Posted by Sheela Cooper
Christmas is almost here, and if you’re like me, there are still a few gifts you need for people on your list. Here are a few ideas that are easy, fairly low-cost, and homemade. The recipients of these gifts will love them and cherish the idea that you have made something just for them!
Baked goods – these are always a hit at the holidays. For years, I have made Cherry Almond Biscotti for my neighbors, and they look forward to it each year. The recipe I use is from Bon Appetit and is actually for Cherry Hazelnut Biscotti, but I prefer almonds. There is a bit of a time investment, but the recipe yields a lot and is a welcome, somewhat exotic change from sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies.
If you plan ahead during the year, you can save food-safe tins and large plastic containers (like the ones mixed nuts from the wholesale clubs come in) to use for your biscotti gifts. Large Mason jars also work wonderfully. Just clean the containers thoroughly, embellish with some holiday-themed scrapbook paper if desired, and fill with your yummy treats. Add some ribbon and a handwritten note, and you’ll have a beautiful, heartfelt gift.
Bath products – most women love bath products, so a coconut sugar scrub is a great gift for those women who have it all. And I was pleased to find out from a recipient of this scrub that her husband liked it too! Because it just has a gentle coconut scent, it does not smell too feminine, so it’s great for men too.
For a lovely presentation, just place some scrub in a Mason jar, tie with a ribbon, add a gift tag, and you’re done. (Want some more ideas involving Mason jars? See this post.) I love the coconut oil sold at Trader Joe’s. It’s a great value and smells wonderful. To make the scrub, I used this tutorial from Robyn’s View. Isn’t it pretty?
Ornaments – the sky’s the limit on the types of ornaments you can make, but I’ve had great success with simple hand-painted ones. Kids especially love these, since you can include their names on the ornaments. They make a great gift for a classroom holiday gift exchange. And they can double as a door hanger or even a gift tag if someone does not want to use it as an ornament. If you have kids, you can get them involved with this project by having them write the names on the ornaments.
Making these is not hard, but it does take a bit of time. You can buy the small wooden rounds at a craft store (they usually cost about 25 cents each), as well as craft paint, which is about 50 cents per bottle. The slim ribbon is also available there, and costs about $1 or less for one spool.
To make these, I paint one side with red, green, silver, or gold paint. You can use whatever colors appeal to you. I have found that the wooden rounds I buy have a sticker on one side that is impossible to remove. To work around the problem, I simply cut rounds of wrapping paper and glue them on the side with the sticker to cover it up. It also provides a fun patterned side to the back of your ornament, and you only need to paint one side! Paint first, let it dry, then glue on your paper to the back side so that you don’t get paint on the paper. When the glue is dry, drill a hole in the ornament so you have a spot for your hanger ribbon.
Next, paint whatever designs you’d like. If you feel less than confident in your painting skills, use a small stencil (also available at the craft store). Or just write words like “peace, love, joy” on the ornament with a paint pen. It doesn’t really matter what’s on it – the recipient of this gift will still be so happy to receive a personalized gift. Finally, add the name and year if you’re going to include those things. When everything is dry, I like to add a couple of coats of glossy Mod Podge to protect the ornament. Once this is fully dry, add the ribbon. Now you have a lovely gift for a very low cost!
I hope that you are inspired to create some beautiful, handmade, low-cost gifts for at least some of the people on your list this year. Remember that it truly is the thought that counts, and a handmade gift is a gift from the heart. Happy holidays!
PS - If you don’t have time to make homemade gifts, check out Home From India for some lovely things that are sure to please as holiday gifts!
Note: I have no affiliation with any of the products or companies (except for Home From India) mentioned in this post. Use caution and common sense when using any products and doing any DIY project.