The Best Gifts Are Handmade

Photo by Kleigh Balugo

By Tracy Fuentes

Rather than supporting the unethical and harmful practices of Amazon, Walmart, and other companies this holiday season, consider hand-making something for your loved ones. Plus, in the era of COVID-19, you can avoid the typical downfalls of holiday shopping such as large crowds and long shipping times.

Handmade gifts indicate how special your loved one is to you, as the receiver can see you put a lot of effort and time into the gift rather than picking out a random item at the store. You gain a lot from the gift as well, as hand-making your gifts allows you to be creative and feel a sense of accomplishment once you finish the perfect gift. 

Handmade Jewelry

Handmade jewelry is a great gift, and there are many different mediums you can use to create the perfect gift. Using beads, you can make earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. There are so many different types of beaded jewelry you could make as well. With letter beads, charms, and colorful beads, you can make a piece of jewelry that is truly personalized.

Searching on eBay or Etsy can help you find unique beads that match your friend’s personality. You could spell out the recipient’s name, an inside joke, or a reference to something they like. 

Another great idea is to make charms out of polymer clay and put it on a metal chain or glue on earring backs. Polymer clay is easy to use, and you simply put in the oven for it to harden. With polymer clay, there are tons of YouTube tutorials to inspire you. The charms could be of many different things your friend likes. 

For example, if your friend has been playing Animal Crossing nonstop, you could sculpt a bell bag or one of their favorite villagers! Other charm ideas include symbols or objects related to their favorite movie, show, or related to another fandom. You could also sculpt simple but cute charms, such as flowers and hearts. There are truly so many possibilities! 

Baked Goods

Baked goods and other consumables make great gifts. The gift is less likely to be wasteful, as it is something the recipient can actually consume and enjoy rather than letting your gift collect dust somewhere in a closet. 

Brownies, cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Oreo truffles would make great and easy to give gifts. Pinterest is full of creative ideas and recipes. Start paying attention to what type of sweets your friends and family scarf down. 

If you have decorating skills, you can make this gift even more personal by using frosting or icing to decorate a sweet treat with their favorite colors or something representing their interests.

Tote bags

Tote bags are versatile and practical. You can use them as a grocery bag, an overnight bag, or your daily bag. Using your painting or embroidery skills, you can make the cutest custom bags for your friends, and even make them match! 

Spell their names, paint a quote or character, or even embroider a whole garden. If you worry that you lack the artistic skills to decorate a tote bag, don’t worry! Iron transfers are a great way to personalize. You could iron on a collage of your favorite photos together or even a large photo of Timothee Chalamet.

Crocheted, knitted, and embroidered items

If you are a knitter or crocheter, you can make an abundance of gifts for your friends and family. Beanies, scarves, or bags are great small projects if you are still a beginner or don’t have as much time.

 If you’ve got the time, you could make them a colorful blanket, cardigan, or sweater. The gifts are practical and totally unique. If you prefer embroidery, you can buy plain shirts, hats, or canvas bags to embroider on. 

Beauty Products

If you have a friend or sister that is adamant about self-care, then homemade bath bombs, lotions, and body scrubs would make a great gift. Once again, they are consumables, so you know that your gift is actually put to use. 

Take note of or even ask what scents your friends and family prefer. You can buy and decorate mason jars or use cute packaging to store your gifts. Pinterest is your go-to stop for recipes and packaging ideas. 


A piece of artwork that is meaningful to your friends and family would be a great gift! Attempt to paint a portrait of them, their dog, or a scene from their favorite movie. If you are a digital artist, you can have the art printed and framed for them. 

When they walk past the art in their home, they will always think of you and your artistic talents. Your gift will be unforgettable.


Room and holiday decor are also items that can be handmade. Felt, paper, or plastic flowers could be used to make a Christmas or flower garland. Paint mason jars for them to have a cute place for their hair ties. Learn how to make rugs. Christmas ornaments could be made out of polymer clay, felt, salt dough, and much more.

Use colors that fit their room’s aesthetic. Paint or craft their initials for a personal touch. Buy a photo frame, maybe even one that can be painted or covered in stickers, and include your best photos together. There is sure to be a project to fit your loved one’s style and personality.

Homemade gifts guarantee your gift will be special and unique. Also, you’ll have a ton of fun making them! It is also a great way to pass the time during stay at home orders, rather than binging Gossip Girl for the twentieth time. 


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