The impending holiday season can bring about emotions from anticipation to delight. If you’re not organized, the season can bring feelings of dread to being overwhelmed. Choosing the perfect gift can be part of that dread if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or something especially unique. Handmade gifts are a special type of present if you possess the skills and the passion to make it happen.
Upcycling is one way to make gifts special – it is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or value. For example, my sister-in-law painted old school chairs and personalized them for the recipient. She painted a chair for me with the words “Live Simply and Simply Live” all around the base. It sits in my office to inspire me.
Here are a few upcycled gift ideas I’ve created over the years:
- An accent pillow made from a wedding dress or favorite t-shirt
- A tablecloth or dresser runner made from childhood dress material
- Twin size quilt made from 15 t-shirts
- Souvenir ceramic tile made into a mosaic end table top
- Framed cross stitch piece made into an accent pillow
- A stretched canvas from a treasured photo
We’ve all seen store fronts closing while on-line shopping explodes. I like to shop local to find one-of-a-kind gifts before I jump on the Internet and Small Business Saturday is one way to do that. Many of you probably have your favorite small businesses and entrepreneurs that you support, and this year November 30 is Small Business Saturday. Ten Thousand Villages, 240 N. Reading Road (Rt. 272) in Ephrata is a nonprofit fair-trade organization that markets handcrafted products from more than 35 countries. Here are a few of the other stores in the area that offer homemade treasures or upcycled gifts:
- Junk to Jazz, 2308 Lancaster Pike, Shillington
- It’s a Gift! 720 Penn Avenue, West Reading
- Bowers Photo, 135 N. 5th Street, Reading
Finally, you can also find “clutter-free” gift ideas on my website by clicking here. Gift cards, movie tickets, and 529 plan contributions are some of the gift ideas on that list. You can also choose a gift that donates a portion of its profit to a favorite non-profit agency of your choice. For 15 local clutter-free gift ideas from Berks County Living, click here. Happy gift-giving!