The end of year is approaching and many of us are still searching for gift solutions. There are many questions we ask ourselves when we give a gift: Is it affordable? Is it sustainable? Where is my money going with this purchase? Can I maybe make something? Will they like my gift?... Well, I definitely don’t have all the answers for you, but hopefully these suggestions will help move your present quest forward. [Jump to Handmade, Experiences, Pay it Forward, or Support Local and Small Businesses]
The concept of making your own gift for someone can be nerve-wracking, but it can also be rewarding and more affordable than buying at a store. If you need help with gathering affordable supplies, read this article about finding art materials around your house. Create an artwork I believe that anyone can create art and everyone has their own style. You could make a large painting on canvas to gift or even a small thoughtful card can mean more than a $100 store bought item. If you don’t know where to begin, never fear! Our art instructors have made a series of drawing and painting tutorials to help you on your journey.
Gratitude Book People love journaling and recording parts of their lives, one gift idea is you could make a gratitude book for or with someone you care about. Licensed Art Therapist Katie guides you through the process. This would be a great way to reflect on the past year and prepare yourselves for the year to come.
Write a Song For the musically inclined, you could write a song. This could be a song you play and perform for someone yourself, lyrics that you gift to them, or a song that you produce on a program like GarageBand or Ableton.
Another great gift idea is an experience rather than a tangible item.
Plan an outing Organize a fun day filled with things the other person enjoys. It can be low cost like a picnic at the park or a day at the local museum. Gift of learning We all have those friends who love to learn and try something new. Why don’t you sign them up for a live virtual music or art workshop, or gift them a subscription to pre-recorded classes that have new lessons added each week.
Pay it Forward
Give the gift of caring this season by helping out other people with or in the name of your friends and family. Donations You can donate money towards a cause that your loved one believes in and many organizations will make note of that gift. For example the World Wildlife Fund will allow you to “adopt an animal” in the name of a friend and it will notify that person. Other organizations you could donate towards are local youth shelters, arts programs, community theatres, Zoos and Museums… just to name a few. Volunteer Sign yourself and your loved one up to volunteer somewhere together. This could be at a holiday soup kitchen, or an environment clean-up day, for example. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities around you.
Support Local and Small Businesses
When you do buy a gift from a store or online, think about buying it from a small business (and directly from them rather than from a third party). By doing this you’ll help these small businesses grow and you will be giving back to your community by being a small part of improving economic stability. Artist Prints and Merch Often buying artwork is pricy and expensive, but many artists now have online shops that sell more affordable prints of their art or even their art turned into everyday products like phone cases, office supplies, and throw pillows.
Specialty Stores Many small businesses are specialty stores, so it may take you slightly longer than just popping onto your major retail shopping app to find what you are looking for, but your money will go directly to those who have worked so hard to produce the products. If you need somewhere to start your search, view these lists of small black-owned businesses and LGBT businesses and artisans to support.
Let us know in the comments which of these gift ideas you have used or if there’s any more creative presents we may have missed. We hope this gave you some inspiration. Stay safe. Be Creative. And may the odds be ever in your favor this gift-giving season.
Sydney Davis-Campos is the Virtual Learning Coordinator at Able ARTS Work, Learn for Life. She has a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History. Sydney has worked at Able ARTS Work for almost 5 years where she has also held the positions of Art Instructor and an Assistant Program Manager.