Whether you’re on a strict budget this holiday season or you have a strong creative streak to unleash, DIY Christmas gifts can be special for those on your list as well as for yourself. People enjoy receiving handmade gifts because of the thought and time that goes into them. Making gifts can also be very satisfying for you since you have the option to personalize each gift.
If you’ve never considered making your own gifts because you don’t consider yourself to be very artistic or crafty, you might want to think again. There are many DIY gift ideas that are easy and fun to create. Start by taking inventory of your talents and interests. You may not be proficient at painting, but can you sew or needlepoint? You may not like to cook, but do you like to garden? Or, maybe you like to woodwork or take photos. Start by thinking about your strengths and what you enjoy doing to come up with gift making ideas, like these:
Holiday decorations – Homemade holiday decorations make special gifts because the recipients will think of you each year as they use them. Visit your local craft store for different DIY ornament ideas, such as painting wooden shapes, needlepoint designs, or clear ornaments that you can personalize with markers and fill with colored paper or glitter. Homemade wreaths and Advent calendars also make great gifts.
Food – Do you have a holiday specialty that you make? If so, make a huge batch and portion it out as gifts. Sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls, and cheese straws are all welcome additions to any holiday menu. Or, if you don’t want to cook or bake, consider giving “kits” of ingredients already measured out along with the recipe for easy assembly. For example, give a bowl with the muffin ingredients for Christmas morning breakfast along with baking instructions. Or, give jars with this three bean soup inside or a pretty container of flavored salts. Busy holiday cooks will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Recipe book – Even better than a homemade delight from your kitchen, this family recipe book is sure to become a holiday treasure. Include holiday-themed or everyday recipes, and don’t forget to incorporate any family stories that accompany the recipes for an extra personal touch.
Pillowcases – Purchase plain white or light-colored pillowcases, and personalize them with fabric paint and your imagination. Draw names, monograms, sports themes, or other creative designs. Be sure to follow the fabric paint instructions for preparation and laundering.
Potted plants – If you are more of a gardener than a crafter, this idea is for you. Spray paint a terracotta or plastic pot in gold or silver, and then nestle a winter bulb, plant, or herb inside. Wrap a bow around the pot, and include a card with watering and growing instructions. Your green gift will brighten the gray winter days ahead.
Fleece throw - This project requires no sewing and is something that kids can enjoy making, too. Choose fleece fabric with colors or themes that are personalized for the recipient. Adjust the size as needed.
Toys – Retro toys are quite trendy right now, and these charming pull toys can be made with papier mache. Paint them in whimsical colors and watch the smiles from your favorite kid.
Coffee accessory – If you have coffee lovers on your list (and who doesn’t?) give a version of these simple homemade coffee cozies using felt and Velcro or these mug socks.
Candy sleighs – Looking for a teacher gift or something for the neighbors? These candy sleighs are cute and fun to eat, too. Use the recipient’s favorite candies for a special touch.
Romance – This creative Christmas "kiss kit" with mistletoe is perfect for that someone special or for a newly engaged or married couple on your list.
Candles – There are many different ways to make homemade candles from ingredients like beeswax and olive oil, using creative containers like teacups and cocktail glasses. In addition to being charming and economical, many homemade candles use fewer chemicals than commercially produced candles. You can even use herbs and spices to add a festive, holiday fragrance to them. You might want to take your gift recipient into consideration with this DIY creation. Figure out if they have children or pets that might make candles an inconvenience.
Bath salts – A long soak in a hot bath can be the perfect antidote for holiday stress. These homemade bath salts use common ingredients like coarse salt, Epsom salts, and baking soda. Personalize the gift for your recipients by using their favorite essential oil scents and food coloring to match their decor. Shop at craft stores, home stores or antique stores for unique bottles or jars to hold the bath salts. For an extra special touch, include a bath sponge ball in a coordinating color just by hanging it from the container.
Birdfeeder - Another great homemade gift that is easy to make is homemade birdfeeders. They help the birds out during the long winter months when food is in short supply and offer a great view for nature lovers. Gather some pine cones and tie strings or ribbons around the tips of the pine cones for hanging. You can also use a hot glue gun to affix the hangers. Spread peanut butter all around the pine cone, and then roll the pine cone in bird seed or a mixture of seeds and oatmeal. Wrap carefully in wax paper or plastic wrap before presenting the gift.
Semi-homemade – Still not convinced that you can do it yourself? Try one of these ideas for taking something store-bought and adding your own special touch:
• Purchase a pair of inexpensive mittens, a scarf or a hat and embroider or stitch an initial, monogram or design to personalize the gift. You can do the same with cloth napkins or placemats.
• Purchase small chalkboards for the kitchen or office that you can paint or personalize with glue and wooden images.
• Purchase solid colored throw pillows and draw designs, initials or quotes with fabric paint markers.
Remember, your homemade gifts don’t have to be perfect to be well received. People will notice your time, effort and thoughtfulness more than they will notice any flaws. Lots of gifts come from the store, but only homemade gifts come from the heart.
Next > Light up Your House for the Holidays, Not Your Energy Bill