Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the calendars have been flipped to show that most gift-laden of months – December. You know what this means: the holiday season is undeniably in full swing, and there’s about to be some wild present-swapping happening! It’s time to start thinking about how you want to show your friends and family that you care about them.
Buying all your gifts may seem like the simplest answer, but that can be a huge drain on your wallet, and braving the hectic retail environment in search of the perfect stocking-stuffer may well result in lots of bruises and general crankiness. The alternative of making gifts yourself can save you from both overspending and taking terrible trips to the mall, and – not to get all sappy or anything – adds a little bit of extra meaning to your offering. Who wouldn’t feel special after receiving something made by hand, just for them? If that sounds like something you’d like to have a go at, here are some handy library resources we’ve rounded up to help you give it your best!
by Sharon McSwiney
If you want to keep things simple, you can try making holiday cards for all your loved ones. You can make them very basic, or, using the techniques in this book, make them quite elaborate and fancy. The best part is how easy it is to send them through the mail, helping you let even your most far-away friends and family know you’re thinking of them.
The Happy Hooker: Stitch n’ Bitch Crochet
by Debbie Stoller
The art of crochet enables you to use a small hook to transform shapeless hunks of yarn into fantastic offerings for your more stylish friends and family members. This book will introduce you to the basic techniques and materials of the craft and provide you with over 40 project ideas to choose from. Think beyond potholders!
SimpleChic: Designer Knits, SuperQuick!
by Jil Eaton
Those of you already initiated into the yarn-based arts may prefer to knit items rather than crochet. If pointy sticks thrill you more than dull hooks, this book has plenty of gift ideas for you to choose from, including adorable elf hats for the babies in your life, or tiny sweaters for your dog, if that’s your thing. We won’t judge you if it is, and your canine pal is sure to love you anyway (and look very sharp!).
Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share
Compiled by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz and friends
When travelling over the holidays, luggage restrictions can sometimes lead to huge bummers. One way to make sure you’re able to carry home all your painstakingly handcrafted gifts is to make them all itty-bitty. Miniature projects abound in this book, and they’re designed to use up crafting scraps left over from your other projects, so you hopefully won’t have to buy lots of new stuff! It’s a win-win, really.
Perfumes, Scented Gifts, and Other Fragrances: Make Beautiful Gifts to Give (Or Keep)
by Kelly Reno
Smell is closely connected to memory, so if you present someone with a made-from-scratch perfume or scented oil, your generosity is not likely to be forgotten. Or, you can make season-specific smells like pine and cinnamon for yourself, and keep the holidays in your heart all year round.
Christmas Gifts of Good Taste
Edited by Ann Van Wagner Childs
Gifts are one part of what makes the winter holidays such an exciting time; food is another. Why not combine the two and give food as gifts? The books in this series combine tasty recipes with charming ideas for presenting them to their recipients. You can also make some extra for yourself, obviously, to reward yourself for your hard gift-making work.
Remember – these are just starting points! Use these books to get some ideas, then adjust them to fit your own style (and the styles of the people you’re making them for!). The most important thing about a hand-made gift is the thought and care that goes into it, and that comes straight from you, not any book. We wish you the best of luck!
(If you decide, for whatever reason, that you don’t want to make gifts yourself, you can check out a certain Pinterest board made by a certain underground library for book-buying suggestions! Your UGL librarians fully endorse books as great holiday gifts – but we may be a little biased.)