Do It Yourself Gifts: A secret to holiday happiness

Photo of someone loving (or hating?) their gifted sweater by Ekaterina Bolovtsova.

It’s that time of the year when we dive deep into the ocean of consumerism and let the great beast of capitalism wrap its seedy tentacles around us: Christmas time! The time to get together, appreciate family, and use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with that childhood trauma you’ve buried down deep.

Don’t you love waking up by the fire, still drunk from the night before, and pretending your mom’s not judging you when you put Bailey’s in your coffee? You may have vomited on your niece’s favorite teddy bear or burned a cigarette hole in your dad’s car’s upholstery when you used it to go on a 3am trip “down memory lane,” but don’t worry! We here at Motif understand and know how to fix it with these easy-peasy “Christmas-squeezy” DIY gifts!


Who doesn’t love the fresh scent of the woods after a winter snowfall?! Thanks to Earth’s rising temperatures and our vapid entanglement with streaming platforms, many of us just can’t make it out to frolic in RI’s annual snowfall (make sure you stock up on extra milk and bread if snowfall is above half an inch). With our DIY Homemade Spruce Tip Candle, you can give the gift of mother nature, and bring the scent of snow to all your young ones who will just throw their Xbox controller at you if you ask them to go outside.

  1. Obtain a Ball Mason jar. If you are a weirdo, and do not save your jam jars, then you can certainly find one at your local brewery. If a bearded hippie is drinking his pomegrate-frutini mocktail out of it, better to just tackle him on the spot. Your candle will smell better with a lingering touch of fear.
  2. Fill your jar with your wax mixture. To find ingredients for the wax mixture, flip to page 119. Before you flip to page 119, call the incredibly small-print number listed at the bottom of this page to upgrade your account to premium access. You might need a magnifying glass to read this number, so flip to page 52 to find our mail-order section.
  3. While you wait for your magnifying glass to arrive in 3-20 business days, you can work on gathering your spruce tips! You will need to go out in the cover of darkness, naked, on a waning gibbous moon, and pluck the freshest tips from the tops of your neighbors’ trees. Make sure you don’t get caught (let’s just say my cellmate definitely didn’t save their jam jars) and combine your tips in our fresh-sealer basket. You can find this fresh-sealer basket in the mail-order section of our partner magazine. If you are interested, we will just know, and we will send you one in 3-200 business days.
  4. Now that you have all your supplies, you are ready to get crafting! To melt the wax mixture, you will need heat calibrated to the 7th layer of hell, so you will have to summon one of Satan’s disciples. We will send you an owl with further instructions. Once you’re down there, you might just want to stay. It’s probably better than going to punchy Aunt Cheryl’s annual “ugly Christmas cookie” party, anyway.


There is NOTHING better than a handmade sweater. I still have the one I made for the 2007 Christmas Sweater Convention. They are cute, practical, and make excellent conversation starters for Hinge dates; the more cats you add, the better! So this year, don’t show someone you love them with practical gifts, but make them love you by DIYing them a “With Love” Sweater!

  1. Color scheme, color scheme, color scheme! Begin with meditation on your loved one. Ask yourself: “if they were to be a sweater, what would it look like?” What colors do they embody? Remember when that physic you dragged them to when they wouldn’t get off the couch for a week, said their aura was purple? Bingo!
  2. Now that you have a color, it is time to pick the yarn. Personally, I like to hand-dye my yarn, so I buy white. For dye, go out in nature and harvest whatever you see that has your color. You will then need to extract its pigments; boil a pot of Alaskan Glacier water, pour in some salt, polysulfidate, mongolicun-zionate, xuetylon, and chemical-grade hydropicinate. Dump your harvest in, let simmer for 10 minutes, bring to a boil for 2 hours, then back to simmer for 5 minutes and 35 seconds. Do this rotation for 3 hours. Then, put it to a medium-low boil for 8 hours, stirring the whole time. Strain, then, voila!
  3. Soak yarn in dye for however long it takes you to fully mourn the closing of the Christmas Tree Shops.
  4. To begin knitting, use the person you are making the sweater for as a model. Wrap your yarn around them like a mummy and begin with Tinsel stitches. When they ask, tell them the sweater is for someone else. Don’t be offended when they are joyfilled to find out it is not for them, most people just don’t know a good gift until they’re stuck with it.