Instead of buying cheap, mass-produced gewgaws to give out this season, show your loved ones you care with a little DIY. During Grist’s 12 days of DIY gifts, we’ll share some crafty projects, with instructions that even we can follow. There’s sure to be a whatsit or wowsit for everyone.


If you’re still not prepared gift-wise, think of something even better for the people in your life to receive. Instead of a thing, get them an experience. Studies have shown that experiences are more valuable than material goods in the long run — and what better way to show the people you love that you care than by spending some quality time together?

Some ideas for your memory-worthy experience include:

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A cozy picnic

If you live somewhere with four seasons, winter picnics can be a challenge, but a rewarding one. Just make sure to pack plenty of blankets and a thermos full of something hot and delicious.

A fun field trip

You could plan a visit to your favorite museum, or how about the aquarium? Because nothing says seasonal fun like watching a scuba-diving Santa feed some fish. Check if there are any interesting or new exhibits worth checking out.

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A day trip

Go check out that little town nearby that you haven’t visited yet — it’s sure to have some cute restaurants and attractions — or even just explore a new area of the city you live in (and bonus points if you use public transit to get there!).

A longer-than-a-day trip

Or if you’ve got heaps of money and vacation time lying around gathering dust, book a romantic train trip for two!

A cooking class

Or, get a little funkier and sign up for a pickling or a brewing class. This is the gift that keeps on giving the next time you share a meal or a home-brewed alcoholic beverage!

Granted, experiences can be pricey, but the memories will keep paying back dividends for years to come.


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