In a holiday season overshadowed by a national financial crisis and a sluggish economy, handmade gift-making takes on a monetary sparkle. "People have more time than they have money right now," said Van Voorhis. "It's a money saver, it's cheaper and it's a great option for the person who has everything."
Gift givers who are new to crafting will find an entire culture -- both in the real world and online -- centered on its creative energy and innovation. The heart of the handmade crafter culture beats at brick-and-mortar craft fairs across the nation and online at Etsy.com. The Web site has become a sort of eBay for crafters and a market for more than 100,000 sellers worldwide since its birth in 2005.
"There's definitely been a lot of momentum," said Van Voorhis. "Crafting is getting popular with people like young mothers who're looking for home-based activities and among people in their mid-20s to early 30s." Many crafters join knitting clubs and other neighborhood groups.
After years and years of giving homemade gifts, will my knitters' guilt (that little voice that says a handknit scarf is not enough-- send a gift card too!) go away now that crafting your holiday items is socially acceptable?
I hope so. I just bought some yummy natural Eco-Wool to make my brother a hemlock ring blanket this Christmas!