Every year I say I'm going to cut back on how many gifts I need to buy for the holidays and every year that goes by the wayside pretty quickly. This year, though, I really made an effort to make gifts for individuals that are part of the large groups that receive gifts from me.
The first group is my besties at work. I have a group of about 8 women that I'm close with and they help keep me sane and happy at my job. We always exchange small tokens of appreciation with each other during the holidays to say thanks. They are all pretty avid readers (it's no wonder I'm friends with them) so I opted to make beaded bookmarks for them. I LOVE the way they turned out! While they are popular items on Etsy, they aren't usually sold in regular stores, so everyone was very pleased with them. They are really easy to make, the materials are inexpensive (especially if you're making them in bulk) and they are so pretty. I work in a really large office and even aside from my besties, I have interactions with a large number of fellow professionals as well as support staff each day. While I don't feel compelled to buy some large for each of these people, a small token of appreciation goes a long way to building goodwill in the office... and helps to ensure that when I need something done in a rush job, they are willing to help quickly. :) This year I opted to make the Martha Stewart Gingerbread Snowflake cookies. I made them last year for a holiday cocktail party and they were a huge hit. They're not technically difficult to do and they taste so yummy, but good grief are they time-consuming. I doubled the recipe because I needed 3 dozen cookies, but I forgot that my cookie cutter yields more cookies per batch than the recipe states. Which meant I made 4 dozen. Yeah, I'm tired just thinking about it. But, they turned out great and everyone that received one was very happy with them. My last big batch of homemade gifts was for the girls that I met 4 years ago while planning my wedding. We do a big holiday get-together every year and several people usually bring "party favors" for everyone - a holdover from the wedding planning days. Almost all of these girls have DSLR cameras, which made my choice of party favor pretty easy - a padded camera strap cover to add a little pop of color to the camera. I used the basic template here, modifying to add a lens cap pocket on each side of the strap cover. I tried to pick fabrics for each girl that fit their personality and style, so there was a wide range of colors and prints. I like how they turned out and am excited to make one for myself. :)
And now it's time to start trolling Etsy again so I can figure out what in the world I'll be making next year!