When I reminisce about the best gifts that I have received over the years, I don’t think about clothes and jewelry, or about gadgets and appliances. I think about the gifts that were crafted with love and care—the gifts that were made with me in mind, and that will always serve as a reminder of the people who gave them to me.
Last year my holiday budget was smaller than usual, so I decided that instead of buying the women in my family expensive gifts for the holidays, I would put a new hobby to the test and make them jewelry out of beads and wire. I have always struggled with what to buy for my little sister—no matter what I put under the tree, it never seems to bring a believable smile to her face. The previous year’s gift was the worst—a Belgium waffle maker when she had just started a carb-free diet. But last year I gave her handmade earrings, and she wears them all the time. It was not only the most inexpensive gift I had ever given her, but also her favorite.
A similar revelation came to me before my wedding this last September. My soon-to-be mother–in-law threw me an amazing bridal shower. The gifts were piled high and ranged from practical to luxurious. But the gift I received that I will treasure the most was not an item I had listed on my registry, nor was it the most expensive. It was a stained-glass heart made by my aunt that contained my and my fiancé’s initials. She couldn’t believe I was more excited about her homemade gift than I was about the crystal pitcher she had given me as well—but I was. It was special in a way that nothing from a department store could ever be.
Now that the holidays are approaching once again, I am heading to the art supply store instead of the mall. This year everyone on my gift list will receive an original watercolor painting, not a mass-produced trinket or last-minute gift card. And of course, I am including with their gifts, a collection of Walter Foster books and kits, in the hopes that next year I might get something just as special in return.
As a special thanks to all of the aspiring artists out there, we are offering 40% off any online purchase this holiday season. (See the coupon below.)