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Tough economic times lead to a DIY Christmas

With the current stranglehold on the economy, many people are looking for budget friendly gifts to supplement their buying needs for the holidays.

A quick internet search helps find where the deals are, but what if the prices are still over your budget? Do-it-yourself gifts go back to a time when mass production was yet to find its way into the modern vernacular.

Many of the DIY ideas that are found on the internet generally require some form of craftiness.

There are a number of websites that can help those on a budget try all different sorts of crafting presents—from making fragranced bath salts to hand painted photo frames.

“This year is going to be a lean Christmas,” Tammy Werle, a single mother of two said. “We are doing more personal, crafty gifts for one another, instead of shopping at Walmart this year.”

Werle and her daughters have been collecting crafting items, in an effort to spread the cost of Christmas over the course of the year.

She found plain wooden frames at a local craft store for a buck a piece. Now that a new baby has arrived in the family, she plans on hand painting the frames and filling them with photos of her new granddaughter.

Werle’s mother, Virginia Waller, has echoed the need for crafting gifts and makes her own jewelry for the holidays as gifts.

“We have always been a family that makes gifts for one another,” Waller said. “But this year, it has been a difficult time, financially, so we are doing less shopping and making more handmade gifts.”

One of those gifts is the homemade bath salts that she and her daughter were making over the Thanksgiving holiday. They had several bath salt recipes which they had collected over the years, including one that is chocolate scented.

The bath salts are an easy combination of sea salt, Epsom salt and baking soda, combined with essential oils and food coloring poured into decorative jars with personalized labels for the recipient.

In addition to painting frames, making jewelry and making bath salts, this family of homemade gifts ideas has been crocheting a variety of items for the family and friends that will be home for the holidays.

Waller’s daughter-in-law, Glenda Horne, has been crocheting for months, not only for herself, but for others that are looking for unique gifts.

“I have been crocheting hats, scarves and gloves this year,” Horne said. “My husband has been my model and advertising guru, because he wears my crocheted skull caps around town and people see them and want them.”

One of the new items that Horne has been crocheting is called an apple koozie – a crocheted holder for apples that can be used in the kid’s lunch or to take an apple to the teacher.

The biggest hit that this crafty family has gifted over the years is a mixed jar of instant coffee, powdered creamer, hot chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as sugar (optional). This family calls it Fireside Coffee and give jars of it to friends and family for the holidays.

The coffee and the other homemade gifts have become a tradition over the last few years for these crafty women. Even if the economy turns around and they are able to purchase gifts, they say that these new traditions are here to stay.

There are numerous other ideas that one may craft for the holidays, including: homemade cards – some stock paper, envelopes and a holiday stamp, add glitter or paint the card for the personalized touch; a jar of premixed cookies or cake with directions printed on a unique card; or a bag of lavender sewn and personally decorated for your mom or sister – add their initials and a ribbon on the top of the bag so that it may be hung on the door knob. Or buy some inexpensive small canvases and paint your own masterpiece.

It doesn’t have to be a Picasso, but you never know—this could turn out to be your hidden talent.

Regardless of the route that you chose, perform the craft with love and joy so that the gift will be remembered for years to come.

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