This year, make holiday gifts personal

Finding that perfect gift for someone can be exhausting, and sometimes seem impossible. On the other hand, you could skip the crowded malls and excruciating online searches, and go for something your recipient will recognize right away as something that comes straight from the heart. How? Make the gift yourself.As Americans are starting to realize that holiday spending doesn't always equal holiday joy, more people are choosing handmade gifts as a way to show their appreciation for the recipient. Whether you are an expert knitter, a talented painter or even a novice crafter, handmade gifts show that you spent the time to make something special for someone. Here are five tips to help you if you choose to go the handmade route this season: * Consider your recipient's interests. If your aunt is a chef, consider knitting her a pair of oven mitts or hot pads. Or maybe you would like to make a blanket for your nephew featuring the colors of his favorite sports team. If you thought making your own gifts added a personal touch, incorporating something your recipient likes will put your gift over the top. * Know your talents. While the rest of the year is a great time to experiment with different artistic mediums, do what you know best at the holiday season, whether it be painting or sewing. However, even if you don't consider yourself an expert, you should still give making handmade gifts a shot, as it can also be good motivation to hone your skills. * Keep your ambitions in line with reality. If you haven't done it before, it might not be the best time to try knitting 30 tea cozies for all the PTA members. Making modest gift goals will help make your experience enjoyable, as opposed to stressful. * Consider comfort. Another way to make sure your crafting sessions remain enjoyable is to make sure you're comfortable when doing it. Products like crafting gloves, elbow rests and wrist support wraps, which are all offered at craft stores by Creative Comfort, can help take the aches and pains out of crafting sessions. * Safety first. Creative Comfort sewing and quilting tools can also help alleviate pain and reduce the risk of injury, but you should also be sure follow basic safety protocol. Keep sharp or harmful objects out of reach from children and follow instructions when operating or cleaning sewing machines or other crafting devices. Another great thing about handcrafted items is that useful items like blankets or towels last a long time, which will remind your recipient of the gift for years to come. If you haven't given thought to making your own gifts, perhaps this should be the year you try.

********** Published: October 7, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 25