Make it a No-Fail Gifting Season

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If you're a maker, chances are visions of handmade gifts are already dancing in your head. And while "it's the thought that counts" is certainly a nice idea, the reality is that gifting handmade takes work — so you really want your present to hit the bullseye. Here's how to get set up for success:

Get personal

One of the best things about making gifts by hand is that they're made JUST for the recipient and no one else. Prove it by stitching on initials or a personal message that only you two will fully appreciate. Even something as simple as using your friend's favorite colors shows how much you care (and ensures they'll totally love it).

Make it cozy

This is the no-brainer of seasonal gifting — but also part of the charm. If it's fluffy, fuzzy, cuddly and warm, it's a win for winter holidays. Homemade mittens, scarves, hats or socks are always a great pick, as are afghans or quilts, if you're thinking big.

That said, it is possible to get carried away. Don't give Aunt Matilda who never wears hats a homemade beanie, and watch out for wool allergies too.

Think outside the box

You might be tempted to always stick with what you know when it comes to making gifts, but that's also a good way for you (and your recipients!) to get bored. Personally, I'm an illustrator. After years giving framed illustrations and prints as gifts, I decided to branch out. I put on my product designer hat and created objects featuring my art — and a whole new world of gifting opened right up!

I've designed mugs, yoga pants and stickers, which have all gone over extremely well with my friends and family.  For knitters and quilters, what if instead of knitting or sewing an entire object, you knit a swatch or sewed a block, took a picture, and printed it on a mug?!

Wrap like a pro 

Dont' miss the chance to make the packaging of your gift as personal and creative as what's inside. (Bonus: you've probably got all the supplies you need already.) Try wrapping your gift in fabric scraps, bundling up the package with pompoms or sewing reusable gift bags.

Finally, accept that handmade's not for everyone

The fact is, some people will "get it" and others might not. For instance, your ornery cousin who always says "but you could buy this for a dollar" about homemade items might not be the most appreciative recipient for your masterpiece. But your aunt who used to knit years ago will definitely give that cabled scarf a loving home.  Your time's precious. Gift accordingly.

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