Growing up, my siblings and I had always been told the same thing as the holiday stress began to set in: “Just make something,” our parents would say. For a holiday in which purpose and meaning is often forgotten in the face of materialistic giving and getting, I’ve found that just making something is the best way to revive the Christmas spirit. Over the years, countless handmade ceramics, framed photographs, and mounted sketches have been exchanged within our family on Christmas morning. Having been on both the giving and receiving end of such special gifts, I can say from experience that these are often the most precious and memorable.
As a twenty-two-year-old, I still stand by the importance of giving at least a couple handmade gifts every year. But for those less inclined to bust out the art supplies or scroll through the DIY page on Pinterest, keep in mind that there are endless ways to put together a thoughtful gift. For example, this year I will be giving the gift of homemade canned goods. After an incredibly bountiful backyard harvest of cucumbers, peppers, and berries over the course of the summer, my mom, my sister and myself spent much of September canning and preserving our produce in vacuum-sealed mason jars. The result? Gift-sized servings of hot pepper jelly, blueberry and peach jam, sweet pickles, and various other pickled vegetables. Bundled nicely alongside a jar of homemade granola, we now have ourselves the perfect homemade gifts for friends, coworkers, and anyone else we’d like to wish a happy holiday. Give it a try this year—just make something, ya know?