The Artistically Recycled Item
Sound ambiguous? That’s the idea. Let’s just say, hypothetically, that maybe in the past you received a gift that wasn’t quite your style. Instead of letting your un-opened collection of John Denver’s Greatest Hits take up space under your stairs, think about whom you know might actually like 10 non-stop hours of country good times. Chances are, lurking beneath one of your friends’ sleek exteriors is a secret kitsch lover, or collectible-doll fanatic. If you’re inundated with kitty sweatshirts, cut one down to size and reclaim the front with a patch made from one of the old band t-shirts that you haven’t had the heart to throw away. Get creative, and get that closet cleaned out!
The Baked Good
Okay, any old cookie is not going to cut it when you’re calling it a present. So get fancy: Break out the pastry bag, make as many colors of icing as you can think of, and go to town decorating vegan cookies that are as much art as they are delicious. Holidays bear the tasty distinction of being a time for cookie making, so any variety you choose—gingerbread, thumbprint, sugar, or chocolate chip—will be the right one. Not a cookie fan? Then try your hand at international holiday treats such as panettone, stollen, or fancy spiced-banana bread. Don’t forget: Fruitcake is a weapon, not a gift.
Just sending along a cookbook isn’t very DIY. So, take your best-loved veggie cookbooks, make copies of your all-time favorite recipes from each, and then bind the best of the best together. If you’re feeling cheeky, go ahead and put a photo of yourself on the cover, preferably dressed as an elf. Note: make sure to check the copyright on each book unless your idea of a merry Christmas is sharing a holding cell with a guy named Tony the Knee Breaker. Most books allow for reproduction, as long as you aren’t trying to make a profit, which wouldn’t be much in the spirit of giving anyway.
The Fair Trade
Not a creative neuron in your gray matter? All thumbs when it comes to crafts? No problem. Even those who would sooner leave a lemon a lemon than turn it into lemonade can create something cost-free to fulfill gift-giving needs. Everyone is good at something. So, what is it? Can you shovel snow like nobody’s business? Do you know your way around a multi-use tool? These are what we like to call “skills.” Other people do not have these skills. Find someone who does not have your skills, and trade. Let’s say your mother is always eyeing the blown-glass art of a friend of yours, and he is always raving about your vegan artichoke dip. You show up for a one-on-one instructional cooking demo, and blammo, he gives you a glass ornament for Mom. Done and done.