As Christmas approaches each year, there are essentially three different responses. The first is to avoid the subject altogether, especially when it comes to giving gifts. The second is to brim with excitement about act of shopping for loved ones, to really revel in choosing the perfect gift. The last response is a wave of anxiety and panic about what to give everyone.
Everyone wants to give a unique gift to the most important people in their lives. We all want to find something that reflects their tastes and interests while showing a little of our own gift-giving panache. Something that says, “Hey, I thought about this — and you.”
To quell some of the worry about finding something interesting and different enough, we recommend shopping handmade gifts. Choosing handmade supports the creator in a one-to-one relationship. When independent creators have total control over the vision for their products, the results are often unexpected and interesting, which can set your gifts apart from the rest. Even something as simple as a candle can be hand-poured, scented with a carefully considered aroma you might not find in stores.
Often these items are one-of-a-kind, or at least by dint of being handmade, imperfect in away that adds charm and shows the recipient that they have the only one quite like it on the planet. You also have the opportunity to peruse all the items a given creator has, giving you a sense of whether their aesthetic suits the person on your list. Find a style you think they’ll like and picking the item becomes a lot easier.
Remember when shopping handmade that it may take a number of days to make these items from the time it’s ordered. Make sure you take note of the creation time and plan ahead. These are gifts you’ll want to order sooner rather than later, as waiting might mean they don’t come in time to sit under the tree before Christmas morning.
This Christmas, give the people on your list the chance to own something made especially for them by shopping our list of the top 30 best handmade gifts.
1. Organic Shoulder Bag with Mitsuba Sashiko Pattern
Bags make good gifts because you can pretty much never have too many of them, especially if the recipient happens to live in a part of the country where there’s a charge for bags at the grocery store. This particular one features a hand screenprinted Mitsuba pattern on a bag that is dyed indigo by hand. It measures 14 inches by 16 inches and is made out of organic cotton with a gray waxed canvas bottom. This one comes from a shop in Oregon and takes about two weeks to create, so plan ahead.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Chloe Derderian Gilbert here.
If you're sick of dealing with tangled strings of lights, consider out list of the top ten best pre-list and pre-decorated Christmas trees.Click here to read more
2. Hella Slingshots Best Slingshot No.4
Childhood games with rustic implements make excellent nostalgic gifts. This is an authentic replication of the slingshots of old. Use it for target practice or to cause a little mischief at the campsite. This particular model measures between seven and ten inches tall and is finished in walnut with a handle twined in hemp. The sling itself is made of latex tubing and a leather pouch. It’s powerful enough to hunt with, so definitely use caution and make sure any children you give it to will be supervised at all times. You could also opt for a neon-colored model or the more neutral Best Slingshot No.2. Don’t worry, they’ll sell you some slingshot ammo, too. If you prefer something nonviolent, they make a nifty yo-yo.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Hella Slingshots/Bicycle Bolts here.
3. Lifetime Leather Co. Women’s Cosmetic Bag
If leather is on the list, consider this finely crafted item. Measuring 12 by 7 inches, this leather cosmetic bag is available in five different finishes: dark horween, natural horween, cognac, stone oil brown, and black. It features a nylon liner and an antique brass zipper. You can also kit this bag out by adding on a wristlet strap and personalized embroidery. They also make a small toiletry bag and a larger shave kit bag to match.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Lifetime Leather Co. here.
4. “Arizona” Handmade Wool Felt Ball Garland by Sheep Farm Felt
After the Christmas ornaments come down, some homes may feel a little barren, bereft of the colorful decorations of the season. Help someone on your list stave off the winter blues with a colorful wool ball garland to take their place on the wall. The balls themselves are one inch in diameter and you can choose between the following options: six foot garland with 24 balls; nine foot garland with 36 balls; 12 foot garland with 48 balls; and a 20 foot garland with 80 balls. The spacing can be adjusted simply by gently sliding the balls down the rope. The colors in this set are peach, coral, mint, cream, mustard, and navy. There are other color combinations, as well, including my favorite option of Classic Navy.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Sheep Farm Felt here.
Price: $18 – $42
5. Bright Beam Goods Yosemite Chevon Necklace
Made by hand in the vast country-within-a-country of Texas, this lovely pendant is hand painted on a piece of Baltic birch. The 1 3/4 inch pendant sits on an 18 inch sterling silver chain to make an elegant, understated piece. They offer other options from this collection, including this equally lovely Whitney Chevon Necklace.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Bright Beam Goods here.
6. M.F.E.O. Repurposed Grey Skateboard Sconce Lamp
Skateboard art has become something of a handmade staple. I have a painting doing on an upcycled skateboard deck, both because I used to skate, and because the shape and contours of the deck make for an interesting piece to look at. Those things are at play with this repurposed skateboard deck sconce. Handmade in L.A., this deck is available in the pictured gray finish or in natural wood tone. It also includes an LED bulb styled to look like a vintage piece. Even the cord is fashionable, wrapped in houndstooth pattern fabric. Unlike a lot of handemade items, this one ships for free. It takes a little bit to create, so buy early.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from M.F.E.O. here.
7. Knotty by Nature Decor Rustic Hexagon Shelf
Speaking of wall hangings, buying handmade shelves means you can get interesting shapes outfitted in custom options. Hexagons are big right now, and their pleasing shape makes for a great designer element. When buying this, you have lots of options. First, you can choose the size, between a small size of 11 inches by 9.5 inches or a large size of 15 inches by 13 inches. Next, choose a single hexagon or a set of three (you can get a set of five small ones here). Then, pick your finish among the following options: red mahogany, briarsmoke, carbon gray, weathered gray, dark walnut, early American, sunbleached, espresso, and American walnut. After that, you can choose to have the inside painted one of 21 colors, if you like. Finally, you can opt to have an interior shelf installed for even more space. Not only handmade, but offering enough variation that you as the gift-giver can customize your gift.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Knotty by Nature Decor here.
8. Crawlspace Studios Forest Landscape Whiskey Glasses
I can tell you from experience that whiskey drinkers like to have their own glassware for enjoying their tipple of choice. These forest landscape glasses will recall the tranquil feeling of a quiet forest while sipping on fine bourbon or Scotch. The ink is designed not to fade and is dishwasher safe, but as with any printed glassware, handwashing is recommended. For the beer drinker, they also make matching pint glasses.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Crawlspace Studios here.
9. The Practical Plankist Handcrafted Cherry and Walnut Wood Butcher Block Cutting Board
While wooden cutting boards are a frequently-seen handmade item, they tend to be in novelty shapes that make using them kind of difficult. As suggested by the name of this artisan, this butcher block cutting board is made to be as practical as it is stunningly beautiful. The checker pattern of cherry and walnut make for a gorgeous piece, which is finished in food safe beeswax and mineral oil. By positioning the grain vertically, scratch resistance is increased. It’s lovely enough to leave out on your counter all the time, and made smartly enough to keep your knives sharp. If you’re going to give a cutting board this nice, don’t forget to include a little cutting board tonic to keep it in top shape.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from The Practical Plankist here.
Price: $69.95 (13 percent off MSRP)
For the coffee drinker on your list, we've put together a list of the top 20 best coffee gift baskets to give as Christmas gifts.Click here to read more
10. Vintage Book Art Co. Octopus Love Upcycled Vintage Dictionary Art Print
Prints are the egalitarian objects of the art world. Prints make it possible to own close-to-one-of-a-kind pieces made by your favorite artists. This particular cephalopod-themed piece is printed on a random eight by ten dictionary page from the early- to mid-1900s. You’ll have to supply your own frame, but each one of these is a singular item, with no two prints sharing the same dictionary page. If you’re digging the octopus vibe, they have another option in that area, too.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Vintage Book Art Co. here.
11. Pierron Designs El Dorado Infinity Scarf
In the northern hemisphere, it’s going to be cold for awhile after Christmas, so scarves will always be a great gift. This infinity scarf measures 62 inches around by ten inches wide and features a southwestern style pattern. It also has a secret zippered pocket for storing cards and passports, which is handy if you don’t want to carry a purse or wallet on a given day.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Pierron Designs here.
12. Crawlspace Studios Mountain Range Hat
Crawlspace makes a second appearance on this list for this stylish cap. Baseball hats make good gifts for anyone young or old, and rather than being stuck with one emblazoned with a sports team, this one features a neat mountain design. Normally, handmade hats like this are only snapback, but you can choose to get this one in a fitted size.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Crawlspace Studios here.
13. Grindstone Design Reclaimed Wood Herringbone Coffee Table
In rustic colors strikingly similar to the hat above, this rough-hewn table features reclaimed wood in contrasting tones, laid out in a herringbone pattern. Standing a little over 17 inches high and stretching 46 inches, this makes a perfect coffee table either to complement other wood tones in a room or as a nice counterpoint to an all-white, high-gloss aesthetic. If your intended recipient might prefer it, they also make this table with metal legs. On this version, some easy assembly is required to attach the wooden legs.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Grindstone Design here.
14. Berkshire Bowls Blue Whale Decor and Puzzle
Equally good as a piece of art as it is a toy for young children, this whale puzzle will stand freely on its own when assembled. Each of the eleven puzzle pieces are cut to be shaped like a wave and painted in child safe acrylic blue and white paint. This is a gift that will last years as it becomes a treasured piece for a child who can use it as a household ornament later in life. You can get other fun creatures, like this yellow squirrel. Or, if you want to stay in theme for the holiday, there’s also this Christmas tree.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Berkshire Bowls here.
15. Barrels & Barn Wood Wine Rack
The wine rack we put on our unique gifts post is incredibly popular and sells well year-round. But what if you don’t want something with a name on it? This handsome design holds up to eight bottles, with options to lay some down and stand others up. All the materials are recycled, with the backing tin coming from old barn roofs and the sides from barns 100 years old or more. The rack measures 38 inches long by 18 inches tall and includes three mounting hooks.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Barrels & Barn Wood here.
16. Cardtorial Desert Garden Lasercut Wood Journal
Succulents are supremely popular right now, so it’s hard to go wrong with an item themed with them. This wood cover journal features a succulent garden laser cut in sustainable wood. The 160 pages inside are 24 pound black sheets, and measure five by seven inches. The back cover is of navy-colored vinyl. Makes a great keepsake for the avid journaler.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Cardtorial here.
For the rich or the rich at heart, here's our millionaire's gift guide of amazing gift ideas.Click here to read more
17. Fernweh Woodworking Black Walnut Desktop Edison Lamp
Funky lamps are gifts pretty much anyone can use. We all have desks, so having a desk lamp is an obvious way to accessorize. This neat little device is made of walnut with a contrasting gray painted end, fitted with an Edison-style bulb. The lamp measures seven by three by two inches and comes with a cloth-wrapped, seven-foot cord. If the walnut finish doesn’t do it for you, it’s also available in maple.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Fernweh Woodworking here.
From grills to watches, here are ten perfect presents for the dads on your Christmas list this year.Click here to read more
18. Worley’s Lighting Gem Lamp
Like I said, lamps are cool and they make good gifts. Many lamps are bought out of necessity as someone moves into a new dwelling, and they are infrequently revisited and upgraded. You can do the upgrading for them by giving this lamp whose gem-like base can be carved out of your choice of walnut, maple, or sapele. This whole piece is finished by hand, especially for your order.
Need more options? Browse more handmade lamps here.
19. ILUXO Boston Skyline Clock
Available in bamboo and walnut finishes, these skyline clocks are a modern reminder of your favorite city. With several options available, including Seattle, New York, Singapore, Dublin and more, you can give one to commemmorate a move or to remind someone of home. Each of these clocks is finished in Danish oil and can be purchased in either a 7 inch or 10 inch diameter. The hands require some easy assembly and will either be black or brass, depending on your choice of wood.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from ILUXO here.
20. Hand and Hide Leather Bicycle Tool Bag
Returning to fine leather goods, this one is aimed at the cyclist in your life. Particularly fitting for vintage bikes and cruisers, it measures eight inches wide by four inches tall by 3 1/4 inches deep. You choose between two types of five ounce leather: honey tone or medium brown with green tint. It features two straps for attaching to handle bars or crossbars, as well as a carrying handle. The unique closure ensures that everything within will remain dry, and the leather itself is water resistant. This comes with a lifetime warranty and is completely hand stitched and riveted.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Hand and Hide here.
21. Kahili Creations Dendritic Quartz Necklace #14
Craft fairs all over the world establish that jewelry is a hugely popular handmade item. There is no end to the many combinations of textures and styles for the crafty artisan. This piece features dendritic quartz, with black dendrites forming a delicate pattern within the crystal. Each stone comes with a silver chain, the length of which you can choose during checkout from lengths of 16, 17, or 18 inches.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Kahili Creations here.
22. 3-Switch Wine Glass and Decanter Set
Like their whiskey counterparts, wine drinkers like to have glassware dedicated to the cause. The glass in this set is hand blown in Chicago, and includes a decanter and two glasses. These are defintely unique, in that the bottom creates a top-like shape so that the glasses revolve when standing on a flat surface. The wooden base includes indents so that the glasses sit still while pouring. To complete this set, you can opt to have personalized etching in the wood for an additional $25 or a reclaimed barn wood gift box for $20. Interesting, handmade, and useful.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from 3-Switch here.
23. RomeoShop Stuffed Chameleon
Whether you opt to buy this for a child or a lizard lover, this adorable chameleon plush is sure to delight. Sewn by hand and made of cotton, this is a charming little toy made for anyone who loves bright colors and fun creatures.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from RomeoShop here.
24. Conquest Maps World Travel Map Pin Board
Is someone on your list a big fan of travel? From the heart of Ohio, blueprint-inspired Mercator map will help them keep track of all the places they’ve visited. Available in two sizes — 24 by 16 or 36 by 24 — this gorgeous piece will surely complement just about any decor. If it doesn’t, there are other options available, including Golden Aged and Rustic Vintage. The map is backed by 1/4 inch thick sheet of cork to hold the pins. As for the pins, two sets of 50 are included in the purchase, and you can choose different colors for each of the packs.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Conquest Maps here.
25. Christophe Pourny Studio Fire Starters
Perhaps you prefer a more practical, if ephemeral, gift. These pine cone shaped fire starters may be just the thing. Scented of pine, each of these 20 starters will burn for 20 minutes and are made of food grade ingredients so they can be used in grills. Delivered in a hand-stamped wooden box, they make an excellent gift for anyone who loves lighting a warm fire during the holiday season.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Christoph Pourny Studio here.
26. Embie Design Two States Map Art Print
Prints, though cheap, tend to be fixed to a single design. This charming two-state concept is customizable by several different options. First, you can choose your water color style from 12 color options. Print size is up to you, too, with options for five by seven, eight by ten, 11 by 14, and 12 by 16. The color of the hearts can be red or white. Then, of course, you can choose the state or country and the specific city within that will be connected in the design. Once again, you’ll supply your own frame, but with the options available here, you can create a piece specific to the person or couple who will receive it.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Embie Design here.
27. Tennessee Wicks Small Mason Jar Wall Sconce
Another handmade sconce option, this one decidedly more country-themed. Mounted to stained pinewood, these eight ounce jars are perfect for candles or flowers. They measure seven inches by a little over three inches and attach to the wall via twine. The company makes beeswax votives you could pair with these, as well as larger versions using full-size Mason jars.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Tennessee Wicks here.
We've compiled a list of the top ten best guitars for beginners to help you make the most of your hours of practice.Click here to read more
28. Olive Yew! Engraved Personalized Map Necklace
Returning briefly to location-based, customized items, these necklaces feature an address of your choosing engraved in gold, silver, or rose gold. Your choice of round pendant, vertical bar, or horizontal bar, the exact spot you want to highlight will be marked with a punched out heart. More than just being handmade, this is another option where the degree and style of customization ensures the piece you buy will be the only one like it in the world, specifically chosen to be special to the recipient.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Olive Yew! here.
Here's our list of the top 15 best chorus, flanger, and phaser pedals to add intrigue to your guitar tone.Click here to read more
29. Bertie’s Closet Herringbone Laptop Sleeve
Planning picking up one of the new MacBooks for someone on your list? Be sure to include a protective sleeve along with it, and better yet, a handmade one. This dashing herringbone-patterned sleeve is available in a wide variety of sizes, custom-made to fit certain computer models. The wool blend covers a six millimeter padding, while the inside is lined with red cotton fabric. There’s a secondary pocket on the front for any other accessories.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Bertie’s Closet here.
Here's our list of the top 30 best car cleaning kits, broken into categories to help you choose what you need to keep your ride gleaming.Click here to read more
30. Fitjewels Fitbit Alta Band
Christmas means the end of the year and the end of the year means that New Year’s Resolutions are coming. If you’ve already decided to get someone on your list the Fitbit Alta, don’t just settle for the athletic band that comes with it. Those are fine for workouts, but less than ideal the rest of the time. Fortunately, there are handmade options available to glam up the concept of wearing a fitness tracker. Available in three sizes, the band itself is made of leather, trimmed by fashionable stainless steel accents. Once you put the Fitbit in here, it blends right in with your dressy outfit.
Need more options? Browse more handmade pieces from Fitjewels here.
Didn’t find anything in this list? Not to worry. We have plenty of other Christmas lists for you to peruse from our whole team. If you’re shopping for an animal lover, consider our list of the top 15 best gifts for dog owners.