Worth repeating: My love/hate relationship with homemade gifts

16 November 2017

I wrote this post four years ago after reading an article on homemade gifts in Martha Stewart Living. The link is still live, so I thought I’d run it again. Please think hard before giving non-perishable homemade gifts. The can be really hard for people to let go of.

I’m a little bit crafty. I love beautiful, handmade items. I knit as a hobby and especially appreciate hand knits.

But I almost never give an item I’ve knitted as a gift. And that’s because I’ve seen among my clients a real difficulty in giving up an item that was a gift. And it’s even harder to give up hand-made gifts, even if they’ve never been used or loved. Sometimes the gift recipient just doesn’t share the taste of the giver.

I hate to urge people not to give handmade gifts, because I think they can be so wonderful. (I do actually gift knitted items to people who have specifically asked for them.)

The current (December 2013) issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine has an article on creating hand-made gifts. The photos are scrumptious.

Bacon jam from Martha Stewart Living

This bacon jam looks delicious!

My big takeaway from the article is that there’s a wonderful middle ground between my reticence to give handmade gifts and my appreciation for the warmth and love behind handmade gifts. And that’s giving homemade edibles or other consumables. Gifts like homemade cookies, soap, condiments (bacon jam!), or the creative aromatics pictured below are fabulous ideas.

Aromatic extracts from Martha Stewart Living

Aromatic extracts: An unusual handmade gift

One year I gave away home-baked dog treats to my friends with dogs. (If that idea appeals to you, check out my dog-treat cookbook, You Bake ‘Em Dog Biscuits Cookbook). Another year I made and gave away biscotti. I remember the year my husband was in culinary school, he made gorgeous molded chocolates for gifts.

Making and giving a consumable gift is a great idea for those who feel the urge to make something for their loved ones. It’s a gift that will surely be appreciated. And one that won’t become clutter.

Photos by Maria Robledo. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2013. For the instructions on making bacon jam and aromatic extracts (and other great things), see Love to Give: Handmade Holiday Gifts.

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

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