Tight budgets are forcing Americans to skirt the season's traditional buying frenzy and make gifts that put "emphasis on people, not stuff," Melissa Magsaysay writes in the Los Angeles Times. She's creating "a creative signature gift" of Ugandan beads that she's turning into bracelets: The one-size-fits-all present "will make the recipient smile, think of me, and feel appreciated.”
A homemade gift, which Magsaysay calls "The One," could as easily be macaroons if you're a baker or a cool retro notebook if you're a writer. "There are lots of reasons for finding your own take on The One—it makes planning for the holidays simple, and becomes something all the members of your 'tribe' share," Magsaysay writes. It also gives "people in your circle what they genuinely want more of: you."