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With the holiday season fast approaching, the pressure is on to find the perfect gift for that special someone. Likewise, if you, like me, try to be as conscientious as possible about your impact on the environment and your carbon and waste footprints, as well as shopping ethically, you may find yourself stumped when gift shopping. Scrolling through popular shopping outlets, it goes without saying that many of the items were made with little regard for the environment, and sadly, many were probably made under unethical conditions. 

This might seem like a blast back to being a kid, but I encourage everyone to consider creating their own gifts! Handmade gifts are, if anything, more sentimental than something store bought. 

Even if you already cast this idea from your mind, assuming your artistic abilities are inadequate, I promise you that you don’t necessarily need to be craft-savvy to create a wonderful gift for your significant other, friends or family. Here are just a few ideas: 

  1. Take a painting/pottery class and gift your creation

This one is especially geared towards those of us who are less artistically inclined! Sign up for an art or pottery class near you and spend a few hours being guided through the process, taking the pressure off your own abilities and learning something new while doing it. Of course, when it comes time to gift the finished product, nothing says you have to admit you had help crafting it!

  1. Create a photo album of your favorite memories 

Photo albums are a great way to show someone how much you treasure the memories you’ve created together. Many times, you can find empty, gently used albums at second-hand stores, meaning that the only things you need to do are printing the pictures and decorating the front! I especially love to make themed pages of the album and add little stickers or notes to personalize.

  1. Framed collage

If you’re anything like me, you hold on to keepsakes here and there of different adventures you have. Ticket stubs, receipts, pressed flowers; these and more are wonderful ways to commemorate times you’ve spent with someone. Create a collage using these materials, interwoven with pictures.

  1. Custom-made trail mix or candy jar 

This is one of my go-tos when I’m scrambling to brainstorm the perfect, thoughtful gift for an important occasion. All you need is a large jar (I usually use a mason jar), a few different snacks or candies and some supplies to decorate it with. You can find all these ingredients at a grocery or dollar store, making it easy, even in a pinch!

  1. Compliment box

Loving someone is truly about being there through the best and the worst, good times and bad. Especially if you’re creating this gift for someone who lives farther away, a compliment jar or box can be the perfect way to remind them that you are always there in spirit, even if not in person. Fill a jar or box with small slips of paper reminding them why you love and appreciate them!

  1. Movie night kit 

Some of the best gifts are ones that lead to more quality time spent creating new memories! Try making a movie night kit with a DVD (or money to rent one), a fuzzy blanket, popcorn and containers, candy and your favorite beverage. 

  1. Curated charm bracelet

If you’re looking to opt for a more high-end gift, but still want it to custom-make it yourself, a charm bracelet is a great option. Sites like Etsy list tons of custom made charms, and it’s easy to find a bracelet to add them to! Just choose an assortment of charms to match the passions and values of your friend, family member or partner, and the hardest part will be adding them to the bracelet!

  1. Commemorative Ornament

Creating a holiday ornament is especially relevant when trying to find a gift for a new romantic partner. Follow one of the numerous homemade ornament tutorials online, and be sure to note the occasion it was gifted in honor of. For example, engraving it with “First Christmas Together” and the date creates a sentimental decoration for years to come.

  1. Hand painted pot 

You can easily find a pot at most thrift stores, making it a cheap and stress-free option. Just decorate the pot with paint or any other materials, and buy a plant to make the gift more complete. Consider choosing a Christmas cactus, which blooms with beautiful pink and purple flowers and requires little care!

  1. Relationship coupons

Admittedly, this one can seem a little cheesy. With the right planning though, home-made coupons can be a great gift! Using one of the several coupon templates available online, print your coupons on nice paper to make them more official.

Lily is a sophomore at SUNY Geneseo studying neuroscience with intentions of progressing on to medical school. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, hiking, and trying new coffee shops.
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