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    Have A Handmade Holiday

    By Becky Striepe
    December 8, 2012; 4:19 PM ET
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    It's official: the holidays are here. No matter what you're celebrating, chances are you feel some pressure to do a bit of decorating and give some gifts. Rather than head to the big box store for impersonal gifts and decorations, why not try out some handmade alternatives this year?

    Gifts and decor you make yourself are often less expensive and always have much more heart than something you picked up at the mall. If you're not the crafty type, you can still add a handmade touch to the holidays by pledging to buy handmade this season. When you buy from an independent artist or crafter, you're helping directly support their art!

    Handmade Gifts

    I know, when you think of handmade gifts you picture tea cozies and horrible Christmas sweaters. Handmade gifts actually don't have to be that intricate or that hokey.

    You can put together pretty, layered dry soup mixes in a mason jar, for example. Just layer the beans, spices, and grains, and tie some bakers twine around the neck of the jar with a list of wet ingredients and cooking instructions. We get so many tchotchkes over the holidays, many of your giftees will appreciate something so personal and practical. Plus, once they've made the soup, that mason jar has a million different uses!

    Homemade bath products are another simple, handmade holiday gift option. From scrubs to bath salts, you can whip these up in big batches, then give them out in pretty, reusable containers. Easy peasy, and not at all cheesy!

    If you're not into making gifts yourself, it's so easy to shop for handmade presents. Whether you prefer to shop online or in person, there are tons of handmade holiday resources available from craft markets and pop up shops to sites like Etsy.

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