Give Thoughtfully: DIY gift ideas

by Amelia

Looking for gift ideas you can make yourself? Need activities to keep your hands busy at a mobilizing, energizing #GiveTheFuture party? You’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 simple ideas to get you started.

We’re always looking for new ideas for anti-capitalist holiday celebrations. Share with us on Twitter and Instagram using #GiveTheFuture.

  1. #GiveTheFuture printables! The fabulous Ming Thompson, of Atelier Cho Thompson and the late lamented Ming Makes Cupcakes, has created a set of beautiful #GiveTheFuture holiday cards you can download, print, and send to let your loved ones know you’ve given in their honor.
  1. Coloring pages! This is super fun for a low-key party. Would you like to color some horrifying freehand Trumps, along with a donation to an organization working for racial justice? Or perhaps you’d prefer Super Strong Princesses, paired with a donation to EMERGE America to support women running for elective office. Or, choose abstract, nature-inspired designs like these, with a donation to a group working for climate justice. All these examples can be downloaded for free. And, having colored carefully, you might consider using Mod Podge to make your creation into a beautiful keepsake box or bookmark to give.
  1. A present for breakfast lovers: fancy made-ahead pancake and waffle mix. Stick some in a mason jar with a fancy label and some basic instructions. Here are recipes for plain, apple cinnamon, and buckwheat.  And what goes better with breakfast than a donation to an organization that supports and protects LGBTQIA+ families and individuals?
  1. Do you have a loved one who is…less tech-enabled, shall we say? A perfect gift for the person who has everything but doesn’t know how to Google is a curated YouTube channel. Think of your favorite videos: sneezing panda, the maple kind, the lobster kid, you name it. Say 30 minutes of material. Then make a YouTube playlist. Give the link with a sweet note on our printable holiday cards, and a donation to support civic engagement. Watch. Giggle.
  1. Shrinky-dinks. Yes, shrinky-dinks. We all* remember the awesome branded ones from childhood, but it turns out it’s easy to make them yourself. This sounds silly until you realize that you can make lovely, translucent ornaments or window hangings out of your kids’ art (or, you know, your own art) and give them as presents. Here’s a tutorial.  These pair perfectly with support for reproductive rights and access.
  1. Cookies. Need I say more? A tin of cookies with a couple of favorite recipes inside will never go amiss. Bonus: Have a cookie-cutting, cookie-decorating party, and invite your guests to join you in supporting immigrant rights. Here’s a cookie cutter we could all use, and here’s my favorite (read: easiest) cookie icing recipe.
  1. Personalized cork coasters. Far be it from me to endorse a Martha Stewart jawn, but I have made these and they are delightful. (Truth: it helps to follow her instruction to give with a bottle.  And a donation to a health and disability rights organization.)
  1. For the cocktail lover in your life, consider making a small treasury of your favorite semi-obscure drinks recipes. I love a corpse reviver, but plenty of your friends and neighbors will be equally pleased about a Bennett or a Belmont Jewel. Just Google. Alternatively, make an infusion! Cheap vodka can be spruced up considerably using tips like these, from Imbibe magazine, and a little goes a long way. Give in jelly jars, with a donation to an organization that supports civil liberties and a free press.
  1. Light in dark times: Make a star lantern. This is particularly delightful if you have some old sheet music sitting around, but you could also (WHAAAT) use abstract coloring sheets like the ones listed above in #2.  To shed more light in these dark times, donate to an organization fighting Islamophobia.
  1. Did you know? A dinosaur figure makes a VERY classy refrigerator magnet if you spray-paint it gold and hot glue a magnet on the back. I know this because a friend did this for me once, and I use those magnets for everything, and I am very classy. Dino figures are available in bulk, as are magnets.  Help make sure we don’t go the way of the dinosaurs, and give these with a donation to a climate justice organization.

UPDATE November 26:

Looking for a way to tell your friends you love them, while telling 2016 “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”? Check this out. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis has just published a guide to making your own 2016 Dumpster Fire Ornament! In honor of this fabulous idea, consider giving to Minnesota-based efforts like Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, the Volunteer Lawyers Network, or the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.

* All of us who were born in that sweet 1975-1985 period. Fine.