Homemade Gifts versus Store Bought Gifts

Posted by Mrs Money on December 2nd, 2010


Last year I questioned whether or not secondhand gifts were acceptable.  My reasoning behind that was that I wanted to purchase my niece some clothes for Christmas, and I could purchase a lot more when I shopped at second hand clothing stores.  In the end, I ended up purchasing new clothes for her on sale.  I just didn’t want to create an awkward situation.  I will say that if someone gave me a gift that they really thought I would like that came from a thrift store, I would definitely not be offended.  There are many times people have given me things that were used that were unique and I ended up loving.

This year I want to focus on making gifts for people, as I do every year.  I’ll end up purchasing gifts for some people on our list, but I’d rather make things as a creative outlet, to show people I really care, and to help save money.  I really like when I make someone a gift that while I’m making it, I think about them.  I think about how much they will love the item I’m making, and how much I care about them.  It’s awesome.

I started to get self conscious about my homemade gifts.  Sure, I enjoying making soap, knitting dishcloths, and making candy cane sugar scrub.  Last year when I gave my aunts reusable cloth bags with soap, tea, and handmade dish cloths, they all really enjoyed them.  I have given my neighbor a few dishcloths and some lotion as well, but I can’t help that my gifts are inadequate compared to what she’s given us.  There are many times she’s asked us to let out her dogs, and we happily do.  Every time we let them out, she gifts us with a $10 Starbucks gift card, or a neat picture that we really like, or just a nice little trinket.  Each time we tell her it’s unnecessary, that we’re happy to help her out, and she continues to give us gifts.  I’ve been trying to tell myself that if she didn’t want to do it, then she wouldn’t.

I worry that some of the recipients would be happier with a store bought item, so I’ve decided that this year I’m going to figure out who would really appreciate something hand made and make something for them.  For my father in law, I’ll probably get a photo that I’ve taken printed at a professional lab and frame it.  I did that a few years ago and he still talks about it.  It’s nice because he’s hard to buy for, and I like that he appreciates my photography.  With my sister, for instance, I’ll end up purchasing something for her.  She wouldn’t like a handmade scarf or socks quite as well as some Bare Minerals makeup, so I’ll end up buying her something like that.  I’ll make sure to ask her first what she wants.

I’d love to just get everyone a $25 prepaid gift card that they can spend wherever they want, but I don’t think that’s a great present (I’d be happy with it though!).

When it comes to homemade versus store bought gifts, which do you prefer?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...FacebooktwitterrssinstagramFacebooktwitterrssinstagram

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you
Subscribe to my RSS feed!

17 Responses to “Homemade Gifts versus Store Bought Gifts”

  1. Catherine says:

    I specifically told people this year to consider giving me items that were “pre-loved” or basically – thrifted, found, unloved THINGS that would not have to be manufactured again just for me. My mom was especially excited when she saw that she has a bunch of my wishlist items laying around being unappreciated. 🙂 I do like the occasional new DVD or Video Game (although, it’s nice to wait and buy these things on half.com in “like new” condition), so I’m certainly not AGAINST anything straight off the shelf, I just wanted my friends and family to know that I would appreciate the though put into a gift more than the $$$ behind it.


    Mrs Money Reply:

    Catherine- That’s awesome you did that! I’d love to know what you end up receiving as gifts this year.


  2. Jenny says:

    I think you’re extra thoughtful. I doubt very many power shoppers stop and wonder if they should learn to knit dishcloths for some of their loved ones. My husband and I are making our gifts this year–all but two that I can think of right now–and we aren’t changing our plans for hard-to-gift people either. We are going to do our best to think of something everyone will enjoy that we can make. I am making a lot of upcycled wool stuffed animals (I’ve been blogging about it, it’s really inexpensive and fun!) and my husband is making beef jerky and a few woodworking type items. We decided to do Advent Conspiracy this Christmas, and make a donation with the money we save. I don’t feel too bad about making everyone’s gift. The people who won’t be happy with a handmade, heartfelt gift probably wouldn’t like what I picked them out at the store, anyway.


    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jenny- Aww thanks! Your wool stuffed animals are ADORABLE! And how thoughtful. If I were the recipient, I would cherish that. Of course, you know I love it too because you made them out of recycled materials. 😉

    I think I need to stop worrying about whether or not they will like the things. Thanks for your input!


  3. Jenny says:

    Oh, and I also wanted to say that I’ve never enjoyed preparing for Christmas quite as much as I am this year. I really hope everyone likes what we make, and if they don’t, I at least hope they love it because they love us and we made it. There are a couple of people who have never made me anything and if they did, I would definitely treasure it no matter what it was. But of course, those are the power shoppers and the check writers.


  4. Heather says:

    I prefer something that is well-suited to me. I don’t care if it’s purchased new, purchased used, home-made, whatever. For example, I wouldn’t enjoy the gifts you gave your aunts, not because it was home made but because it really just doesn’t suit me. I’ve received several handmade things that I loved and a zillion store-bought things I haven’t.

    So yeah, as long as it suits the recipient, go down whatever path you see fit!


    Mrs Money Reply:

    Heather- Totally true! It is so hard to shop for some people though! I could find a million things I would enjoy 😉


  5. Hmm I guess I don’t really have a preference, and I don’t mind them re-gifting as long as its something that suits me.

    (I personally try to re-gift if I can myself too!)


    Mrs Money Reply:

    youngandthrifty- I think that’s exactly the point- as long as they will love it, it doesn’t matter where it came from. Agreed!


  6. Good question–I think it depends on who it comes from. My sister is super crafty and talented, and I will love her homemade gifts. My aunt is extremely good at knitting, so receiving something handmade from her is a total pleasure (and heirloom). And some of my other relatives are known for their great crafts and hobbies, so I would love a handmade gift from them.

    Some people aren’t as crafty though, and their effort could be used on something else (I really don’t mean for that to sound mean…:)). This includes myself to an extent!

    By the way–for my friend’s wedding shower I made wine glass tags (little beaded ones) that you put around the stem of a wine glass so you know which is yours. That is a great gift to make for others (at least in my humble opinion), and it is quite easy and inexpensive. Plus you get to be creative!


    Mrs Money Reply:

    Amanda- LOL I totally know what you mean. Some crafty type things are just…. weird! Wine glass tags are an AWESOME idea! I think I may make that for my mother in law! Thanks!


  7. Joe Plemon says:

    We (my wife more than me) give homemade gifts. We try to personalize the specific gift to the recipient and it seems to work pretty well. Yes, gift cards would be much more simple, and sometimes we give those as well.

    As for me, I would rather receive a homemade gift just because I know that, with the gift itself, I am also receiving a gift of the time it took to make that gift. When someone gives me their time, I appreciate it!


    Mrs Money Reply:

    Joe- I did gift cards last year for my siblings and they were fine with them. I just wish I could have found them something they love. But I guess with the gift cards they bought something they love!

    I agree with you. 🙂


  8. Lisa says:

    I don’t mean to be critical of anyone’s comments, but I think it’s important to be accepting and grateful of the gifts we receive, whether they are store-bought or homemade. I have made homemade gifts in the past when I was younger, but I guess I would now be considered more of a “power shopper” or a “check writer”. But the reason I give mostly storebought gifts is NOT because I don’t care enough to make gifts for others. My parents are elderly and living on an extremely limited income. For them, a gift of postage stamps, batteries, their brand of vitamins, etc. is much appreciated and preferred over a homemade gift – not because they wouldn’t appreciate something homemade, but because buying them one or more of these items saves them from having to buy them from their meager Social Security check.

    I also have a sister who has six children, and they are also on a very limited income. There have been Christmases where there was nothing in their Christmas stockings but pieces of fruit and socks/undies, and under the tree there was only one package per child – a new pair of jeans and a shirt, a pair of PJs, etc. It has been a relief to my sister to know that Auntie and Uncle would see to it that each of her children would have at least one “exciting” toy under the tree each year. So there is a place (and often a need) for storebought gifts.

    I also think it’s important not to say “I’m not going to worry about whether people like what I give them or not. We make homemade X or Y for people for Christmas gifts, and if they don’t like it, too bad!” Well, how is that any different or better than the “power shopper” who just goes out and buys lots of random sale items, then comes home and wraps them up, with no thought as to whether the individual will like the gift or not? The important thing – whether the gifts we give are storebought or homemade – is to give from the heart, with some thought put toward trying to give something the recipient will like and appreciate.

    I think the best thing to do is, buy or make the gifts you plan to give, with thought and care as to giving a gift that the recipient will enjoy, and not judge whether others are choosing to buy or make the gifts they give. And to Mrs. Money, trust me, your neighbor is giving you those “Thank-you gifts” because she truly wants to and it makes her feel good to give to your family. She appreciates you and it gives her joy to show her appreciation in this way. So thank her for the gift and enjoy! :o)



  1. Tweets that mention Homemade Gifts versus Store Bought Gifts | Ultimate Money Blog- Save Money and Live Green!, Ultimate Money Blog- Save Money and Live Green! | Homemade Gifts versus Store Bought Gifts, Ultimate Money Blog- Save Money and Live Green! » B 03 12 10
  2. The 5 am Cup of Tea – A New Staff Writer, December Bargains, Cheap Gift Wrap, | Not Made Of Money 05 12 10
  3. The 5 am Cup of Tea – A New Staff Writer, December Bargains, and Cheap Gift Wrap Edition « 05 12 10

Leave a Reply

  • About

    Welcome! I'm Mrs. Money and I lead a frugal, simple, and debt free life on a modest income. I make money online to help support our family. I believe in saving money, living green, and enjoying life!

  • Find Us on Facebook!

  • Instagram Feed

  • Categories

  • Archives