Marcella Frederick of Columbia buys her fleece fabric at Hobby Lobby. She said fleece blankets she has sewn have been popular gifts for her grandchildren, who are 3 and 5.
Receiving a homemade gift rather than a retail item is usually more personal and thoughtful than an item bought from a store.
Robert Snyder, general manager of Columbia’s Hobby Lobby, said it starts stocking holiday craft supplies as early as July. Some projects require more time than others, and people will start buying supplies as soon as they appear on shelves.
“Fleece is the most popular fabric we sell, and we sell it all year round,” said Cecile Mazan who works in the fabric department at Hobby Lobby. “It sells for about $6.99 to $12.99 a yard.”
Mazan said people usually buy fleece to make blankets like Frederick, but scarves and ponchos are also ideas for holiday gifts.
The “no-sew” fleece blanket is a great homemade gift idea for people who don’t have sewing experience.
Judy Schoendorf, an art instructor at Michael’s craft store in Columbia, said some craft projects are fairly easy and inexpensive, such as making Christmas wreathes or individual ornaments.
“You could even dress teddy bears in outlandish outfits, or if you’re talented, you could knit something,” Schoendorf said. “Jewelry makes a good gift. I made all the jewelry that I’m wearing.”
Craft stores offer numerous craft kits to help even the most inartistic person create anything from jewelry to ginger bread houses. You will also find supplies to decorate wooden birdhouses or frames. Other craft ideas are designing tote bags, painting ceramic figures or creating needle-work.
Michael’s offers several holiday-related craft classes throughout December. The cost is $10 for the class, plus the cost of supplies.
“You don’t have to be talented,” Schoendorf said. “You’ll learn technique in one class.”
Food and drink are other options for homemade gifts.
There are several online resources for holiday crafts and recipes, such as www.allfreecrafts.com/christmas. This Web site suggests Chocolate Holiday Spoons as a gift idea.
To make, buy plastic spoons (in festive colors if possible) and dip them in melted chocolate chips. Place them on wax paper and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.
After the chocolate is cooled, spoons can be wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow. Place them in mugs with cocoa or coffee packets to create the perfect gift for a cold winter night.
Holiday jar mixes can be created using a favorite cookie, cake or brownie recipe. Large, clear jars are found at most grocery or kitchen supply stores.
Using your recipe, measure individual dry ingredients and layer the ingredients in a jar to create a “sand art” look.
Attach a tag that explains what wet ingredients to add. Baking time and temperature should also be included. Decorate jars with ribbon, cloth or small objects.