Sometimes I get tired of listening to all the merits of D.I.Y. and hearing hipster homemakers rave about how it’s more sincere to present someone with a gift stuck together with glue and washi tapes instead of just buying one from the nearest gift store. If, like me, you’re a terrible gift-giver and an even more horrible crafter, the prospect of having to actually make a gift from scratch makes the task seem all the more daunting than it already is. Here are a few instances where it’s best to hang up the scallop shears and hot glue gun and head out to spend some good old moolah on a fuss-free, mass-produced one from your generic overpriced knick-knack store:

  1. When it takes too much time

I believe that the longest a gift should take is during its shipping process and the amount of time it takes for even the most inefficient postal system to deliver it to your doorstep. For the busy and uninspired, there’s no use in trying to make a gift out of the goodness of your heart if you simply don’t have enough time or patience to spare. Not only will you end up with a home-woven basketful of regrets, it defeats the whole purpose of creating something unique out of love and thoughtfulness. Believe me when I say, sometimes a quick card is all it takes to make a person’s day.

  1. If your skills aren’t that great to begin with

However, all the time in the world means squat if you have zero skills whatsoever in the arts and handicrafts section and can’t colour within the lines to save your life. With seemingly easy sixty-second D.I.Y. videos making the rounds online, everyone thinks they can be the next Martha Stewart; upon actually putting fingers in scissors, it’s easy to see that a lot of things are easier said than done. Let’s just get one thing clear: just because the general consensus is that handmade gifts are more meaningful, it doesn’t give gifters the green light to run amok with double-sided tape and pretty paper and present me with a mess that looks like the fifth-rate version of something in a store display.

You might as well make a card saying, “Here, have this ball of dried glue that I covered in some satin ribbons and confetti I bought from the craft store. You have to love it because it’s made with lots of love and with you in mind. Be very flattered.” I’ll take some expensive jewellery over that any day, thanks.

  1. If it takes up way more money than just buying something from the store

Sometimes people get blindsided and fall in love with the romanticism of personally crafting a gift for their loved ones. Let’s be honest; most of the time, a lot of people D.I.Y. because they can’t be bothered to go out and spend the whole day traipsing stores for the perfect present. There’s no denying that it’s a whole lot more comfortable scrapping and crafting from the comfort of your home. Not to mention, the best thing about it is that it’s the best way to show someone your appreciation and adoration without breaking the bank and straying too far from your monthly budget. But when does it turn from a slight inconvenience into a full-out irrational waste of time and money?

When taking into consideration the cost of buying all the materials from scratch, especially if this is just a one-off and you don’t expect to take up D.I.Y. as a full-time hobby, even the most basic materials add up. Thinking about the cost of fabric scissors, luxurious cardstock paper, expensive waterproof markers and so on, it eventually becomes cost-ineffective and illogical to spend more money on the tools than on the gift itself.

So, as a reminder, if you’re already running short on time or you’re not all that confident in your abilities as a home artist, take the safe route; jump off this wagon and head to the store a.s.a.p. Your loved ones just might love you all the more for it.

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"I'm the writer your mother warned you about." A modern South East Asian girl who's ahead of her time and currently in the midst of self-rebranding. Plans on being a lazy, entitled, money-driven millennial even when she's seventy. A perfect combination of all four Golden Girls, her fruit equivalent would be a spicy strawberry.