Holiday shoppers get crafty as economy plunges

Retailers across the board are reporting weaker sales this holiday season as shoppers have less money to spend on gifts and on themselves in this ugly economy. There is one exception, though. Craft sales are much stronger this year, as folks turn to do-it-yourself projects and handmade goods to save money on gifts.

In years past, maybe you spent $10 or $20 on each of your gifts, but when you can't afford to spend like that anymore, it's time to get creative. You can make your own gifts for the cost of some inexpensive craft supplies, or you can buy directly from crafters if you're not so talented with knitting needles and glue sticks yourself. Etsy, the popular website for buying and selling handmade goods, has seen a real boom in both listings and transactions this holiday season. Sometimes it's more expensive to buy handmade goods, but etsy is a great place to find less expensive but still high quality merchandise. I did a lot of shopping there myself this year!