Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Is it just us, or did the holidays come out of nowhere this year? No worries. We’ve got you covered with the HOMEGROWN Holiday Gift Guide, featuring a bushel of ideas that don’t require rush shipping or deep pockets. In true HOMEGROWN fashion, you can find what you need to make most of the presents below at your local winter farmers market—or maybe even in your own pantry or closet—because the most meaningful gifts come from our hearts and our hands. We’re also including a few stocking stuffers under $20, because even the most industrious elves need a break sometimes.
1. Got a t-shirt? A needle and thread? You’ve got what you need to craft Cynthia’s head-turning tote bag. It’s perfect for hauling kale—or whatever 2014’s veggie of the year turns out to be.
2. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. Give Grandma a gift that she couldn’t love more: notecards personalized using homemade potato stamps. (Bonus: Once you’re done crafting, your tools can go in the compost pile.)
3. Remember those friends who couldn’t stop raving about your backyard honey last summer? Chances are they’ll go gaga for Charlyn’s homemade beeswax candles. Learn how to make your own votives and light up a loved one’s winter nights.
4. Decking the halls with boughs of holly smells awfully good, but Maryanne’s coffee filter wreath has a longer lifespan and a smaller price tag than store-bought greenery. Plus, it’s equally appropriate for indoor winter wonderlands and springtime bridal showers.
5. Can’t you just picture a few of these babies wrapped up and tied with a bow? Nope, they’re not candy. They’re seedballs, one way to show those neglected patches of ground some love, and they’re as much fun to make and give as they are to toss.
6. So simple, it’s genius: homemade crackers, the perfect complement to all those jams and jellies and spreads in your giftee’s pantry. Get tips in Kari’s 101.
7. In the Southwest, this time of year means delicious tamales. Learn how to make your own to give away—or, better yet, round up a few friends for a tamalada and let everyone take home his or her handiwork.
9. Have a family member who can’t make it home for Christmas? Nothing says love like a big plate of noodles. Make your own pasta following’s Jannine’s instructions then mail the results to anyone in need of a care package.
10. Calling all candymakers: Looking for a tidbit beyond the usual peppermint bark/orange peel/peanut brittle triad? Give Jackie’s apple cider caramels a spin of the whisk.
11. Paine’s miniature log cabins are crafted in Maine and burn incense made from balsam fir harvested by local woodsmen. Plus, they smell like winter itself for only $10.
12. You know what’s none of your giftee’s beeswax? Disposable plastic wrap. Ugh. Delight the thrifty and the eco-friendly alike with Beeswrap ($15–$19), a greener alternative.
14. Or maybe your sweetheart would rather fast forward to summer? Feed his garden daydreams with a 100-count bag of tomato trellis clips ($9.15) for the tamest plants ever.
15. Got another gardener in the family? Help her prepare her soil with a stash of biochar ($12) made from oak and tomato stakes on Pennsylvania’s Happy Cat Farm.
Want more ideas? You can find additional gift how-tos in Weeknight Wonders, updated weekdays through Christmas Eve. And just a note to you, our HOMEGROWN family: May your giving be heartfelt and your holidays be bright, and may your season be filled with delight!
PHOTOS BY (SEEDBALLS) SARADENT.CA, COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS ON FLICKR; (CABIN) WICKERFURNITURE, COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS ON FLICKR; (BEESWRAP) MARISA/FOOD IN JARS, COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS ON FLICKR; (SPILE) CHIOT’S RUN, COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS ON FLICKR; (TOMATO CLIPS) COURTESY OF JOHNNY’S SELECTED SEEDS; (BIOCHAR) COURTESY OF HAPPY CAT FARM; ALL OTHER PHOTOS AS CREDITED WITHIN LINKS