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Will 2013 be the year of the DIY holiday gift?

Surveys suggest we're spending carefully -- and that many of this year's tokens of affection will be handmade, partly to save money.

By Nov 11, 2013 12:19PM
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site on MSN MoneyAmericans are rolling up their sleeves and making -- or baking -- holiday treats and decorations, a new survey says.

 Gift © RubberBall, SuperStockThis year, 70% of of us plan to make something rather than buying it, according to the Capital One Holiday Survey. Among the most popular do-it-yourself holiday items, 43% of those surveyed would be making holiday baked goods, 42% would be preparing holiday meals, and 18% would be creating some of their own holiday decorations.

In addition, the Chase Freedom lifestyle index survey also showed a dramatic increase in year-over-year spending within the craft store category. These purchases were up 91%, suggesting a strong interest in creating home decorations and other do-it-yourself projects. The Chase Freedom lifestyle index survey is a quarterly barometer of consumer trends based on aggregated Chase Freedom cardholder spending data.

Other holiday trends

The economy is improving, but slowly. According to Shane Holdaway, managing vice president for Capital One, "We expect holiday spending this year to be not spectacular, but we should see a modest 3.5% to 4% growth over last year." He emphasized that consumers are still looking to get the most from their spending, and that often involves setting a holiday budget, but there are some problems with how they do so.

According to Capital One's holiday survey, 57% aren’t confident their significant other will stick to a holiday budget. This makes sense, considering that 40% of Americans with a significant other haven't discussed a holiday budget with him or her.

Another way some people are trying to save money this year is to be more selective about whom they give gifts to. Capital One's survey indicated that 32% would be more likely to cut a friend first from gift-giving to stay within budget. Twenty-six percent would cut out their bosses, but only 14% would let a significant other go without a gift. On the other hand, parents (children were not included as a choice) remained dear to people's hearts, as only 7% would cut back on holiday spending by not buying a gift for mom or dad.

How do credit card rewards fit in?

This year, credit card users plan on redeeming their rewards in a variety of ways. According to Capital One's Reward barometer survey, 23% indicated they plan on using the credit card rewards they earn from holiday shopping on a gift card for themselves, compared with 33% planning to use their rewards on spring or summer travel and 30% using their rewards to apply for cash to offset holiday expenses.

Many credit card issuers offer discounted gift cards to their cardholders as part of their rewards program. Capital One is one of them, offering 10% off of gift cards for Macy's, Barnes and Noble, Neiman Marcus and Marriott hotels. These offers are available to to any Capital One rewards cardholder. American Express is also offering discounts on several of the gift cards offered through its Membership Rewards program, such as cards from Victoria's Secret, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic and Williams-Sonoma.

Finally, Capital One's survey indicated that consumers want a rewards program that's simple. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said that removing spending thresholds and special categories would improve their experience earning rewards, compared with 30% last year.

Whether creating their own decorations, trimming gift lists or using credit card rewards to offset holiday spending, Americans clearly plan to spend carefully this holiday season.

More from

Nov 11, 2013 4:38PM
We need to put an end to the commercialization of our holidays and the materialism in our culture once and for all.  If we have to lower the status of the self-serving, money-grubbing merchant class to do it, so much the better.  In our society, social status should be bestowed on the basis of service, not on the basis of how much crappy, creepy "stuff" you have.
Nov 12, 2013 5:07AM
Please show me the evidence that the economy is improving. I keep seeing that claim, with nothing to back it up.
Nov 11, 2013 11:45PM

Due to the an increase in my health insurance policy I plan to cut holiday spending this year. I just don't have extra money now. 

Nov 12, 2013 3:20AM

I made both parts of one gift last year and half of another gift and both where bet with great appreciation. on left the receiver nearly in tears something she had mentions a year earlier about a item I had made and the other warranted immediate posts and boasting on face book. neither where any thing grand or over the top but it was the thought and personalized nature that made them special

not every one will want a made gift. for example a book worm might be just as happy with a new book or a copy of a favorite they had long lost. its not about store bought or hand made its about the meaning behind the gift and its special place in that persons life 

Nov 11, 2013 6:11PM
I gave a stuck up B$**h at work a small stack of printer paper one year as a Christmas gift and told her it was a do it yourself origami kit.(she had a habit of taking everyone's paper and pens). 
Once upon a time, people used to be happy getting things their family hand made and gifted for Christmas. Having a relative that was a " toy maker" was enough to impress people and getting an orange and a handful of raisins and/ or candy was a rare treat. Now, 2 year old children know brand names, and even if you try to save a little money by buying something out of the clearance isle because you don't have much money, you don't hear the end of it. What happened to being grateful to get anything at all?
Nov 12, 2013 10:21AM
Nov 12, 2013 1:18AM

When you seven year old kid gives you a home made gift it's cute.   Try giving you wife a home made gift and see if she thinks that cute.   Now if your Picasso that might work.....average Joe, not so much.

I know it's the thought that counts, but somehow diamonds seem more thoughtful than a self printed coupon book of hugs.


Honey, if you see this, I got those earrings you admired in that magazine.    

Nov 11, 2013 11:14PM
I am not talented enough to make anything.

Nov 12, 2013 8:40AM
After I figured out what the f..... DIY, it's cheap and dumb.
Nov 11, 2013 10:09PM
Anyone who says that they will make their own gifts this year is full of sh!t.
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