Nothing says “I care” quite like a handmade holiday gift. Bonus: Homemade gifts can be a great way to stretch your gift budget and to let the whole family flex their creative skills.
Here are a few ideas to jumpstart your DIY holiday gift list:
Whatever you make, go assembly line. In other words, plan to make multiples of the same basic gift for as many people on your list as possible. You’ll get a better price on supplies if you buy them in bulk. You’ll also undoubtedly get more efficient as you make more than one of the same gift. Food items, spa items, hand-knit socks, or customized music CDs are just a few gifts that are easy to make assembly-line style.
For teachers, neighbors, and hostess gifts: Cookie mix in a jar. Layering the dry ingredients for cookies in a see-through jar is an easy and classic gift. It’s also something even very young children can help you make. Include the recipe on a tag, add a festive bow, and you’re done. You can find recipes for dozens of layered baking mixes at AllRecipes.com.
For anyone: Monogrammed slippers. Warming gifts are great for the cold weather. Start with simple store-bought slippers, then personalize them for each recipient. Embroider directly on the slippers, as they’ve done here, or simply add fun matching buttons to each person’s special pair.
For kids: Sock animals. There is no knitting involved in this project because you start with colorful pre-made socks. You can create any animal you can imagine, but a classic is the beloved sock monkey. Customize them for all the kids in your life by using different colored socks and unique facial expressions.
For spa-lovers: Bath scrubs and bombs. These relaxation-enhancers can be expensive to buy readymade, but they are actually easy and fun to make yourself. Bath bombs like these can be made into fun shapes using candy molds, and sugar bath scrubs can be made in almost any scent you can imagine. You’ll want to make extra for yourself.
For the guys: A few ideas. To be honest, it can be tough to hand-make gifts (other than food) for guys. After all, you don’t want their presents to appear too “precious.” But a few cool ideas include a handy car kit full of essentials like a flashlight, a tire gauge, and some first-aid items; custom-etched beer glasses; or a decorative bowl made out of a funky old vinyl record (not one he still plays, of course!).
For grownups: Infused liquor. A perfect holiday item is candy-cane flavored vodka—beautifully packaged with the candy canes still in the bottle or jar. Other flavored vodka ideas include lemon, orange-coffee, and cinnamon—try whatever sounds good to you. To get basic recipes, search online for “infused vodka.”
For more ideas, check out books like Simple Gifts: 50 Little Luxuries to Craft Sew, Cook & Knit by Jennifer Worick or Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 Irresistible Homemade Presents for Every Occasion by Annie Rigg. For even more inspiration, browse sites like Pinterest.com.