Stop buying and start making this season
‘Tis the season to go to malls and reluctantly spend your hard-earned cash on gifts for others. The experience can be stressful and unpleasant, and sometimes, store-bought gifts feel thoughtless and a bit soulless.
But what if gift-giving during the winter holidays – no matter what you’re celebrating – was different? Making your own presents not only feels more personal but can actually be a fun way to de-stress from all the other seasonal commitments.
At home, you could make your own spiced nut mix, scented candles, knitted scarves and seasonal cookies. If you’re in need of inspiration, or simply want to learn a new skill, we’ve rounded up the 10 best DIY workshops in December below.
Sweater Mittens Workshop at the Make Den
Keep your hands cozy and practice your sewing skills at this workshop for upcycled sweater mittens. The Make Den (1244 Bloor West) hosts five separate workshops from December 3 to 21 at their Bloordale location, where beginners with basic sewing ability will learn to make a pair of mittens using vintage sweaters and You Make It Simple patterns for a variety of sizes. Tickets are $60. See website for details.
DIY Decadent Body Care at For the Love of Body
Learn to make your own body products using natural ingredients at this workshop at For the Love of Body (404-263 Adelaide) on December 4. Led by holistic nutritionist Katherin Brunner and naturalist Andrew Hodge, the beginner’s workshop teaches participants to make exfoliating scrubs, facial toners, deep-cleansing facial masks and body butter, with adaptable recipes for dry, oily and sensitive skin. The fee is $80 and attendees will leave with full-size samples of all products. See website for details.
Chocolate Making 101 at the Depanneur
Save on fancy holiday chocolates by learning to make your own. Emily Zimmerman leads a class at the Depanneur (1033 College) on December 5 where participants will make handmade chocolates. Make bark and assorted truffles from organic, fair-trade ChocoSol with ingredients like coffee, cherries, spiced rum, dried fruit and more. All chocolates are vegan and nut-free, and participants will leave with a box of their own. The fee is $60 and half-price for kids under 12. See website for details.
Laser Cut Beer Holder at STEAMLabs
For the beer-guzzler on your list, why not make them a personalized brew crate? This two-hour workshop at STEAMLabs Maker Space (192 Spadina) on December 6 teaches participants how to use a laser cutter to create designs on wood or acrylic to make a beer holder. No experience is necessary and all materials are provided. The class is $45. See website for details.
Holiday Cross Stitch Workshop at the Gladstone Hotel
For the December edition of Get School’d at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West), artist Michelle Gauthier leads a workshop on cross stitch, which has made a comeback in the past few years. At this beginner’s class, attendees will be provided with all the materials to make a cross-stitch holiday ornament – perfect to hang on a tree at home or give away to someone special. The event takes place December 8 and tickets are $25. See website for details.
Knit Headband Class at the Knit Café
Make your own warm woolies – and give them as gifts – after taking this knitting class at Knit Café (55 Roncesvalles). Over two sessions on December 8 and 15, participants learn the absolute basics of knitting, including casting on, knitting and purling. They’ll also be guided to make a knit headband with a decorative cable twist. The class is $56 and materials are not included, but can be purchased from the Knit Café. See website for details.
Terrarium Workshop at Crown Flora Studio
Parkdale florist Crown Flora Studio (1233 Queen West) hosts two terrarium-making workshops in time for the holidays. On December 10 and 11, learn the basics of making geometric terrariums as well as the types of plants that are best suited for them. The $195 fee includes all the materials to make two terrariums, which are packaged for attendees to take home at the end of the workshop. See website for details.
Bitters, Syrups and Infusions at Pitchfork Company
Join Monica Bettson and Simone Romain at Pitchfork Company (1322B Gerrard East) for a workshop on homemade bitters and syrups on December 12. Attendees will learn all about bitters, syrups and infusions common in both alcoholic and non-boozy cocktails. Recipes include ginger syrup and apple-sage infused wine, and participants will leave with samples of everything made. Tickets for the class are $40. See website for details.
Holiday Baking Extravaganza at Le Dolci
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of making a variety of holiday cookies? Get all your baking done in one evening at the Holiday Baking Extravaganza at Le Dolci (1006 Dundas West). On December 15 and 20, participants will learn to make several cookie recipes and have a box to take home at the end of the class for $95. See website for details.
Needle Felting at the Shop
Textile artist Bree Zorel hosts a needle felting workshop where participants make a soft stuffed character – perfect for gifting to kids. On December 14 at the Shop (1139 College) learn soft sculpture techniques and easy ways to work with fiber. All materials are provided and the fee is $65. See website for details.
Written with files from Aisha Goyette.
Don’t miss: 25 gifts under $25
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