From the Heart: In face of excessive consumerism, students should consider making handmade gifts during holiday season

As a 16-year-old girl, one might assume I spend countless hours on end shopping and going to the mall, as many of my peers do. To be fair, I was once in a similar place to those people, sleeping overnight outside waiting for the best deal on Black Friday and spending countless hours and money on gifts for family and friends. But after a few years of those activities, I had a revelation: these gifts that we spend so much time looking and shopping for will likely be forgotten within a month. Who can remember a single material gift they received last year for the holidays, or even your birthday, for that matter?

With that in mind, going into this holiday season I wanted to make a change and use my hobbies to do so. I have been knitting for seven years, and I often knit a scarf or hat to give as a gift for friends and family; every year, I receive huge “thank yous” and grateful hugs from them.

Rather than a store-bought item, a homemade, thoughtful gift for a loved one is irreplaceable. Nothing can compare to ripping open gift wrap to find a present that represents your relationship with the receiver and shows how much you care about them; a handmade gift immediately says, “ I’m thinking about you.” After all, it is the season for giving, and I can’t think of anything better than a homemade gift.

According to a March 2015 study published by Cornell University researchers in the Journal of Marketing, more people prefer receiving a homemade gift because illustrates that you care about them in a touching way.

Giving a homemade gift is also a chance to show off your special talents. Yes, this time of year we often hear, “It is better to give than receive,” but you can do both in one! While giving your present, you can also show off your special, hidden talent that you have been waiting to share.

Now that this holiday season is upon us, hopefully you’ll spend more time and thought instead of money on store-bought gifts. Despite the ease of buying last-minute gifts this season, take your talents to create a homemade masterpiece that will be treasured for many years to come.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Lily McAndrews at [email protected]

Want to make a gnome to gift a friend or family member? Read McAndrews’ in-depth tutorial at