It happens to all of us. You get a phone call or a text message with BIG NEWS. Your best friend is headed to the hospital to have her baby, your brother is moving into his new house in three weeks, or a co-worker is turning 30 and you’re invited to the big bash.
Most of us are busy, busy, busy. So even though handmade is your passion, and you want to make time to make a gift, when you’re hard pressed are hard pressed to come up with an amazing, thoughtful idea your brain suddenly shouts, “gift card!”
It’s an easy default, I know. But here’s a tip for those of us who are craft-inclined and don’t mind getting putting in the extra time to go handmade. Have a go-to plan.
Here are a few examples:
- Prepare a freezer meal. Whenever someone special going through a big, emotionally draining event the last thing they need to worry about is making dinner. Seriously, we all have to eat and we’ve all resorted to [insert terrible fast food chain or your choice] in a pinch. Receiving a pre-made meal is a lifesaver. Best friend just had a baby? You show up with freezer lasagna, in a disposable tray, with heating instructions. What a relief! [Need a freezer meal recipe? Check out some of the things my friend Kate made, like Salmon with Snow Peas & Sausage Jambalaya, here.]
- Choose one DIY and customize it. Choose a DIY or craft that you love and that you can customize for a almost any occasion. Need an example? If you’re good at sewing you might choose to make zippered pouches. (Sew Together created a great tutorial for drafting patterns here.) Play with your fabric choice, your embellishments, and the size and you’ve got tried and true gift idea that produces a custom result each time. So jet setting friend gets a larger bag for laptop, camera, and cell phone cables, your teacher friend gets a pencil/pen case, your friend who loves vintage gets a change purse.
Or when really pressed for time:
- Go semi-handmade with labels and tags. Brother just got a new house? You know you’re going to be packing and shelping boxes – for free – which is your real gift, but what if you still want to do something right now to say "Congrats!"? Drop off a bottle of champagne, but with a handmade tag that brings it from hum-drum to oh-my! [There are some adorable free printable labels available here from Salt & Paper.