By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
Homemade gifts are beautiful and thoughtful, and always an excellent option for a cash-strapped student. It’s win-win: you get to save money on lovely gifts, and during the countless hours that you spend creating your crafts, you’re not out there spending your student loan on Jägerbombs and shoes you don’t need. But crafty presents are definitely not the kind of thing you can start thinking about on December 23—so here are five ideas that you should get started on almost immediately if you want to get to those holiday parties.
1. Handmade soaps and bath salts. These are a great gift idea, and you can add personalized touches for people depending on the type of product you want to make and the scents you want to use. They can be super time-consuming though, especially when it comes to packaging all your soaps. You may also want to leave some time for inevitable mistakes and test batches. Check the Internet for tutorials and sources for the raw materials you may need.
2. Knitted things. I can’t knit, and you probably can’t either—but since it’s only November, you have plenty of time to learn and then create adorable wonky dishcloths for all your loved ones!
3. Baked goods. I used to think this was a quick DIY option for holiday gifting—after all, the baking part of the equation should take place pretty close to when you plan to give them away. But start early collecting packaging materials. You don’t want to just give someone a Tupperware of cookies to place under their tree. Getting creative with your baked goods’ boxes takes time and energy—try junk/craft stores like Vancouver’s Urban Source on Main and 15th for unique and thrifty decorations, and don’t be afraid to get the crafty portion out of the way early to save yourself some headaches.
4. Personalized picture frames. Maybe these won’t work for everyone on your list, but upcycling an old picture frame from a thrift or junk store can be a really inexpensive and thoughtful present. Try personalizing the frame to match the person’s interests. If your bestie recently got married, decorate a frame with memories from the wedding, or in their wedding colours, and include a nice print of you and your friend at the wedding. Sourcing frames can be challenging for this project, so give yourself lots of time.
5. Homemade candy. A step up from baking, this requires a bit more prep work and supply gathering, making it maybe not the cheapest option on this list. But, once you invest in candy moulds and other assorted supplies, you’ll have them for a lifetime of personalized Christmas yumminess.