Opinion | Handmade gifts sow sentiment

By Maggie Knutte, Senior Columnist

It’s that time of year again. Flowers, chocolates and stuffed animals fill the shelves of every local grocery store. Valentine’s Day is a holiday for expressing love, whether that be with a significant other, a friend or a family member. 

Finding a gift for that person you care about can be stressful. Choosing a gift that shows them how much you care can be difficult — not to mention expensive. For busy college students who barely cough up enough money for groceries each week, fancy gifts are out of the question. 

Consider this: Create a handmade gift. 

A handmade gift expresses intimacy that store-bought Lindt truffles cannot, no matter how delicious they are. Putting personal work into a gift shows the person receiving it that they are worth your time and effort.

Store-bought gifts are sometimes created unethically. Many name brands have unethical practices, whether it be large contributions to pollution or poor treatment of workers. It can be hard to know what gifts you are buying from the store are made ethically. If you make the gift yourself, you don’t have to worry about the ethics behind the gift. 

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Handmade gifts can cost virtually nothing if you already have the necessary materials. Making something such as a paper flower bouquet is super cheap. Paper flower bouquets also last longer than real flowers, and don’t require any additional care. 

Many may think that handmade gifts are only for people who are “crafty” or “skilled,” but you don’t need to have any experience — or even creativity — for some homemade gifts. For many handmade gifts, you can find tutorials online on places like YouTube or wikiHow

Store bought gifts usually aren’t very special. Millions of the same cute little teddy bear are produced to be sold, but when you make your own teddy bear, there is no other like that one. 

For some, store bought gifts might be the best option. It is okay to not create a gift for someone from scratch, but consider purchasing from small businesses.  

If you find yourself wanting to gift something handmade, but don’t have the time or skill level for the gift you want to create, browse the online store Etsy. Full of creative, handcrafted gifts, Etsy is the perfect place to get a gift for someone special. On holidays, it often provides suggestions for gifts. 

To give it that extra touch of personalization, some products on Etsy allow you to customize them, adding initials or pictures to them. Some of the custom products they sell include custom posters, mugs and shirts. 

Etsy has a selection of paper flower bouquets, ranging from very cheap for a simple design to more expensive for an intricately constructed one. They also sell templates for you to make your own.

Making a gift for someone allows you time to think about how much they mean to you while you are creating the gift. This can also be time for you to relax and not worry about school or work. 

Crafting DIY gifts can also benefit your mental health and put you in a better mood. You might even want to spend time with someone special to you making gifts for each other, like taking them to a pottery shop where you make each other custom mugs. 

Whether the gift be homemade or store bought, you might want to consider the love language of the person you are creating a gift for. If their love language is food, think about baking them something they will enjoy. If their love language is time spent together, maybe create paper cards with different activities for the two of you to do together. 

Handmade gifts are thoughtful and timeless. They can be gifted on any occasion, and are sure to be remembered by the receiver. Unlike that empty box of Lindt truffles in their trash can, your paper flower bouquet will always be the centerpiece of their table — and their heart. 


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Maggie is a sophomore in Media.