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by Helen Caswell
People have been giving mid-winter presents to those they love for thousands of years. After those related to basic needs, the earliest were certainly homemade​; a doll made of corncob.  An unleavened bread with bits of dried fig.  A carving of a horse.

For those who cherish and want to give loving presents made by hand, Salem has many resources.




This book can be personalized

This book can be personalized

Runaway Art and Craft Studio

311 Commercial St. NE

Runaway teems with colorful, inspired makings for homemade gifts. A variety of gorgeous snowflakes can be die cut in the studio for snowy hanging mobiles; unique cards can be constructed in classes or with reams of available holiday designed papers, colored pens, stencils and embellishments of every kind, and personalized Christmas Carol books can be created and customized with photos, recopies, hand-written memories and drawings.



The Book Bin

450 Court St NE and 2235 Lancaster Drive NE

Book Bin’s two locations offer thousands of giving options, from books to read aloud for the gift of time, to artistic journals the giver can pre-write quotes into to coloring books to create frame-able art to a flurry of kit options that give children the opportunity to create their own gifts of jewelry, pom-pom animals, masks, toys and clay animals and monsters.






LifeSource Natural Foods

2649 Commercial St. SE

LifeSource’s treasure-trove of homemade gifts only require imagination and an appreciation for fine, quality ingredients. One can create fragrant body scrubs from organic salts, oils and sugars to gift in a beautiful container. One can whip up sumptuous eggnog from organic cream, eggs, sugar and spices to present in a vintage milk bottle. One can bake cakes, pies and cookies from organic​ or gluten free fours, sugars, oils, fruits, chocolates, nuts and spices.  Recipies are online.





Create A Memory

270 Commercial Street NE

​Gifters of every skill level can paint a unique, original pottery cup, bowl, plate, picture frame or vase that will be used and cherished for years by loved ones. They can create holiday glass ornaments, works of glass art, plaques, trivets, spoon rests or pendants of fused glass. All materials are supplied and customers say the assistance of experienced and supportive staff makes ​every visit to ​the store a joyful, therapeutic experience.





Art Department, Inc

254 Commercial St. NE

Whether it’s watch parts for Steampunk jewelry, or ​sheets of ​Mylar for holiday ornaments that express the giver’s creativity, Art Department offers professional art supplies and tools that ​produce gifts limited only by the imagination. Mini-canvasses – very affordable – are ideal for collage, painting or drawing someone’s pet, garden or childhood home.  Kits are also available to make airplanes and jewelry.





Guentner’s Gardens

5780 Commercial St SE

Those who are attentive to the natural world will find joy in tulips or narcissus planted in pots and given during the holidays for spring color.  Guentner’s also carries quantities of paper white bulbs and glass vases of many sizes and shapes to hold them.  If you start paper whites now they may be near blooming and sharing their fragrance by the time you give them.





 The Fussy Duck

3170 Commercial St. SE

About 150 vendors fill the brightly lit rooms of this Salem shop with objects d’art, ​“funky junk,” ​antiques and crafts.  The place contains tremendous options for homemade gifts and creativity, with new and used frames to place a beloved hand-tinted photo in, to wreathes, a wooden deer head with antlers and countless holiday trees of every size and color to decorate with vintage and handcrafted ornaments, necklaces, buttons and whimsical trinkets.