Posted by Dave on January 3, 2014
I’m not really what you would call a “Christmas Guy” when presents come up. My wife and I have 3 different family Christmases, along with several other parties that we go to every year. While I enjoy the food and visits, I feel both stressed and perturbed when it comes to presents for people – especially for the family. Both my wife’s and my own family have a set-dollar “secret Santa” exchange, where there’s an obligation to buy a gift of a certain amount. I have lobbied to rid all gift exchanges with my family, as I would prefer to just eat and visit.
I have two nieces, two and three years old. Like most kids, they have tons of toys, clothes and other “kid stuff”, and really didn’t need anything for Christmas this year. I wanted to give them something though, and spent a long time scouring the Internet looking for something unique. I settled on a “Minion” toque, which I thought was cute and not widely available at stores (that I have seen anyways). The main source of these hats were on Etsy, where people had handmade and put them up for sale.
My wife is a knitter, and is constantly making unique bags, hats, socks or other things. I’ve watched her do it, and although it seems super difficult, all it boils down to is making hundreds of knots in a specific manner. So, rather than paying someone else to do it for me, I decided to learn how to make the hats myself (crocheting).
Learning to crochet took quite a bit of time, but watching tons of youtube videos and practicing, I was able to (step-by-step) learn the necessary stitches that were needed to make my nieces hats. Rather than surfing the internet and watching Netflix, I crocheted and watched Netflix and made my nieces hats in the month of December.
Having this skill, I also made hats for my friends for part of their Christmas present. I found the whole experience much more rewarding than just going to the mall and dumping money at different stores. Looking at my nieces presents, the alternative to the minion hats I made for them would be a book or a toy, that (best case) would be enjoyed in a short period of time and promptly ignored. At least with the hats, one of us got something out of the present (I now know how to crochet).
Christmas leads to a bunch of waste – presents that nobody wants. The hats I made for my nieces and friends, I made with my own hands, learned a skill and will hopefully be worn at some point. I am currently looking for different “projects” for next Christmas that I can make for my friends. My main goal is to find something simple (so I can actually make something that doesn’t look like I made it when I was 8) but useful, and be able to learn something new while I’m making it.
Are you a DIY’er for gifts? If so, what have you made in the past?