Broke for the Holidays: Pledge to use homemade gifts

People are turning to homemade gifts this year--both out of revulsion at the big box shopping experience and for the sake of their own budgets. This fall one survey showed that 58% of people said they were "more likely" to give a homemade gift this year. Nearly the same portion said they would buy fewer electronics for gifts this year.

Granted, the survey was done by Michael's, a craft store. You know who hangs out in Michael's, don't you? The Martha Stewart type who is skilled at turning any pile of junk into something wonderful. But other stories have shown that even the disorganized are turning to homemade this year. They're expanding the meaning of homemade to include things like photo gifts, pretzels that you cover with chocolate yourself (sheesh, even I can do that) and scrapbooking. None of those things require the skill that say, knitting a sweater or building a dollhouse does.

If you're a novice and want to attempt a new craft, there are a ton of websites with videos to teach you how. Perhaps even better there is etsy.com, the site where people sell their own homemade goods. You'll find earings, pillows, prints, clothing, whatever. And they encourage you to take the handmade pledge, a movement to get shoppers to return to handmade goods, both to support local little craftspeople (who are for the most part just ordinary folks doing this on the side) and to curb the invasion of corporate sameness.

The craftsy people who created the pledge, which 33,000 people have signed, say its "a call to action for consumers to be conscious of how they spend their money this holiday season. We want people, whenever possible, to support independent creators and shop outside the big boxes."

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