paint, decoupage or simply cover scrap cardboard in wrapping paper to create a sturdy     front and back cover before using a hole puncher and binding the sketchbook with yarn.
  • Compile a “cookie in a jar” with all the dry ingredients needed to make cookies. Include directions and remaining ingredients to be added. Get creative and include poems,  anecdotal stories, jokes, etc.

Dig Deeper

  • Find out a person's LEAST favorite thing that they have to do on a regular basis and do it for them (washing the car, taking out the trash, etc) Then take their extra time and  spend it with them.
  • Do your homework. Find out what that special someone’s hobby is (fixing up cars, cooking, watching movies and tailor-make your gift to fit what they need; a wooden toolbox to organize their tools, a handmade apron or an organized and personalized case to slimly store all of their favorite DVD’s)

Amongst the Roots

Host your own “Make something” Day to promote awareness and build community. Check out (great, detailed homemade gift ideas to combat the biggest shopping day in the American calendar) - check out: (the official advent conspiracy website, great blogs, constant dialogue and great practical ideas)