Handmade gifts an option for holiday shoppers

Elizabeth Wood, Staff Reporter

It’s like clockwork every year: we bid our goodbyes to our family and march into Black Friday with our heads held high, hoping to snatch the gifts we need off the shelf before someone else does.

If we don’t want to fight the crowds, we each boot up our computer and open a dozen tabs with the items we desire—frantically refreshing the page once it hits midnight.

However, there’s another alternative to the crowd fighting and internet brawl: handmade gifts.

While it may be easier to go to the store to buy a gift, a handmade gift is special and irreplaceable, said Hope Porter, a junior majoring in special education. She added that handmade gifts really show that a person cares.

“It makes me feel happy,” Porter said. “It’s like someone took the time out of their day to make something for me, and that’s always a good feeling.”

Luckily for students, if they are in a time crunch, they can buy gifts from the annual Holiday Art Sale in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

“I think homemade gifts are more unique and trendier,” said LeAnn Daubs, the office manager for the art and design department at Eastern.

Daubs added that she thought handmade gifts are better quality and more detailed oriented. Additionally, Daubs doesn’t think many people worry about costs when looking for or making a handmade gift.

“I don’t think people worry about saving money,” Daubs said. “They are looking for something special that matched someone’s personality, favorite color choice, or an item that would fit a certain location.”

Haley Caulfield, of Bethany, Illinois, says she thinks people appreciate handmade gifts more, no matter how good the quality is.

“I don’t think the quality matters,” Caulfield said. “It’s the thought that matters. It has more sentimental value, you cannot put a price tag on it. It has a deeper meaning.”

Making gifts has been a long-lost art as technology came into our homes, but with a little time and some supplies that can be found within your home, you could have a well-crafted snow globe.

Supplies for a snow globe can be easy to find, depending on how detailed orated it will be.

Caulfield says she makes handmade gifts for most occasions. She said materials for handmade gifts should not be too hard to find.

“Finding materials isn’t very hard when you think outside of the box,” Cauldfield said. “It really helps make them unique.”

In particular, a snow globe can be made from a mason jar or a snow globe kit, which can be easily found on Etsy or Amazon for about $10 to $20. According to Martha Stewart’s blog, “12 of Our Most Popular Homemade Christmas Gifts on Pintrest,” all you need for the inside is a small figurine, distilled water, a couple of drops of glycerin, water resistant glue, and glitter. However, make sure to use big and chunky glitters because fine glitters will disappear in the water.

1. The figurine needs to be glued to the base of your snow globe. The figurine can be anything: a toy, keychain, Lego, or a clay sculpture. Make sure the figurine is firmly in place, so it doesn’t pop off the base whenever the snow globe is shaken.

2. Once the figurine is properly glued down, the mason jar or glass dome can be filled with distilled water. When filling, make sure to place the base, and the attached figurine, into the water as it gets closer to the top to see where the water’s level is. This can help prevent the water from overflowing during the final steps.

3. After putting the distilled water into your snow globe, you’ll add a couple drops of glycerin, this will allow the glitter to stay suspended in the water. There isn’t a set amount of glycerin to add into the water, but the more that is put in will allow the glitter to fall slower.

4. Once the glycerin is place into the water, glitter can be added to your preference.

5. Lastly, the base will be glued down. For this, you’ll place glue on the inside of your mason jar lid or the base of your snow globe before they are slowly put together. Usually, silicon is recommended for a tighter sealant, but hot glue will also work.

Of course, a snow globe doesn’t necessarily need a figurine inside it, a minimalist snow globe, one with just glitter inside, would also make a beautiful gift. With the minimalist approach, one can always etch snowflakes or designs on the outside glass to create an elegant look.

A snow globe can take anywhere from an hour or over a couple of days, depending on how detailed the gift is or how long you plan to browse the shelves of a local art store.


Elizabeth Wood can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].