Two Christmas trends, duly noted: crafting your gift out of art supplies and love! Or just stealing it.

The New York Times reports that sales of arts n' crafts supplies are up, which means you have a higher-than-normal likelihood of receiving a useless and dorky present, for example, "cable-knit coffee sleeves to use instead of the cardboard ones at coffee shops."

Also, homemade-goods website Etsy is killing it, thanks to the downturn:

On Sept. 29, a day the stock market plunged sharply, Etsy, the leading Web marketplace for handmade goods, had record sales. In November and December, the site has continued to break records. Last month, artists sold $10.8 million of goods on Etsy, up from $4.2 million in November 2007.

But why pay? The NYT notes in a separate article,

As the economy has weakened, shoplifting has increased, and retail security experts say the problem has grown worse this holiday season. Shoplifters are taking everything from compact discs and baby formula to gift cards and designer clothing...

And retailers are increasingly trying to save money by hiring seasonal workers who, security experts say, are themselves more likely to commit fraud or theft and are less practiced at catching shoplifters than full-time employees are.

In retail jargon, that's called "shrinkage." Merry Christmas! What's that stuffed down the front of your pants?

[Apple cozy photo via Etsy]