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Homemade gifts have so much sentimental value, but it’s tricky to find DIY Christmas gifts that people actually want. If you’re crafty or trying to cut way back this year, homemade gifts are the perfect solution for you. On Pinterest you can find recipes for sugar scrub, cookies in a jar, canned goods, homemade soaps, homemade laundry detergent and a kabillion more ideas. I come from a creative family so we appreciate the time and thought put into these gifts. I realize that not everyone on your list might appreciate something homemade, but I’m providing a variety of ideas to cover most of your people. Choose your projects wisely because these things can occasionally be more expensive than anticipated. The terrarium, for example, would be most economical if you are buying the items and dividing them up amongst a few different people, rather than buying all that stuff for one recipient to use only a very small amount of each.
Recipe Tea Towel
I used this tutorial from One Good Thing to copy my great grandmother’s handwritten recipes onto tea towels for my grandmother’s and my great aunt’s Christmas gifts. I called my grandfather and had him sneak into my grandmother’s recipes to find the ones Grandmomma had written. He was so excited about the gift that he had them in the mail to me two hours later. I was very sentimental while I worked on this project because I kept imagining Grandmomma scribbling down these recipes in her kitchen with my grandmother and the other children running in and out around her feet. As I was tracing, I got to the word “maraschino” and questioned whether or not the word had a c. I looked at my great grandmother’s writing and realized she must have had the same question because it looked like the c had been squeezed in as an afterthought. My grandmother and great aunt LOVED these gifts. I bought my tea towels as a set of two at TJ Maxx for a few dollars. I traced the recipes with a two-pack of fine-tip fabric pens. You can buy similar ones here:
We made this delicious recipe for a barbecue meat rub a few years ago and gifted it to the men in our family. We bought almost all the ingredients at the dollar store so this was a very frugal gift. At our house, we used it when cooking chicken, beef, and shrimp and it never disappointed. It was flavorful and ended up being a popular gift. I made the mistake of buying my containers for these at the dollar store. The lids did not close securely and I had to tape them shut. I wish now I had spent a little more and bought something pretty with a screw-top lid like these from Amazon:
I created a tutorial for you about this one. The whole project cost me $0 because I already had a pallet scrap, paint, and paintbrush. You could easily buy those supplies for less than $5. It took me about an hour from start to finish. This is the perfect gift for a friend with a cottage or farmhouse style home. You can customize your sign to say whatever you want. The world is your oyster with this one.
We followed this guide for a DIY terrarium and gifted all the ingredients to a botany-inspired twelve year old in our family. He and I went outside Christmas morning (quickly, because it was flippin’ freezing) and layered the ingredients in a glass jar. I purchased my jar at Michaels with a 50% off coupon through the app because I waited until the last minute to give this gift. Here are some great options from Amazon. Important tip: unless you live in a warm or tropical area, succulents are very difficult to find in the winter without ordering them online. Allow time for shipping. Someone I know (ahem) spent quite a lot of time chasing down succulent plants the week of Christmas and she wanted me to warn you about this so that you aren’t calling all your relatives on December 22 begging them to go to Lowes Hardware and look for cacti.
“In a Box” Gift
Find most or all of the items you would need for a certain activity and gift them together in a box. This is a great idea for families because you can get them things they can do together.
Craft time in a box- Give this gift to a child with the instructions and supplies needed for a simple craft.
Movie night in a box- Buy a discount DVD and throw in some $1 candy from the dollar store and a bag of popcorn.
Italian night in a box: Include a box of spaghetti, a jar of spaghetti sauce, a bottle of wine, and some Italian cookies. They would only need to add meat.
Ice Cream Sundae in a box: Give little baggies with a variety of toppings for ice cream sundaes. You can also give the hot fudge or caramel topping and a few cute little dishes. They will need to BYO ice cream unless you can find a way to keep it frozen.
Spa in a box: Find some fuzzy socks and a one-time facial mask, a bottle of nail polish, and a DIY lavender sugar scrub and you’re set. You can find some good, discounted spa-like products at TJ Maxx.
Organization in a box: We all know someone who would appreciate this one. Buy some pretty colored pens, a few packs of post-it notes, some highlighters, and a planner. Some people are pretty particular about their planners so you can skip that part and throw in a few more desk organizing items instead if you’re concerned.
Bookworm in a box: Throw in a good book, a book light, some hot tea bags, and maybe even a fluffy blanket. I know a few people who would love this one.
Artist in a box: For the creative in your family, buy a sketch pad and some charcoal pencils or paintbrushes and paint. You might even add some inspirational music.
DIY Slime Ingredients
This one is perfect for kids, but you might need parental permission. What is it about slimy things that kids find so intriguing? My younger family member mixed up some of this stuff and thoroughly enjoys plopping the cold goo into the hands of any unsuspecting victim willing to close her eyes and hold out her hands (Do any of us really close our eyes in that situation?). Here’s a tutorial by Chica Circle for Homemade Glittery Slime. Here are your ingredients on Amazon. No need to leave the house, friend.
There are so many great recipes out there to give as Christmas gifts. You can arrange these treats on a Christmas platter from the dollar store and give a delicious, inexpensive gift. Here are some of the recipes I hope to try this Christmas season:
Eggnog Latte Truffles by Morgan Manages Mommyhood
Holiday Dipped Peppermint Oreos by Mom on Time Out
Marble Peppermint Bark by Lil’ Luna
Christmas Sugar Cookie Truffles by If you Give a Blonde a Kitchen
Eggnog Bread with Rum Glaze by Knead to Cook
Melted Snowman Chocolate Bark by Princess Pinky Girl
Caramel Heavenlies by The Girl Who Ate Everything. This recipe has been a Christmas staple in our house for several years. We make a few adjustments to the original. We skip the almonds (remember, sister with deadly allergies) and add a sprinkle of chocolate and/or butterscotch chips. These are SO delicious.
Do you crochet or knit? Check Pinterest for some cute craft ideas like fingerless gloves, leg warmers for girls, and cozy arm knit blankets. My mother makes gorgeous baskets and gives those to friends and family at Christmas. She customizes them to the colors of the recipient’s home. My sister is much more artistic than I am and she can throw together some lovely paintings for only the cost of the canvas. If you’re a potter, everyone loves homemade pottery items, especially when designed in the colors of their kitchen.
DIY gifts allow you the freedom to find gift ideas within your price range that can be customized just for your loved one. Find a project that you will enjoy doing and that can be done in your allotted time frame. If you hate painting and you choose to make everyone a pallet sign, you will likely not have fond memories of this Christmas season. If you have one day to make a gift and choose to crochet an intricate baby blanket, you’re going to pull a stressful all-nighter and the results will likely be sloppy. Choose a good, doable project, gather your supplies, turn on your favorite Christmas album, and enjoy creating special gifts this season.
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