No doubt, most of you had to suffer this year's holiday hustle and bustle searching for the perfect gifts. You probably spent way more time in lines than you cared for and had to endure the sassiness of others. This time of year is supposed to remind us to be giving and kind without expecting anything in return. However, the holidays can bring out the worst in frenzied shoppers. As a solution to this problem, my significant other and I decided that we were not going to participate in the madness that ensues right before the holidays and instead, made each other handmade gifts this year. There are many wonderful reasons why making or buying handmade gifts for the people you care about is unarguably better.

Most important of all, your gift will be unique. When you make or buy a handmade gift, it is specific to the person receiving the item. When the person you love opens their gift, they will instantly recognize all of the thought and efforts that went into making it. For example, instead of receiving a normal chess set that anyone could buy at the store, my boyfriend made one for me completely by hand. He created the beautiful chess board by burning the squares into the wood with a blow torch and creatively fashioned chess pieces using aluminum and copper wires shaped by pliers. I know that there is not another chess set like it in the world and that every time I see it, I will appreciate all of the time and energy he put into his gift to me.

Making a gift by hand is also a pleasant creative outlet. Not only will you have the opportunity to get your creative juices flowing, which can be extremely therapeutic, but there is a great sense of accomplishment when you finish your work. You will be thoroughly pleased to see the recipient’s reaction to your creative efforts. It was so fulfilling when I witnessed how much my handmade gifts were adored by the people I made them for this year. I was very proud of my work and genuinely knew that they enjoyed their handmade items.

Not an artist or do you lack crafty skills? You can always support local art by purchasing handmade items from makers in your area. Even though you did not make the object yourself, the people you care about will be satisfied to receive a present that is one-of-a-kind. You can even custom order handmade items so that the gift is more specific to the person you are buying it for. It is also an interesting experience to meet the maker of the handmade objects. It will give you gratification knowing that you are helping their business, putting food on their table, and allowing them to purchase more supplies so that they can continue the work that they love. Some handmade items may be a little more expensive than those found in stores, but keep in mind that you are paying for uniqueness, durability, and quality.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to make or buy your handmade gift. You do not want to be rushing to finish your item the day before, just to wish you had started the process earlier so that your gift could have reached its full potential. It is also hard to find the perfect handmade gift in stores at the very last minute. Plan ahead and make sure you purchase items well ahead of time. This will give you the opportunity to customize your gift in a timely fashion if desired.

The next time you are in a position to give a gift, try taking the handmade route. Not only will you avoid unnecessary stress at chaotic stores, but your gift will be very special and inimitable. The joy and accomplishment you will feel when you see your considerate thoughts and talents adored are unmatched.