99 DIY Christmas gifts: Homemade gift ideas to start right now

Thoughtful gift-giving takes time, especially if you are going to make the gift yourself. So here is a list for you, in plenty of time, so you can get started planning budget Christmas gifts this year.

Food Gifts with Wow-Factor

For the most part, food gifts can be made individually or in batches if you want to give something small to a large number of people. Obviously, with food items, you should wait until much closer to Christmas to make them, but it’s a great idea to start looking for the other items you’ll need for these gifts like mason jars, baskets, and ribbon so you can buy them on sale.

Of course, if you want to get some practice in so you can perfect your gifts, it’s much better to start now anyway! Many of these gifts are great for other occasions too, by the way. Recipes for most of the food presents can be found on Pinterest and elsewhere, but here are some ideas to get your taste buds thinking.

1. Made-from-scratch cookie kits. Get the dry ingredients of your favorite cookie recipes together, along with some mason jars, note cards, and country-style ribbons. Layer all the dry ingredients in the mason jars and screw the lids on tightly, print the recipe on note cards using an old-fashioned kind of font, and tie them to the jars with ribbon.

2. Themed food-gift baskets. Will you can your own pasta sauce over the summer? Use a colander for a basket, add some garlic bulbs, gourmet noodles, and a wooden spoon — a little taste of Italy.

Make a breakfast basket (syrup and pancake mix), a movie basket (popcorn, candy, and a movie rental coupon), or a gardening basket (a trowel, a gardening hat, and some packets of seeds).

3. Homemade granola. Low-cost, basic ingredients turn into toasted goodness and don’t require a fancy kitchen to prepare. Granola blends can be customized easily to suit your taste by adding different ingredients like raisins, nuts, cinnamon, dried cranberries or cherries, sunflowers seeds, coconut, wheat germ, etc. Begin with a couple of mini-batches to fiddle with your recipe until you are satisfied with the result.

4. Homemade truffles. Like homemade granola, homemade truffles can be tweaked to your preferences. Chocolate raspberry or strawberries and cream are just two examples. And you can cover them with all sorts of deliciousness like crushed nuts, mints, or toffee bits. Upside? Yum! Downside? They should be made only a short time before giving, and eaten soon after.

5. Gingerbread houses. Give them to the little kids (and the big kids) in your life. You can find gingerbread house kits or, if you bake, you can certainly build a better house from scratch. Make it a party! Invite friends or family to join in the decorating and then donate some to a local senior center.

6. Homemade almond roca or other Christmas candies. Never heard of almond roca? How does a mixture of sugar, almonds, butter, and chocolate sound? That’s what I thought. If you don’t make almond roca, any other type of Christmas candy will be fine too!

7. Freezer meals. If you have someone on your Christmas list who is in a busy season of life (working two jobs, attending college, or adjusting to life with a new baby), they would appreciate freezer meals. Package up a few of your favorite casseroles, clearly labeled with cooking instructions, and you’ll have someone’s gratitude for life. For an extra-nice touch, package the meals in reusable containers.

8. Infused olive oils.An infused olive oil can add interesting undertones to dishes. Infuse them with spices, herbs, citrus, or nuts. These infused oils need to be stored in the refrigerator, so include storage instructions with the oils.

9. Infused Vinegars. Add another layer of complexity to dishes with infused vinegars. Infuse vinegar for two to four weeks with berries or herbs and package them in interesting bottles. Now is the time to look for inexpensive, beautiful bottles.

10. Other food ideas. If you have any food specialty (homemade bread, canned goods, or cookies, for example), most people would love it.

11. Gourmet salt assortment. Buy large containers of a variety of unique salts (you may have to visit a gourmet food store), and then divide the salts into small Ziploc bags. Be sure to label the bags to include a bit of info about each variety. (You can create similar gifts with other items, of course!)

12. Spice sampler. Bulk spices can make an affordable and appreciated gift for anyone who loves to cook, or who is moving into a new kitchen. Don’t know which spices to choose? Find some tempting recipes that call for exotic spices, then include the recipes with the spices. Or, get creative and make a custom spice blend for a meat rub, marinade mix, salad dressing kit, dip, or seasoning.

13. Homemade vanilla. Homemade vanilla is simple to make, but it does take some time. Split three vanilla beans in half with a sharp knife, place in a clean glass jar, and then cover with vodka. Store the jar in a cool, dark place and don’t forget to shake it every so often. Although the vanilla extract is ready after six to eight weeks, you can continue the process for darker vanilla, if desired.

14. Food of the month. If you enjoy cooking or baking, how about giving someone a membership to your own “food of the month” club? (Never mind that they are your only member and you just made it up.) You can make a different kind of food each month or keep the same general theme (dessert, maybe?). This is a gift that will bring joy all year.

15. Flavored hot chocolate. Homemade hot chocolate is delicious and simple to make. For extra pizazz, add flavors like butterscotch, mint, or cinnamon, just to name a few.

16. Homemade marshmallows. For flavor so much better than you can buy, make homemade marshmallows for someone on your list!

17. Flavored sugars. For a special gift, make flavored sugars! Adding lemon or orange zest, a vanilla bean, or lavender to sugar can impart complex notes to baked goods. Package the sugar in cute jars, paired with a fun label.

18. Salted caramel sauce. Ah, salted caramel sauce. How can something with just four ingredients (cream, butter, sugar, and salt) be so good? And so versatile? (Eat it with a spoon, on ice cream, over cinnamon rolls, or with apples.)

This should be stored for just about two weeks in the refrigerator, so don’t make it too far ahead of Christmas or you might be tempted to eat it yourself!

19. Homemade eggnog. While homemade eggnog (if you like eggnog, that is) is absolutely delicious, it doesn’t keep long in the refrigerator — and not just because it tastes terrific. If you make this, prepare by getting your ingredients ahead of time, but don’t make it until the day of (or a day before) your gift exchange.

Frugal Gifts with Free/Used/Cheap Stuff

Even though these ideas don’t cost a lot of money, they do require time and thought to implement something that is sure to make your recipient feel special.

20. Personal gift certificates. In essence, these are gifts of time, but they make great gifts. Give new parents a gift certificate for a night of babysitting so they can enjoy a night on the town. Are you good with computers? Give your brother-in-law a gift certificate for free computer repairs.

21. Love coupons. This gift is similar to coupon books or gift certificates but is targeted to your significant other. Let your recipient redeem a coupon for a dinner out, for a back rub, or for an evening together watching their favorite movie.

22. Helping hand. This is also similar to making a coupon book. If you notice your father-in-law’s landscaping is overgrown, offer to spend a Saturday as a gift. If your daughter’s closets are out of control, she might appreciate help with organizing too. Perhaps an aging family member needs your help sorting through household goods in preparation for an estate sale or moving into a care facility.

The wonderful thing about handmade gifts, no matter how frugal, is the thought that goes into the making. Katie O’Connor

23. Up-cycled old tins. Here is a fun way to breathe new life into last year’s Christmas cookie tin. Find some spray paint (leftover from another project, preferably) and spray over the old Christmas scene. This could be the packaging for other Christmas gifts mentioned here too.

24. Teach a skill. Do you have useful skills? Someone on your list may want access to your sewing or carpentry skills. Don’t overlook things like bike repair, baking, gardening, or your financial know-how. Sometimes we have a blind eye to our own assets. Ask a friend to tell you which of your skills may be in demand and then figure out how to offer this skill to others.

25. Finish a project. Who doesn’t have an unfinished craft project somewhere or a remodeling or gardening project that isn’t finished? These undone wonders are just waiting for someone with the time to finish them.

If you are a knitter, for instance, you could offer to complete that pair of mittens for a family member. Or maybe the weekend carpenter on your list got everything done on the remodeling project except for trimming out the windows. Your offer to help finish the project would help both of you!

26. Framed page from favorite children’s books. Are some of your favorite books from your childhood falling apart? Well-loved books, read hundreds of times, tend to fall into disrepair. But framing a page from a favorite childhood book can help the book (and the memories) live on.

27. Create a secret old book. Find a cheap, musty, old classic at your nearby Goodwill or used bookstore. Glue the pages together, and use an X-Acto knife to hollow out the center of the book. Now the recipient can store his or her treasures!

28. Holiday recipe booklet. Create a collection of your favorite holiday recipes, and then include it with a small assortment of samples.

29. Artwork display frame. Frames are often expensive, so look for out-dated paintings at thrift stores. Keep the frame; toss the painting. Any of your farmer friends might have some chicken wire to spare, so take the old frame and staple chicken wire to the back. Include a package of tiny clothespins with your gift so photos or artwork can be attached.

30. Personalized dishes. Another fun way to use an old white plate or tray is to make a customized platter/plate. Write words or draw patterns on the plate with colored Sharpies. Then, bake the plate at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes to make your artwork permanent.

31. Teacup candles! You’ll need craft-store wicks, wax (or old candles) that can be melted down, old teacups, and maybe a fragrance or two. Pretty single teacups (with or without saucers) can often be found at thrift stores for less than a dollar.

Melt the wax in a double boiler, add a fragrance if desired, then support the wick standing in the teacup while carefully filling the cup with wax. As the wax cools, it will contract and form a well. You can add more melted wax of the same color or add a second shade. Beware of cups with obvious cracking; the hot wax may cause them to shatter.

Arts and Crafts — and a Hodgepodge of Mod Podge

With even the most basic artistic skills, you can create budget Christmas gifts. Here is a list of possibilities to trigger your creativity.

32. Homemade hand warmer. Live in a cold climate? Give your friends the gift of warmth with a homemade hand warmer you personally made for them. If you know how to make a beanbag, you know how to make a hand warmer. Use wool, cashmere or felt material; but instead of filling the bags with beans, fill them with ceramic pie weights. To use these toasty treasures, simply microwave them for a couple of minutes and then slip them in your pockets.

33. Tote bag pocket inserts. For those with decent sewing skills, make a tote bag even more user-friendly by sewing an insertable pocket for tote bags. Attaching the pocket to the tote bag straps from the inside will hold the pocket in place while creating another area of storage in the bag.

34. Sweater bag or pillow. Breathe new life into an old sweater by turning it into a bag or a pillow!

35. Microwavable heating pad. Another simple sewing project? This makes a nice gift for an elderly person. Make a microwavable heating pad by sewing fabric into a rectangle. Fill with rice (and a few drops of essential oils if you have some).

36. Felted penguin or other animal. What could be cuter than a felted penguin or other animal? Various tutorials online give detailed instructions which require roving and a special felting needle. Who wouldn’t want a cute replica of their favorite pet, anyway?

37. Sewing kit. An old eyeglass case makes a great case to house a portable sewing kit. Add needles, spare buttons, thread, a pincushion, and scissors!

38. Scrap fabric garland. Here’s a use for old scraps of fabric. Take strips of fabric and fold them in half, cutting more strips. Just don’t cut all the way to the fold, because you would ruin the “streamer” effect. Tie the fabric onto a piece of twine or lace.

39. Pompom garland. Make pompoms out of yarn. Obviously, customize the size and color to your preferences. Once the pompoms are complete, you can thread them together with heavy thread and a needle. Or you can make different threads or strings of pompoms and hang them vertically. These make great gifts for anyone that needs to decorate on a budget.

40. Memory drawing. If you can draw, make a simple drawing of a memory you have that involves the recipient. Maybe it’s something you did together or places you visited together. Frame it and gift. The great thing about this (besides being cheap) is that you can give it multiple times to the same person. They will have a growing collection of memory drawings from you.

41. Personalized gifts of art. If you are an artist, create small paintings or other personalized gifts of art that you make. Do you dabble in photography? A framed print of your nephew might be the perfect gift for your sister-in-law.

42. Travel brochure. If you have graphic design skills, a travel brochure for a child in your life is a fun gift. Customize it by photoshopping the recipient onto cheap stock photos of world landmarks, such as the Great Wall, so it looks like he’s traveled the world.

43. Decorative pinecones. To make pinecones for Christmas decor, gather up a few (free) pinecones. After making sure they’re bug- and dirt-free, spray them with white spray paint. While the paint is still wet, liberally dust them with white or silver glitter.

44. Burlap Christmas acorns. For another Christmas decor idea, make burlap acorns out of Easter eggs. Get some plastic Easter eggs (bigger is better) and spray paint them. Next, cover the egg with burlap using glue. Top the acorn with twine wound around the top.

45. Felt-backed tile trivets. You can find lots of beautiful tile designs at the home-improvement store. Sometimes the end of a lot can be had at a deep discount. Using a hot-glue gun, add a layer of felt to the back of a tile, and you have a useful trivet for bringing a hot dish to the table.

46. Personalized mirrors. Buy small mirrors. (Try Ikea for a bunch of the smallish mirrors.) Once you have a word that describes your recipient (“Gorgeous!” “Intelligent!”), pick a font. If you have a cutting tool that will cut out the font, by all means, use it! But if you don’t, print out the words and trace them onto contact paper. Use some glass etching glaze to etch the words onto the mirrors. Add some cheap rhinestones to glitz up the mirrors for the girls or a masculine etched pattern for the boys. Finish them off by attaching ribbon and twine so that they can be hung easily.

47. Photo lampshade. Look for a lamp at garage sales and, once you find a really cheap one, you can make a neat memento by either hot-gluing pictures to the outside of the lampshade or printing pictures off onto vellum. Then glue the vellum onto the lampshade. (Vellum is not always easy to handle so be careful!)

48. Blue jean aprons. Don’t let your worn out jeans go to waste. Use the fabric to make aprons. Many tutorials can be found online in many different styles, and they are perfect for both children and adults.

49. Vintage lace bowl. Okay, maybe you don’t like the look of crocheted doilies draped across the back of an easy chair, so here’s another way to display these amazing old-fashioned beauties! Mix equal parts of white glue and water. Submerge a doily in the glue mixture, then mold the doily over a bowl, glass jar, or blown-up balloon. Smooth out the wrinkles, let it dry, and when you remove it — viola! — a DIY vintage lace bowl! If desired, you may also dye the doily before submerging it in the glue.

50. Personalized cards. You can make more than gifts. Making your own cards is a great money-saver. Buy boxes of 50 assorted bright-color cards from a craft store such as Michael’s. Use leftover paper scraps and stickers to decorate them.

51. Photo Cubes. Create your own photo cubes by buying large cubes and using Mod Podge to affix family photos on all sides.

52. Tile photo coasters. Cut pictures to a slightly smaller size than small white tiles. Use Mod Podge to adhere the photos to the tiles. Once you have used enough Mod Podge, spray tiles with a moisture-proof sealant. Glue felt to the bottom of the tiles.

53. Photo Accordion. These are great as coffee table books. Create a photo accordion by folding up cardstock like an accordion and gluing photos to the cardstock. If you have woodworking skills, you could hinge thin pieces of wood together and use Mod Podge to glue the pictures on the wood.

54. Marble magnets. You can pick up all of the supplies (flat-bottomed marbles, Mod Podge, and magnets) at your local craft store. Use patterned scrapbook paper or words from old dictionaries or pictures from magazines. Whatever you use, cut it to be slightly smaller than the marble, Mod Podge it on the bottom of the marble, and then hot glue the magnet to the bottom of the marble.

55. Rustic cork coasters. Save the corks from your favorite wine bottles and make rustic cork coasters. Find old small picture frames and glue the corks on them. Commemorate your special events this way too.

56. Cork bulletin board. Wine corks also make great bulletin boards. Find a frame that is deep enough to accommodate the corks and then decide on a pattern. Use a glue gun to glue the corks in place.

57. Homemade garden markers. For the gardener on your list, make homemade garden markers using anything from painted rocks to old spoons, wooden spoons, or even popsicle sticks! Give them blank or label the markers ahead of time.

58. Chalkboard paint spice jars. What an amazing invention chalkboard paint is! Paint the lids of glass baby food jars with chalkboard paint to make spice jars. You can write on each lid with a chalk marker or include a marker with a set of spice jars as part of your gift.

59. Chalkboard cheese tray. Another great use for chalkboard paint is to make a chalkboard cheese tray. Find an old tray at a thrift store and paint the bottom of it with chalkboard paint. When serving cheese, the recipient can write on the tray, labeling the different kinds of cheeses.

60. Chalkboard menu/message plate. Yet another use for chalkboard paint and one of those ubiquitous plates you find at thrift stores: Make a chalkboard plate for messages or to announce the menu of the day. Cover the plate with chalkboard paint and then write a message for each recipient.

61. Christmas stockings. Sew a Christmas stocking out of felt or vintage fabric. While sewing a Christmas stocking is slightly more complicated than making bean bags, it is still an easy project and might be treasured for years!

62. Travel cord roll. When traveling (or even at home), do the cords for your electronic devices get tangled up? Make a travel cord roll.

Sew pockets for different cords, or loops of elastic to hold the cords in place. Once the cords are in place, the fabric can be rolled up and neatly stowed away in the luggage.

63. Fabric bookmarks. Another use of fabric scraps is to make bookmarks. You can cut two pieces of fabric, along with interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to the fabric and then sew the two pieces of fabric together. Embellish it with a ribbon, if desired.

64. Fabric memo boards. The recipient of your gift can display their photographs on a fabric memo board that matches their decor. First, find an old canvas or thin piece of wood. Cover it with batting and fabric. Pulling the fabric taut, staple it to the back of the board. Arrange your ribbons in the desired pattern and staple again in the back. Buttons can be hot-glued where the ribbons cross.

65. Painted canning jars. These gifts are interesting to look at. Paint the jars with chalkboard paint, followed by 2-3 coats of acrylic paint. For a more transparent look, add food coloring to white glue and paint.

66. Practical hot pad. For a practical gift, hot glue small stones to a circular piece of felt. This hot pad can be used daily — and every time it’s used, they’ll think of you!

67. Scrabble ornaments. Make personalized ornaments out of ribbon and Scrabble letters. Spell Christmas-themed words or the recipient’s name with Scrabble letters and hot-glue them to a doubled ribbon.

68. Fabric camera strap cover. For the photographer in your life, a camera strap cover can make taking pictures much more comfortable if it’s made out of soft or fun fabric.

69. DIY reusable grocery bag. Used t-shirts or other used clothing can make a handy reusable grocery or gym bag. Search the Web for sites with sewing instructions, if needed.

Sentimental/Family Gifts that Touch the Heart

Gifts that celebrate family memories or honor a loved one who has passed away may not cost much to make, but they are truly priceless. Remember, just because it’s a budget Christmas gifts doesn’t mean it can’t be a very special gift!

70. Christmas-past scrapbook. Find an old, tattered book. Remove the pages, but keep the book cover (hard-cover only). Use rings to fill it with old Christmas cards or photos of family.

71. Write your family history. For a gift that is priceless (but costs very little), enlist your family members to write a family history. Pick a topic (family vacations?), and ask each family member to write about it. Ask the patriarch and matriarch of the family to contribute their life histories.

One person plays “editor,” collecting the stories, and presenting them all together for Christmas. This gift costs nothing, unless you choose to make fancy copies or books. It does take a little time if you want to contribute quality. It will, however, carry a lasting value unmatched by any tangible gifts or even experiential gifts!

72. Family trivia game. Make up a family trivia game with questions that help start conversations or help others remember special events with family members. The gift part of this? Deeper relationships, fun, and you could even hand out monetary prizes!

73. Memory Jar. For an extra thoughtful gift that costs almost nothing, create a memory jar. Start now by contacting friends and family members and asking them to send memories and old pictures of the person who will receive your memory jar. Write one memory (or printed one picture) on each of 365 business card sized pieces of cardstock. Fold each in half and secure with a bit of tape, then place them all in a big, decorated jar. Every morning for the next year, the recipient can take out a card, open it, and see what other people cherished in him or her.

74. Framed sentiments. For the word lover on your list, make framed dictionary words. Using a heart punch, cut words out of an old dictionary that describe your loved one (thoughtful, kind, spontaneous?) and frame the words.

75. Memory Pillows. Even if you have very basic sewing skills, you have the ability to make a memory pillow for someone on your list. If you have a loved one (or one of your friend’s has a loved one) who has recently passed away, get one of their old shirts and create a memory pillow out it.

76. Frame family recipes. Does your grandmother have a box of faded, old recipes that have been in the family for a few decades? For a sentimental gift, frame them and give them as gifts to other family members.

77. Personalized calendars. Family dates, such as, birthdays and anniversaries, are hard to keep track of, especially as families grow. You can make personalized calendars online by adding special dates and pictures of family members. Or you can buy calendar blanks or use a template from a program.

78. Family cookbook. This is a good gift for a big family. Get everyone together for a recipe day. You could even include some time to make the recipes! Then print and bind the recipes. (You can do this at an office supply store, for example, or use a 3-ring binder to easily add recipes later.)

Fun and Thoughtful Gifts by Kids/for Kids

79. Art binder. If you have children who love to draw or color pictures, you probably ran out of refrigerator real estate months ago. What about giving a child an old binder that you have decorated with special paper or stickers and filled with plastic page protectors? That way, they can save any artwork in one place.

80. Letter art. Buy the first letter of your child’s name at a craft store. Personalize it with fabric or paint it yourself, or let your children personalize letters for their siblings.

81. Fancy notebook. Take a regular composition notebook and glue special paper on the cover. Then add stickers, washi tape, and any other fun stuff you have that you like.

82. Help your child (or anyone) open an online savings account. Planting a little bit of cash in a savings account now can yield a lot of fruit in the future — not to mention the ongoing opportunity to teach someone about the benefits of saving.

83. Photo storybook. Sites like Shutterfly and Snapfish often run good deals on their photo books. The child could take their own pictures, you could help upload them to the site, and they could write a few sentences per page. Presto! They have a book they can keep about a special vacation or memory! The gift could be paying for the photo storybook or the child can make the book to be given to someone else.

84. Felt food toy. Buy different colors of sheets of felt. Cut objects out of felt (lettuce, hamburger, bun, tomato slice, for instance) and let the child put them together to make a hamburger or a slice of pizza. Give these as gifts to young children that are learning about food preparation.

85. Homemade bubble mix. Kids are attracted to dirt: making mud pies, playing in sandboxes, and getting grass stains. And that’s all good. But when your washing machine needs a break, how about some clean homemade bubbles?

Simple recipes abound online. For most recipes, you’ll need water (4 ½ c.), liquid dish soap (1/2 c.), and vegetable glycerin (4 T.). Mix gently. When kids give these as gifts to their friends, there is instant delight (and hours of fun)!

86. Homemade beanbags. These toys are easy to make. Get some scraps of cotton material, sew together, and fill with dried beans. Children enjoy selecting the fabric, filling the beanbags, and making up games to play with them.

87. Homemade playdoh. Combine 1 c. flour, 1 T. vegetable oil, 1 c. water, ½ c. salt, 2 t. cream of tartar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture forms into a ball, turn off the heat and knead with hands (when cool). If desired, add a few drops of food coloring. Store in an airtight container and let your children give them as gifts to their friends and younger siblings.

88. Homemade sidewalk chalk. This gift is easy to make. Mix 1 c. of Plaster of Paris to ¾ c. of water. Add in the desired amount of powdered tempera paint. If you have molds, use those to make fun shapes. If not, you can make your own molds out of toilet paper tubes, duct tape, and wax paper.

89. Muffin tin crayons. Did your child come home with lots of broken, paperless crayons when school was over for the summer? Before tossing them, use them to make muffin tin crayons. You can make these crayons all one color or camouflage. Just use your imagination! You can place them in a muffin tin and bake at 250 degrees for about 10-20 minutes, or until the top layer has melted.

90. Memory games. Make your own memory game cardboard boxes that you save (from cereal boxes, perhaps?) and glue paper on top. If you have some artistic ability, you can draw animals or food objects (just make sure there are two of each!) or you can search online for templates. Cut squares as large as you prefer. Color the pictures, if needed.

91. Geoboards. Have a child who needs to learn letters or shapes? Make them a geoboard! You can make this as fancy as you want to, but first, start off with a rectangle of scrap wood (or you can purchase this at a craft store). If you don’t feel like measuring out where each peg will go, you can put a piece of graph paper over the wood. Decide how close you want the pegs to be. Your pegs can be push pins or small nails (although nails could be painful) and you’ll hammer these in according to the pattern you have determined. Give these with a package of rubber bands for immediate play!

92. Toddler busy book. (Parents of toddlers may enjoy this gift more than the toddler.) A toddler busy book (or quiet book) is a book that you can customize with different activities. One method is using a 3-ring binder and heavy paper. On one page, you could glue objects of different textures (cotton balls, sandpaper, aluminum foil, etc.). A different page may have shapes made out of foam or felt glued to the page, with the same shapes NOT glued to the page. The child then has to match the loose shapes to the glued shapes. If you have sewing skills, you can sew a book out and use felt, Velcro, and other materials.

93. Sensory bin/basket. Creating a sensory bin/basket may be as simple as packaging up some rice or dried beans, along with the child’s own set of measuring cups or measuring spoons. But check out Pinterest for other ideas.

94. Bathtub crayons. Playing with anything in the bathtub is good fun because it washes away easily! To try these crayons for bath time: Mix 1 c. grated Ivory soap, ¼ c. warm water, and food coloring together until the mixture begins to stiffen. Then, knead until mixture resembles very thick dough. Spoon mixture into cookie cutters, then place the cookie cutters into the freezer for about 10 minutes. Pop the crayons out of the cookie cutters and allow to dry overnight.

95. Salt dough ornaments. To make salt dough ornaments, mix 2 c. flour and 1 c. salt. Add 1 c. water, a little bit at a time. Once all the water is added, knead up to 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Press your baby’s hand or foot into the dough (another suggestion is to take an impression of your first apartment key) or anything else that would be precious to your gift recipient. Before baking, make a hole in the ornament with which to hang it. Then, bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

96. Dime store games. Create one of several dime-store games, such as, you could tightly connect a few wooden blocks and glue a picture on top. Use a utility knife to cut between the blocks. You have a puzzle!

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Then, there are the budget Christmas gifts that just don’t fit in any of the other categories — but they just might be a good fit for someone on your list!

97. Experiences. Give the gift of a new experience. Sample gifts of experience: skydiving, scuba lessons, hot-air balloon rides, cooking school, lunch with a hero, etc.

98. Ha-ha gifts. Make your own joke presents. Use your imagination, but here are a couple of ideas to get you started. Wrap up a pack of batteries and a note that says “Gift not included.” Glue two pieces of corn to a small piece of scrap wood with the words “two-piece chicken dinner.”

99. DIY-themed baskets (or bags). We mentioned food gift baskets already, but don’t overlook other types of gift baskets. Your child’s teacher may appreciate a gift basket full of paper supplies like napkins, cups, and plates for snacks and classroom parties. Another teacher idea is to give an office supply gift basket. A husband, father, son, or other family members might like a tool-themed gift basket. A wife, mother, daughter, sister, or aunt might appreciate a pajama-themed basket with soft slippers, romantic comedy, and an assortment of teas.

Having an incredible Christmas doesn’t mean a lot of stress or a lot of money — but you do need to plan ahead. I hope this resource will help make your December a bit more relaxed, a lot less expensive, and still meaningful too.

Do you make budget Christmas gifts? What are your favorite things to make for christmas gifts? How early do you start in order to decrease your stress levels?

Photo credits: Homemade Christmas cards by Patterson Williams. Pinecone scene and pinecones by Lisa Aberle. Christmas stocking by Linda Vergon.

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There are 212 comments to "99 DIY Christmas gifts: Homemade gift ideas to start right now".

  1. madsow says 13 November 2008 at 05:43

    Wow, what a great list.

    You know, in thinking about it, some of my favorite christmas memories are the ones that had no cost involved.

    To date my favorite christmas activity is setting up and decorating the tree. Since we use an artificial tree and have decorations already, there is no recurring cost.

    I love putting christmas music on and getting into the spirit decorating the tree.

    It means SANTA is soon to be here ! ! !


  2. catch22miller says 13 November 2008 at 06:17

    Another great idea for someone who likes to cook –

    Buy a cookbook they might like. (I get them from the bargain section at the bookstore.) Select one of the recipes and bookmark it for them. Buy all of the ingredients for the recipe and include a grocery gift card for the perishables. Put it all together in a gift basket. I get the baskets at the dollar store.

    Very personal and fun.

  3. Caleb says 13 November 2008 at 06:21

    Here’s another idea I ran into a couple of weeks ago, for our adult friends and family members. Homemade liquors and cocktails. There are a ton of different taste that you can make, and it really isn’t as hard as you may think. Plus you may spark a new hobby.


    • Heather says 28 November 2011 at 00:50

      To add to this…

      It is easy to make flavour infused vodka’s. Why not create a flavour infused vodka and then make a gift basket that includes the vodka, some cocktail recipes involving it, and the rest of the ingredients to make one of the cocktails?

      Ex. Bacon infused vodka with all the ingredients to make caesars! (Clamato juice, celery salt, tabasco, maybe a jar of pickled asparagus or green beans!)

      • Katie says 05 July 2015 at 22:13

        Did you say…bacon infused vodka????

  4. Ellen says 13 November 2008 at 06:28

    If you’re a crafty type, you have to check out the Sew Mama Sew blog (http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/) where they compile tons of gift ideas and tutorials. Be forewarned, you’ll find a ton of great craft blogs through them…

    • Steven says 02 January 2013 at 11:15

      I also stumbled upon a crafty-mama-type-blog. Kinda late for the holiday, but some good ideas for next year maybe!

  5. Donna says 13 November 2008 at 06:35

    What a great post, tons of wonderful ideas.

  6. Adam says 13 November 2008 at 06:38

    I’ve started giving people used paperbacks rather than greeting cards. Most of the time I can find a book that I liked, or think they’ll like at the used bookstore for about $2 rather than buying a $4 card. You can write a note in it just as easily and it’s a little more interesting than a card.

  7. RazzBari says 13 November 2008 at 06:52

    For my brother and sister this year I’m doing homemade reusable grocery bags. 2 yards of fabric is enough for 4 bags; I’ve found that a poly/cotton blend holds up better than all cotton. Around here you get 5 cents off your grocery order for each bag used. A gift that keeps on giving!

  8. Susy says 13 November 2008 at 06:53

    I usually make my homemade chocolate covered cherries (I soak them in brandy for a month – yum ). I bought a big bar of chocolate from belgium. So many friends come out of the woodwork from Thanksgiving-Christmas when they know I’m making them.

    My favorite holidays are ones sans gift. Seems like things are just so much more laid back when you’re not worried about buying gifts or if someone will like the gift you bougt. In my family we just buy a few gifts for the kids, and our gift is watching them enjoy them and a delicious meal and fellowship.

    • Ash says 23 November 2011 at 20:26

      I love your idea!! could you please post your recipe?!?!?!

  9. Libby says 13 November 2008 at 06:54

    I’ve been making a whole bunch of gifts for people.

    I’m sneaky – I’ve been making scarves, and I make sure to make them in the presence of someone who I think might want a scarf, so they comment on it and I can get an idea of what they might want as a scarf, without directly saying, “I’m making you a scarf”. I think my mom figured it out anyways, but that’s okay.

    For my father, I know he loves to work in his garden, but for the past few years he has had more aches and pains, and hasn’t been able to do everything he wants. So this year, I’m making a coupon book. I know, its the sort of thing I made as a kid, and its a little silly. In fact, I’m making it in the style of one I might have made as a child. But this year, what I’m giving him is coupons for work in the garden.. for example, one is for 30 minutes of “brute force”, another is for 30 minutes of “back breaking labor”, and one, since we have a truck, is for “one truck load hauled”. I’m giving him a whole bunch, from both myself and my husband – I think he will love it!

    Not all of my ideas for homemade gifts have panned out – a few I made, didn’t turn out as nice as I wanted. But they were still fun to make, and I found another use for the pieces I’d already created, and made some artwork for my mom’s fridge. I may be almost 30, but my mom still loves to post things I’ve made on her fridge.

    • katie says 04 November 2011 at 11:06

      I did that last year – huge hit! A lot of work but definitely worth the time.

  10. elisabeth says 13 November 2008 at 07:09

    what a great list! We always choose a “theme” for our gifts, as you mentioned in the self-made baskets, but it isn’t always a money saver to put those together…
    A great source for little jars etc to use for things like the salt, spice, or tea collection is american science and surplus:

  11. Scott Dichter says 13 November 2008 at 07:09

    Homemade gifts are great as long as there is an understanding that homemade gifts/cheap gifts are to be expected. If someone believes that you are exchanging $25-50 gifts and you whip out homemade stationery, I seriously doubt that the recipient will feel special.

    Of course, I am not talking about students or others who are really financially strapped.

    The real problem is with our American gifting customs. In the US we have become accustomed to gifting everybody in sight, racking up debt, because its the holidays, or a birthday. It is ridiculous. And then on top of gifting everyone, it has become a keeping up with the Jones’s thing.

    I have come to hate receiving gifts. The things that I want are too expensive for people to give. I get all kinds of things that I don’t want or don’t need.


    • Marcee says 05 November 2011 at 15:09

      I’m replying to those that think the gifts they receive that arent what they want or need is useless or ridiculous….. Re-gift duh!!!!

    • Karla says 21 November 2011 at 20:02

      You know, times change and i get that, but what ever happened to “it is the thought that counts”. maybe instead of griping that you didnt get what you wanted and got things you didnt need maybe you should remember what the season is about. not complain that someone was trying to think of you and be nice. and i agree with Marcee if you dont have a a use for it. leave it in the plastic wrap and put it up somewhere to give to someone ese that may enjoy it.

    • R. Wilson says 29 November 2011 at 07:44

      I totally agree with you Scott. On every single point you’ve made here. My 3 adults children LOVE Thanksgiving as their favorite holiday and they have since they were little kids. The reason is simple – the extended family is all together, enjoying each others company and having a wonderful meal together without the stress of spending money on gifts that no one wants. Hats off to you.

  12. Bonita says 13 November 2008 at 07:24

    Hey, I’m LadyBonita from askmetafilter. Nice to see my calendar idea posted on one of my favorite pf blogs! I’m going to use the specialty gourmet salts and spices ideas from your list for a few of my in-laws. I also like the homemade travel brochure idea – think I’ll use that one for the kiddo’s birthdays. Thanks for compiling a great list J.D.!

  13. LM says 13 November 2008 at 07:53

    Last year I gave my mother-in-law several bags of my mother’s bread mix (homemade bread for the bread machine). I combined all of the dry ingredients in ziploc bags, printed out the recipe (one for each bag), included some packets of yeast and a bottle of honey, and wrapped everything together in a big box. She enjoyed it a lot.

  14. Pascale says 13 November 2008 at 08:01

    well this year, I ‘ve offered my friends an idea for a cheap but nice gift. we’re all trying to save money, and I miss them since I moved to London, so…
    We will exchange (digital) photos from Paris and London, taken at a moment or place we’ve been thinking to the other one. cost zero and very personalized. they are quite happy.
    and we’ll email them on the 25th.

  15. ekrabs says 13 November 2008 at 08:13

    Great entry!

  16. Brigid says 13 November 2008 at 08:23

    Alton Brown Rocks!!

    On another note – I’ve been kicking around the idea of constructing a family cookbook. None of us are particularily gourmet, but my Mum used to make a good banana bread and we also had a fudge recipe we used to make every Christmas. There were a few weird concoctions my dad made on a regular basis. My sis makes a killer spag sauce. My brother… well, I’ll put in a recipe about how to mix kool-aid or something.

    I believe allrecipes.com has a thing where you can “publish” your cookbook. It’s a fun way to preserve a few family recipes and I think my Mum will like it. She’s getting up there in her years and getting sappier everyday. If nothing else, it’s an affirmation that our childhood wasn’t as traumatic as we ocassionally like to make it out:-)


    • C Mitchell says 05 November 2011 at 09:40

      A few years ago I gathered family recipes – orally, from grandma’s cookbook, and from the cookbook Mom used as we were growing up – took pictures from my own creations or downloaded from the internet (with proper credit given, of course). Making sure to include a recipe from (or that mentions) each person on my gift-giving list, I created a cookbook that was sent directly to those on the list.

      Check out http://www.tastebook.com/

    • Janet says 05 December 2012 at 09:06

      The family cookbook idea is a great one. When I was a poor grad student, I put one together for my family (parents and 5 siblings). We included all of our favorites, and included little jokes like under the servings “Makes enough for 6 normal adults of one round with Billy.” Also, I included photos of all of us throughout the years, so it was a hybrid cookbook/photo album.

      I just printed all the recipes out, put them into plastic 3-ring protectors (we’re messy cooks!), and gave everyone a binder. They loved it!

    • jushortt says 20 November 2013 at 14:26

      I made family cookbooks for my new daughter -in-laws. They were so successful that my newly married granddaughters have requested them. Its a family tradition that keeps on giving

  17. Anastasia says 13 November 2008 at 08:32

    Those are FANTASTIC ideas and I’m going to do several this year.

    But dude. Stationery. With an e, for envelope.

  18. Valeria | TimelessLessons says 13 November 2008 at 08:34

    Wow, what an amazing list. You know, this got me thinking about Christmas, and some of my favorite Christmas memories are the ones that had no cost involved. Definitely going to try some if these tips.

  19. Jessica says 13 November 2008 at 08:35

    This is an awesome list. I’m sharing it with all my fellow single, frugal, and crafty moms! Thanks!

  20. J.D. says 13 November 2008 at 08:40

    But don’t you see? These pieces of paper never move! 🙂

    Sigh. How embarrassing. Thanks for the correction. I’ve fixed the typo spell-o.

  21. Miss M says 13 November 2008 at 08:45

    I’ve done handmade jewelry in the past, beading is quite simple and you can get the supplies at many craft stores. But, it’s not always inexpensive! You can go crazy buying beads and pendants and findings, I know I did.

  22. V. Higgins says 13 November 2008 at 08:56

    One great idea if you have had a special event over the year or kiddos that the grandparents want to keep up on is making a DVD at home. I have a Macbook and was married this summer, one whole side of grandparents were unable to attend so I’ve been touching up my favorite photos in photoshop and putting them into a slideshow/movie in iMovie (with background music). Then I can edit together the movies in iDVD (different chapters like “Rehearsal”, “Getting Ready”, “The Ceremony”, etc). This allows them to see everything that happened without getting all kinds of confused with a computer (not all my grandparents are techsavvy). It’s also something that only costs the postage to send it. We’ll be giving copies to all the grandparents and to the parents as well.
    When all is said and done it’s a somewhat time consuming gift, but it also is something that I think/hope will be treasured.

  23. Amanda says 13 November 2008 at 09:03

    This one only works if you’re crafty, but: I will be crocheting snowflake ornaments for many friends this year. They take about an hour and $1 of cotton thread apiece, and really look charming in a window or on a tree.

    I also recently re-discovered the wonders of my local library’s ongoing used booksale. I dropped off a bag of books to donate and picked out five children’s books at $1 apiece for a friend’s little girl. They were all in like-new condition, and she loved them!

  24. Fleur says 13 November 2008 at 09:15

    A favorite tip for frugal gift giving: give “symbolic” gifts!: http://thebestpresentevah.blogspot.com/2008/10/non-materialistic-gifting-3-strategies.html

  25. Regan says 13 November 2008 at 09:32

    Do-it-yourself vinaigrettes and salad dressings are awesome…you can give someone a bottle or two and then supply the recipe, as well. Once you start making your own dressings you can’t believe you ever use the sugary, bottled goop from the grocery store. Recipes abound online, this is a good one.


  26. Jon Anderson says 13 November 2008 at 09:53

    When putting together a family cookbook, don’t just ask for recipes from everyone, get pictures too! It makes for a great cookbook that everyone in the family enjoys – my mom has done it three times now in the last 20 years, and everyone looks foward to getting them.

  27. CTRealEstateUnleashed.com says 13 November 2008 at 10:00

    Those are great ideas – I’d do the cookbook if I could cook.

    This year, I’m doing digital scrapbooks for several family members and photo cd calendars. Not only will I save money but I’ll save time and effort. Now they’re not free but they cost less than printing the photos, buying the paper and buying the books and they look great.

  28. K. White says 13 November 2008 at 10:15

    Re: Taking V. Higgins slideshow idea one step further, you can find all the resources to make a free slideshow online, including software, royalty-free music and graphics, and even background video clips. Or if you have a PC, try Photo Story 3 or Windows Movie Maker for your slideshow, which are both free and probably already on your computer. Then you only need to buy the DVDs to burn your show, but buy the best DVD-Rs you can find.

  29. RenaissanceTrophyWife says 13 November 2008 at 10:17

    Fantastic list, thanks!

    Also, for people who are super talented at making things, you can pick up some extra cash on the side by selling on etsy.com– it’s like the ebay of homemade goods.

  30. Lau says 13 November 2008 at 12:01

    I love numbers 2 and 6 but the rest are also faboulous!

    Very often the best presents are not the most expensive ones 😉

  31. TosaJen says 13 November 2008 at 12:34

    Fantastic list.

    I’m glad to see that the world will finally be catching up with us in giving consumable, homemade, and experiential gifts instead of “stuff”. I’m so tired of just being weird and cheap. 😉

    I hate giving and getting useless stuff, and usually ask for art supplies or museum memberships for the kids instead of toys. We buy magazine subscriptions for a few family members. My parents give us state parks annual entry stickers and MIL buys us a state historical society membership, which we use for inexpensive family adventures. I’ve been gifting my parents with short daughter-parent “road trips” (usually summer ones) for the past few years, which are more or less extravagant (camping vs. NYC, for example), depending on our finances. Frankly, the best present I could get right now would be a few evenings of free babysitting services!

    These changes have reduced shopping stress, the gifts keep us in each others’ thoughts throughout the year, and we share experiences and interests as well as present-opening.

  32. Calvin Froedge says 13 November 2008 at 13:23

    So many people don’t realize it’s not the cost but the thought that really counts. I would almost always rather receive one of the gifts above than a $50 gift card somewhere. Shows you care about the person and took time. Anybody can buy a gift card.

  33. Kristen@TheFrugalGirl says 13 November 2008 at 13:35

    I give homemade bread very frequently…it makes a perfect gift because it’s tasty, cheap, and very few people actually know how to make bread anymore.

  34. AMP says 13 November 2008 at 13:37

    Thanks for the great ideas!

    I will definitely be doing some of these, particularly the hand warmer and the hollowed-out book.

  35. Charlotte says 13 November 2008 at 13:42

    Not a gift but an idea for Christmas Cards.

    This will be the 2nd Christmas we are creating a collage of pictures in Photoshop (or you can use any similar software) taken throughout the year. We then save it as a jpg file and have it printed anywhere as one picture. This year we are actually ordering them as “real” postcards so we can write on the back. Not cheaper but nicer. This is where we get them printed http://www.mpix.com

    It is more personal than using a template or ready-made cards.

    Here is a sample collage:


  36. Dana says 13 November 2008 at 13:44

    Several months back I learned about something called art cards. They’re 2.5×3.5 inches, and they can be made of anything. The ones you just trade are called ATCs, and the ones you can buy and sell are called ACEOs. They seem to have become fairly popular.

    If you’ve taken a really nice photo that a friend or family member has admired, even if it is not of a person (i.e., I take pictures every year at the Rose Festival, and some people like rose photos), you can get it printed out as a wallet print and give that to them in a holiday card.

    I found that getting wallet photos through Flickr is really cheap, and they don’t have borders. I have a photo cutter already, sort of like a really small paper cutter, so voila… straight-line cutting. 🙂 (Wallet photos come in sheets of four.)

    If you happen to have archival-quality paper and you draw, you can draw ATCs as well, obviously, or paint something. There are all kinds of possibilities. I actually thought of doing a small work with ink and colored pencil and then uploading it to Flickr and getting it back as wallet prints–no reason they wouldn’t do it.

  37. Kate says 13 November 2008 at 13:44

    Amen to what Calvin said. Virtually all of the best presents I’ve received have been those which required a lot of thought on the giver’s part, but not very much money.In fact, what I want most this year (being a busy mom) is a weekend alone, chore-free, to do things like reading and watching child-inappropriate DVDs.

  38. Carol says 13 November 2008 at 13:46

    Our family is doing a Vintage Christmas. The rule is, everything we give has to be pre-owned/used. We are tired of over-packaged items and the Christmas Carnage! Now, we’re shopping at Garage Sales, The Salvation Army, and cool Antique stores. It’s so fun, and frugal. I’m even buying my kids’ toys used — and what a savings!

    • Chris says 04 December 2011 at 12:02

      Love this idea. One of the best presents I got was a used stereo that my brother bought me one year from a local thrift store. He was in college that year and couldn’t afford much, but the present was so much more then I expected.

  39. Ayelet says 13 November 2008 at 13:51

    Yeay! I made it on the list. I think I’ll “present” my gift through your blog…but I’m not very patient so I might just point him to #30. 😉

    p.s. We were married two weeks ago btw!

  40. Lindsey says 13 November 2008 at 14:22

    Last year, I made my own Christmas cards and I really enjoyed it. I saw a card I really liked at the MOMA store and I basically copied it.

    This year, I am going the cheaper route. I had postcards made on Vistaprint (www.vistaprint.com) and I put one of my favorite holiday recipes on the front and I’m going to write on the back. My recipients can put the postcard in their recipe boxes and save them for years (if they want) and they are cheaper to send! SCORE!

  41. stefanie says 13 November 2008 at 14:30

    another cheap/ free idea is to give the gift of plants – take a cutting and root it now (a few weeks before the holidays) and then transplant it to a pot you get for free or cheap (i got a bunch for free and cheap at consignment shops, goodwill, and garage sales over the past 3 months; i just got 2 for 25 cents each at salvation army last week too!) and its a great present. almost everyone loves plants, as long as they’re not allergic and have a bit of space.

    i bought a snake plant a few weeks ago and it had 3 “babies” that i detached and potted on their own so they’d be ready for the holidays. i also have a gorgeous “wandering jew” plant that i got as a gift at the end of the summer and its so lush already. i made 3 cuttings that are now rooting and will be planted for more gifts.

  42. Ozh says 13 November 2008 at 14:37

    *Awesome* list. I totally dig the Love Coupons idea!

  43. PDXgirl says 13 November 2008 at 15:09

    The calendar is a really fun idea. Does anyone know where one would find calendar templates that you can add dates to?

    I suppose you could use Outlook, but that’s kind of boring. Or build from scratch on Excel but that sounds like a lot of work.

    • karen says 22 September 2011 at 11:36

      Go to wal mart photo on line. They have one you can do your self. I did one and it turned out great.

    • mama bear says 19 November 2015 at 20:50

      I did one at Vistaprint.com I redo every year for my grandma…has everyone’s birthdays. Tried to get family to help out and send pics…but not everyone did…so I pull pics from their facebook pages. You can write your own holidays on every square. Plus add your own pics every month. So in August, there is a collage of all the people with birthdays and anniversaries. Grandma loves it!

  44. stefanie says 13 November 2008 at 15:54

    Lindsey: brilliant idea about the recipe on the holiday card! i was gonna do this anyway at vistaprint for personalized holiday cards and i love the idea of including a recipe!

  45. charlotte says 13 November 2008 at 16:23

    I hate hate HATE giving and also getting non-functional stuff that will take up space and needs to be dusted, and I can only enthusiasically second number 9 on your list–experience! Yes! That’s what we did for our wedding instead of a lavish dinner or brunch or favors: We took our small wedding party with us up in a hot air balloon and were married by the pilot. Nobody will ever forget the day when they were looking down on Santa Rosa, California, from many feet up in the air and then got to have a small brunch and ensuing (free, with coupons) winetasting at Kendall Jackson. The entire shindig cost us only about $3000 for 10 guests (including paying for their hotel rooms the night before because balloons take off in the early morning hours), and it was the best time we’ve ever had.

    So: Give experiences. Whale watching. Balloon flying. A cooking class. Avoid anything that’ll end up at Goodwill a couple of years down the road.

  46. ab says 13 November 2008 at 17:03

    all these gifts are horribly crappy. how ’bout we give NOTHING and finally do away with this silly holiday all together? it’s nothing but a manmade creation!

    only things i can understand are gifts of labor or gifts of doing something for the less fortunate.

    i cosign #45, but even then make sure it’s something the person will really use, otherwise it’s a waste of money.

    i don’t want to poo-poo all the suggestions, they may float some peoples’ boat, but honestly, try not to give useless junk.

    • RB says 14 November 2011 at 18:00

      You have a very negative attitude. The gifts mentioned are tailored to the people who are receiving them. The fact that you think they are crappy just proves that people only care about the price tag. I think these are fabulous ideas and if they don’t suit the people on your list, stop and think about what they may actually like or enjoy.

    • Cheri says 17 November 2011 at 10:37

      To choose the most appropriate meaningful gift for each person, consider the 5 Love Languages (google it, if you haven’t heard of it) . In essence, there are different ways of expressing love: gifts, time, service, affirmitive words, and touch. Obviously your love language is acts of service, but someone you know might value more a physical item. Some gifts can cross several languages: i.e. a massage could be a gift of physical touch, it could also be a service if they are in pain, or quality time if you give the massage yourself. Some people would really value most a sincere letter of all you appreciate in them, but to a “gift” person might be perceived as a cheap cop-out. Just because something does not say “love” to you, does not mean it won’t to another. We are all different and should not expect everyone to be like us. “Gifts” are not my language so just sending me something that shows you don’t know me is nuisance. This doesn’t mean that all gifts are bad to me – just that I would prefer a gift of time or service personally. I prefer a gift to be evidence that they have spent “time” with me enough to know my needs or “time” making a special gift, or a practical gift that will save me “time” or “serve” me by making my life easier, more fun, or less stressful. See how my love language plays into the kind of gifts that I will value the most? I should also be respectful of love languages not only in giving, but also receiving. We tend to naturally express love in our love language – so if someone gives me a gift in the form of their language, even if it doesn’t mean much to me, I can recognize that they were trying to express their love to me in the way that they felt would be most loving and I can acknowledge the love even if I get rid of the gift.

    • H says 15 November 2015 at 08:31

      Calm down Grinch!

  47. quinsy says 13 November 2008 at 17:32

    This is a totally awesome post.

    I’ve made calendars last year on KodakGallery and they turned out great, though they cost $20 that way. To the person asking about calendar templates, just Google search it, there are tons of free downloadable calendar templates, you do not have to create your own in Word or Excel, don’t reinvent the wheel.
    Wow, suddenly the word ‘calendar’ is looking really weird to me.

    Also last year I decided to send electronic Christmas cards because I didn’t want to waste paper or spend money on postage when e-mail is so easy. I took a nice holiday picture of me and my husband, Photoshopped in a decorative holiday border of holly leaves and berries, and sent it to all my friends with a personalized message (not a mass email of course, though I think that would be nicer than nothing if you’re short on time). All you have to do is download the border (again, free by web search) and then you open it in Photoshop or your equivalent (the Gimp is a free shareware version of Photoshop that I use) and change the background of the border to transparent, and paste it into your photo. If you have a little computer skill, it is not hard.
    (there are a zillion more but you have to wade thru ads on many sites and some aren’t that good).

    save the trees, and send personal holiday cards electronically…

  48. Andy Havens says 13 November 2008 at 17:37

    Very nice! Reminds me of my own attempt to get out the word about unGrinchy holiday activities:


    Bah… FUNbug!

  49. Janet says 13 November 2008 at 17:54

    I rather pay for an experience (ie, movie or concert) with a friend or family than buy something they might now want. These are great suggestions in a pinch.

  50. Sundi D. Hayes says 13 November 2008 at 18:11

    I found this the other day and I’m making them for a ton of family and friends. How easy, cheap, useful and special!? I can pick a special paper for each and every person on my list. http://www.simplyvintagegirl.com/blog/index.php/2008/09/08/notebook-easy-to-make-easy-to-use/

    Also, she is hosting a homemade christmas so you’ll find links all over her site to tons of other ideas at other blogs involving all different crafting skill levels and styles.

    If my friends get mad because I gave them something like this rather than a $50 gift then maybe I should re-think what I thought was a friendship.

  51. Tiffany says 13 November 2008 at 18:30

    I just saw this article posted on Consumerist and I have some other ideas for gifting
    * infused vodka (http://www.wikihow.com/Infuse-Vodka-With-Flavor and https://www.rachaelraymag.com/party-planning/holidays/in-spirit/article.html)
    * infused olive oil (http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/cr_diy_people/article/0,,DIY_13752_2277178,00.html)
    * cute hand sewn magnets (http://bittersweetblog.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/you-know-youve-been-a-bad-blogger-when/)
    * fabric flowers that can be glued to hair clips, headbands, magnets… (http://corvustristis.livejournal.com/8981.html)

    and this link has a bunch of recipes for baking and candy as well as easy bath and beauty stuff: http://community.livejournal.com/diy_tutorials/381357.html

  52. Rahul says 13 November 2008 at 19:19

    Humm… so many different ways to make ones Christmas even better. I liked the #24 about love coupons. 😉

  53. Beth says 13 November 2008 at 19:19

    My husband is a amateur winemaker. Not very long though. But we’ve been giving away bottles of wine he makes for the last couple of years. I am going to buy a little something for each one bottle that I found recently online.

    Cheap and goes well with the wine. It these cute little wallet-sized wine reference guides I found. I bought one for myself and liked it, so everyone is getting one.


  54. Richard says 13 November 2008 at 19:52

    re: #46 ab

    Why do you go into a post about Christmas if you’re just going to dump on the holiday? Were you dropped on your head when you were a small boy? Maybe you didn’t get that special toy when you seven? Regardless, away with you, Mr. Grinch!

    “manmade creation” — what holiday isn’t?

    To the contributors, thanks for the ideas and tips!

  55. Sara says 13 November 2008 at 20:12

    As a fine china lover, the teacup candles make me shudder. Just be careful not to use Limoges! ^^

  56. Cristina says 13 November 2008 at 20:53

    One gift I am giving is organizing photos from my parents ENORMOUS collection to send to a company that digitizes them so they can put it on their digital picture frame and as computer backgrounds and screensavers and such. Totally worth it should you have a flood or some other disaster. Cause you can’t stuff all your photos somewhere watertight or fireproof… but you can protect a disk.

  57. Studenomist says 13 November 2008 at 22:30

    Honestly I love the photos idea, we did a similar thing many years ago and it went over well.. A personal new idea for this year is finding a toy that my little brother used to love when he was a baby. He lost this toy many years ago and I just recently found it buried in a closet. Hopefully this is technically not “regifting.”

  58. Battra92 says 14 November 2008 at 05:16

    Good article but I hate the link to BuyNothingChristmas. They are a bunch of whackjobs. Unfortunately most of the vocal people against overspending at Christmas are either radical environmentalists, anti-capitalists, anti-business etc.

    Unfortunately my family would not much appreciate homemade gifts but I did keep to a budget of ~$20 per person.

    For coworkers and friends I will be doing some homemade items with things like homemade kettle corn, Chex Mix, a fruit basket, homemade candies etc.

    I personally have 95% of my shopping done so all I have to do now is sit back, relax and let Christmas come (not from a store) and instead purge the stress this year.

  59. Canadian says 14 November 2008 at 05:40

    Great post! These things are much more meaningful than everything they’ve got at the mall. Christmas did not used to be so much about gifts and commercialism, not until the 20th century (or perhaps beginning in the Victorian era, approximately the 1840s.)

  60. Andrea says 14 November 2008 at 05:48

    Battra92- “Unfortunately most of the vocal people against overspending at Christmas are either radical environmentalists, anti-capitalists, anti-business etc.”

    Mennonites started BuyNothingChristmas -I’ve never heard them called whackjobs. My understanding of Christmas is that it celebrates the birth of Jesus – not the support of overspending or increasing the profits of Best Buy and Macy’s. I’m pretty sure most people here are capitalists. Perhaps you are just having a little post-election meltdown.

  61. Anne says 14 November 2008 at 05:58

    One year I gave my siblings’ children (2 kids in 1 family, 3 kids in the other) fabric–just fabric. Each piece was about 6×8. I gave fake fur, camo, bright red, hunter orange. They played and played with it–tents, costumes, wild animals, army, flags, picnics, etc. Cost about $3 for each piece in the remnant bin at the fabric store.

  62. Kate says 14 November 2008 at 06:09

    As an extended family, we’ve decided not to gift to the adults and only to gift to our specific godchildren. That way each child feels that they get something special for them, but they aren’t overwhelmed by so many gifts that they stop appreciating them. This arrangement saves me about $300 each year in other gifts!

    For token gifts for friends, coworkers and hostess gifts, I’ll be gifting jars of my homemade jams which I made throughout the summer from locally grown fruit. I also make my own gift tags from scrap fabric & ribbon and recycled cardboard. I’ve found most people don’t need more stuff, but getting a treat they can eat is appreciated.

    We also host a Christmas party with a Tacky Gift Exchange. All items must be under $10 and should be as tacky as possible. Most items are recycled and everyone gets a laugh.

  63. Anne says 14 November 2008 at 06:19

    I am also the candy box lady–I make last year’s Christmas cards into little boxes (I got directions from Highlights kids magazine years ago, I’m sure you can google directions for this), make fudge (the marshmallow creme kind), wrap a piece of fudge in plastic and drop it in each box. Stack two boxes, tie with ribbbon. I also print instructions (very tiny to fit under the fudge) for poking a hole in the corner and using the ribbon to make the boxes into Christmas ornaments. Takes time, but I give these to the dozens of teachers and co-workers I need to give a gift to for very little money. The recipients REALLY like them!

  64. Anne says 14 November 2008 at 07:00

    (As you can see I am miss cheapie when it comes to gifts.)

    Two years ago our Moroccan exchange student wanted to give something to her host grandpa (my FIL). He visited a port in Morocco in the Korean War, so she found pics on the internet of then and now, along with other pics of Morocco, printed and put them all in a clear-cover folder. He LOVED it, and he is impossible to buy for. My husband did a similar thing a few years ago, compiling pics and histories of the four ships he served on, which he also enjoyed.

  65. Battra92 says 14 November 2008 at 08:39

    Andrea, in the about section they stated they were anti-capitalist. Reading more on it just turned me off of them completely. Plus they came off as a bit self-righteous but whatever.

    By the way, I was at one point in my life a photographer so I may take some of my photos and make them into prints for people. I just need to find a good Kodachrome scanning service.

  66. finance girl says 14 November 2008 at 10:02

    All good, as long as you are very very sure the person will want/value it.

    I’d say the safest are any food-related ones. The crafty ones would end up in my garbage (though that piggy is cute, but still).

    We love getting anything food-related; just make sure the ingredients are quality and go for it!

  67. Michele says 14 November 2008 at 19:32

    Related to gifts of experience/consumables, you can do a gift basket tailored to a hobby.

    We gave movie buff friends a pop-up popcorn bucket stuffed with an invitation to a “theater night” at our house. We hung up a sheet and played a film on the projector.

  68. Kate says 15 November 2008 at 13:50

    If you’re looking for a unique valentines gift idea for your husband, these personalized soaps from soapcard. com might do the trick. they make soaps with your message embedded inside. I got one for my boyfriend and he loved it. You can write all kinds of funny stuff…. My boyfriend thought it was super cute! .the “Think of me when you’re feeling dirty” soap was the one he loved the most

  69. Laura Linger says 15 November 2008 at 17:05

    I loved this post so much, I featured it over at my blog for my readers. I have started a crusade of my own to “take back Christmas,” and your wonderful ideas are right in line with what I am trying to accomplish.


    My own little tidbit: I am a photographer and am very interested in essential oils. Some of our loved ones are receiving framed photos of Arizona sunsets that I shot from our back yards, per their requests, for their homes. Others are getting oil blends with a burner or other aromatherapeutic items that I concoct myself (something different for each person).

  70. kate says 15 November 2008 at 22:34

    my large extended family has agreed to do a “green” secret santa this year — the rules are that in order to save gas, money, resources, etc. you must give the person you’ve picked a gift that comes from things inside your house. that means homemade items and regifts (!) are ok.

  71. barbara says 15 November 2008 at 22:57

    wonderful list, as well as comment ideas! i’ll bookmark this!
    thanks for all the hard work in making the list with links! 🙂

  72. kj says 19 November 2008 at 08:37

    I was doing some searching online and thought I should point out that #5 might not be such a great idea, as is. Apparently, a lot of people have had problems with them catching on fire…

    However, my sister makes bedwarmers out of old socks and rice (for personal use, not gifts) and says they work great. I’m guessing you could substitute rice for the ceramic weights and use cotton material and you’d probably be fine.

  73. Kravazon says 19 November 2008 at 22:09

    I was just starting to think about what to get everyone for Christmas that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg! 🙂

    You are AMAZING. Really. Just amazing.

  74. G. Garland says 20 November 2008 at 10:43

    These are great ideas!! I am thinking about the candles for my social group that meets at a local coffee shop.

    I am probably making most of my gifts this year, except I’m not sure what to do for my mother and and my niece They are both addicted to online games, but, of course not the same online game (My mother; Club Pogo and my neice: StarDoll) so I’m getting them Ultimate Game Cards so they can pay for the paid areas on those sites. I’m thinking I’ll put the card in a themed gift-basket thing and include snack foods that you can eat while you are parked in front of the computer for several hours. 😉

    I’m sure I’ll be labeled an enabler by my family, but hey…I can live with that.

    If anybody has ideas on what else I can put in the basket, please let me know. It’s kind of a challenge.

  75. V. Higgins says 20 November 2008 at 14:39

    I would suggest trying to get healthy-ish foods, but still tasty (like dried mango, yum!). Also print out and staple together a posture guide and toss in a back massager (those little hand held ones with the four nobs), sitting at a computer can really mess with your back. (speaking from experience)

  76. Christianne says 21 November 2008 at 10:25

    Wonderful suggestions. A couple years ago, I started sending out a personal favorite recipe with all of my Christmas cards as a gift for the holidays. On principle, I like the idea of saving the trees and using email for holiday cards but (for me) it’s not the same as receiving a card in the mail, with a handwritten personalized note from an old friend. Certainly much better than a bill!

    I now buy cards from charities so that a charity gets the benefit. I make the caramel corn (recipe from Cooking Light) for many friends. One friend calls it “crack” because it is so good. I love the ideas though and want to branch out more.

    My older brother has everything he needs. It’s hard to get him anything. One year I made him and his wife a scrapbook of family photos (focussed on the new baby). I worked days on it. At first I thought it didn’t go over well, but when the baby got a little older, she would ask to look at the scrapbook ALL the time. It turned out to be a wonderful gift for the whole family!

    Part of the fun of Christmas for me is finding something so wonderfully perfect for that person. I would much rather someone spend $10 on me if it fits me to a tee than $100 and have it be lame.

  77. christy says 22 November 2008 at 21:14

    Last Christmas we decided to have old 35mm slides scanned for my parents. They had a wonderful time going through the boxes of family photos that hadn’t been out in years. And after receiving the DVD back from digmypics.com, we all got together to remember our favorite childhood memories! It’s a great way to bring old photos and slides back to life and now it’s easy to share with the whole family!

  78. chrisck says 24 November 2008 at 07:00

    1. Coupon for “Soup of the Month Club”–a quart of soup every month for the coming year (lots of seasonal possibliites) would be a good gift for a busy family or older neighbor who doesn’t cook much.
    2. Gifts for pets and other animals. Catnip mice (cute holiday fabrics–I did Chanukah mice last year); home-made dog biscuits; home-made suet + seed balls for bird feeding friends. (I’m a member of a coop so I can buy ingredients in bulk.)
    3. Gourmet ice cream sauces are easy to make and package in a jar with a bow.
    4. Mulling spice mix–again in a nice jar with a bow, along with a half gallon of cider.
    5. Spicy nut mixes–also easy to make and customize flavors.

  79. Michael says 27 November 2008 at 09:27

    Everyone loves drinking during the holidays.
    Go out and spend 10-$20 on the cheapest vodka you can find. Infuse the vodka with just about anything. (jalapeno, mango, berries, basil, melon, oranges, whatever!) strain it through cheese cloth after a month or a couple of weeks. The new infusion will take on the color and flavor you chose. AWESOME!!!!

    I saw Alton Brown use black peppercorns to make the ultimate bloody mary vodka.

  80. Tilty says 28 November 2008 at 11:37

    Holy awesome ideas Batman!

    I, too, was just thinking about how I would save some money this oh-so-tight holiday. My husband and I just bought our first home, and want to give thoughtful gifts without breaking the piggy bank. I love crafts, and baking, etc, but have a hard time finding crafty stuff that is also practical/useful (i.e. something I can give to my handyman dad). This site was just what I needed, and the responses offered many additional perfect ideas!

    Here are my two cents, and just a different twist on the food/sharing of recipes idea: A video recipe book. We have a digital video camera that we bought when we lived frivolously. I was thinking about investing the time to film myself making my favorite dishes and treats (things I would already be making) and then use our modest video editing software to put together a video recipe book so friends and family can actually see how these things are made and what they should look like when they’re done. Our computer also has lightscribe technology, which means I can “burn” a photo onto a lighscribe DVD after I burn the video. If you don’t know anyone with this kind of technology, I would check out Staples, or some other techy store, they might offer this kind of thing for small fee.

  81. Melissa says 29 November 2008 at 16:51

    This is a great post! I’ve been busy knitting up scarves to give as presents, but some of your ideas will be even better for some of the people I have left on my list!

  82. BuildMyBudget says 30 November 2008 at 20:01

    Indeed, this is truly a great list! I think my favorite this year is baking cookies for friends and shipping them. It’ll cost a couple bucks for each package, but in total should be an inexpensive, sentimental gift. This is the best frugal-gift xmas list I’ve seen this year. Cheers!

  83. Gayle McLaughlin says 02 December 2008 at 07:48

    What a wonderful article with such unique ideas. I really enjoy this. We need to get back to honoring Jesus and giving simple gifts that come from the heart!

  84. Chelsea says 03 December 2008 at 11:31

    Hi J.D., a little late here, but I love your tips so much I suggested your entry as a starting point for homemade gifts as a way for couples to save this season: http://www.quickencommunity.com/quickenOnlineBlog/!quickenOnline=true

    I suggest also that people consider old-fashioned tree decor like popcorn, cranberries, etc. in lieu of buying a whole holiday setup (if you don’t already have one like Madsow does).

  85. Diana says 06 December 2008 at 08:51

    I discovered a website similar to “Buy Nothing Christmas”. It’s called Redefine Christmas and it’s centered around making charitable contributions in the name of others. I have already asked to people to give me a favorite charity of theirs so I can make the donation. I believe in paying it forward and I think it’s a good idea.

  86. cathy says 06 December 2008 at 21:06

    The whole family agreed to give simple, homemade and functional gifts this year. I am making lounge pants and scarves for the twenty somethings. My aunt is a budding photographer, so I am currently in the process of designing a photographer’s vest for her. Wish me luck. Making a laptop messenger bag for my brother.

    Giving a lot of canned and home baked goods to coworkers, and making tote bags for the girls in my knitting group.

    We are also making fabric gift bags so that we cut back on the waste and expense of wrapping paper. I should explain that most of the fabric that I am using was picked up at auctions this summer.

  87. Susan says 11 December 2008 at 09:10

    Buy bath towels in various colors. Then lay them out and sew velcro on one of the long side to make wraps. Make sure you put it on the front of one end and the back of the other so they overlap.
    They work great and it keeps the towels in place while fixing your hair or applying make-up and men can use them too. You can get nice towels for $5 to $8 but get the velcro in strips so you can make it adjustable.

  88. laxgirl says 12 December 2008 at 16:20

    hey i am in middle school and dont have much money. i was wondering what to get my dad for christmas because he is so hard to buy for. then i came across this posting and absolutley love it! there are so many great ideas and now my problem is that i have to pick one! i love the “love coupons” nad “memory drawings.” they are such great ideaas!

    thanks so much!

  89. Seth says 15 December 2008 at 12:44

    Last year I made audiobook CD from public domain recordings at LibriVox.org and covers I designed myself. I’ve posted more detailed descriptions on my blog at http://freelistens.blogspot.com/2008/11/audiobooks-for-christmas.html

  90. Dan Reed says 15 December 2008 at 17:50

    Why not scan and fix up old family photos with photoshop… reprints can be done for a few cents at most drug stores… throw them in a cheap black frame (Ikea sells these for super cheap made of sustainable woods).. and you have a very low-cost, family centered-semi home made gift that people really get blown away by.

  91. Tink1272 says 18 December 2008 at 21:43

    This is one of the best and most useful lists I have ever seen. I will most certainly be using several of these ideas and also some of the great stuff suggested by the commenters.

    What fantastic ideas! Thanks so so so much!

  92. Aurora says 04 February 2009 at 22:41

    I love all of these great ideas! One thing I’m doing for next Christmas is starting very early-it’s only February. I’m a busy mom of two, and my family usually spends around $1000 on Christmas, but I thought that for next Christmas I can start way early and save a bit of money by making my own gifts, keep busy while my husband is deployed and be waaaaay less stressed for the holiday. And maybe that money we normally spend can go towards a vacation!
    Thanks for the ideas!

  93. ELBSeattle says 02 March 2009 at 00:59

    Here’s a radical idea: skip Christmas altogether. I grew increasingly disenchanted and then disgusted by the pressure to ‘buy buy buy’ during the holiday season. In 2001 when W’s response to the 9/11 attacks was, basically, ‘Buy more stuff’ I realized I was done. I was completely done with Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, Christmas stockings. I stopped giving Christmas gifts to everyone, and I asked people not to give me any (I have way too much stuff in my life as it is) It is amazing how much simpler my life has been since then. I look at the mad rush of holiday shoppers each season, and the unbelievably huge pile of waste it creates and I breathe a massive sigh of relief. On Christmas friends and I go out for dim sum and then see a movie, and call it a day.
    I would far, far rather give someone a gift when I am moved to than to do it because “’tis the season.” Life is way too short to be a marketing tool.
    My .02¢

  94. Jenn Hollowell says 06 March 2009 at 12:51

    Great post – I love your list (especially the tea cup candle!)!!

  95. Initanap says 22 July 2009 at 16:43

    Two ideas for you:

    1)For a gift that will bring tears to a family members eyes, but will only cost you time. Do a “Where I’m from poem” the template is on the internet, just google search “Where I’m from Poem” and you’ll find a step by step template to write a story about how you or a cherished family member became who they are. ANYONE can write one, the template draws out your memories, and I guarentee it’ll be the best gift you ever gave! Write about yourself or write one from the perspective of the person you’re giving the poem to, such as parent, grandparent. Or honor a cherished family member who has recently passed away.

    2) This year I’m making I spy ornaments Filling those plastic round fillable ornamets with rice or doll pellets( that you stuff dolls with) and then I’m doing 2 versions. Religious putting in small miniature nativity pieces and in the other miniature winter/christmas items. after filling one half of the ornament, glue the 2 pieces of ornament with super glue to ensure doesn’t come apart and attach a small tag that says :I spy and a list of things for the child to look for in the ornament. They shake it around and let the items shift in the ornamet. I purchased items after christmas when they were 75% off and are making them for this year for just pennies! I used all kinds of those little “ornaments” that you decorate those tiny little table top trees with as the things to Spy.

  96. Amy says 13 August 2009 at 16:45

    I love the I Spy ornaments ideas! I have also heard of I Spy quilts- you buy a bunch of fabric remnants and cut them into squares and quilt them together. Then you give the quilt to a child along with a list of things to find on their quilt. Makes a nice before-bed winding down activity for toddlers.
    I have always kepts a list of who to buy for/make a present for. I think it is really easy to get carried away with the idea of making all these things and then just run out of time and end up running to the store and spending unnecessarily just to have a gift. I guess the most important thing is to start early!

  97. Victoria says 26 August 2009 at 16:41

    Okay so I am 12 and It is REALLY hard to make money and these gifts will totally meet my bugegt!!!!

  98. RenaDawn says 22 September 2009 at 11:50

    I have to add my two cents here. I LOVE all of these ideas! For the last two years, my significant other has gone way overboard with gifts. Last year he bought his mother and her husband a brand new generator, 42″ flat screen TV, and a new microwave. He got me a flatscreen as well. But the gift I liked most last Christmas was a homemade flag case for my late father’s flag. S.O.’s grandfather had made it out of leftover pieces of hardwood flooring in a way that made me really think of my dad (he was ALWAYS being crafty and making elegant stuff with inelegant materials). I have to be very careful not to focus on the homemade stuff I get, no matter how much more I like it, because it feels like he spends so much money that it would be heartless not to show as much appreciation as such a lavish gift deserves. It just leads to a huge issue, though, when I feel like I have to compete against his big spending with my homemade picture frames and quilts!! I’m so glad to see that the world is making a shift back to what really matters… love and family during the holidays.

  99. spongebonn says 27 September 2009 at 13:06

    I made photo blocks for all of my siblings and in-laws last year. You take a 4″ x 4″ and have it cut at the hardware store to make blocks. Sand the edges, and paint the blocks in nuetral colors. Glue pictures of places or family members four sides and a quote about rememberance on the top, and then give singly or as a set. My husband has 4 siblings, and I have five, so I glued two pictures to a block and put quotes on three sides, then gave every one three blocks. They worked out great and cheap. I also made some with black and white photos of my mom and her siblings for my aunts and uncles. They LOVED those since they didn’t all have the same photos.

  100. Bianca says 17 October 2009 at 11:51

    Thanks for all the great ideas on this post!!! I love Christmas because of the food, midnight mass and seeing my family. It is just a great time, even with no gifts. Caroling, cocoa, bundling up, watching Christmas specials and listening to music, trimming the tree and visiting, there is so much! I love it!

    I am from a big Italian family. As we have all grown older, we have moved away and my aunt and grandfather just died 2 years ago (the first deaths for my family). So, to keep us all closer, I made a family tree with the software Inspiration and an address book with birthdays, addresses (duh!) and email addresses (for those who had them) with Microsoft Excel. I put both items on a writable CD.

    Then I found an old family movie where we were all singing and dancing (we are a fun group when put together with food!), including my aunt and grandfather. I cried when I watched it because it was such a wonderful memory forgotten! I found a local company that makes DVDs from old VHS tapes. So, I ordered a few copies and had a friend burn a whole bunch for me. I sent the CDs and the DVD to each branch of my family. The shipping costed more than anything. But it was the time I invested and what I got out of it that meant more than anything to me. Now, my cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. have stayed in better touch. It was so appreciated by everyone. It made my year.

  101. mary says 03 November 2009 at 11:18

    These are wonderful ideas. For the past ten years or so, I’ve given only homemade gifts. I tried to bow out of Xmas altogether, but got a lot of not-so-much-fun feedback from the families. So now I do it my way. I do my best to make great gifts, but I don’t worry too much about whether it is the perfect gift for someone. I tailor as much as I can to their tastes, but I would not buy something expensive just because they gave me an expensive gift or would have preferred a store-bought gift. They are being true to who they are and so am I! I make my gifts with love and care and that’s enough for me. I also am not much attached to the outcome on their side: meaning if they choose to give it away or put it away, I’m fine with that.

    Here are some things I’ve given in the past:

    1. DVD slideshows using PhotoStory on my computer. These are put to music using the software. It’s pretty easy to do.
    2. Leaf prints. I just painted the fall leaves with acrylic paint or metallic paint and pressed onto art paper. Then used scrapbook or wrapping paper for mattes and framed using on sale frames from Michael’s.
    3. Jalapeno jelly made at home from store bought peppers. Really easy to do.
    4. Made grocery store plastic bag holders from cool dish towels. Template at Martha Stewart. These were a big hit.
    5. Made accordion style scrapbooks from scratch using large art (watercolor) paper (comes in tablets at Michael’s) and scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, memorabilia and pics. Used scrap fabric for covers all tied up with a ribbon.
    6. A couple of times a year, Walgreen’s gives an 8 x 10 free print coupon. I use these to print out a favorite photo and either mount on art paper or buy a frame to give as a gift.
    7. Baked lots of things for gifts: cookies, pies, home made bread, and made candy and spiced nuts.
    8. For kids, put together a bag or box of scrap paper, good paper, stamps and ink pad, buttons, and small items such as pins, sequins, etc. to make their own art. Included glue and markers from the dollar store.
    9. Buy $1 boxes at the cigar store. Many are quite beautiful and sturdy, made of wood. I cover with fabric, or scrapbook paper, photos and memorabilia, line the inside with felt and give as a treasure box to kids or a memory box to adults.
    10. Made an personalized art jar. Take a mason jar or any pretty jar, put cotton or raffia or fabric in the bottom, cut out a picture of someone (this was for my brother). The result is an outline of just him with background cut away. His was a baby picture. I glued the picture standing up, inside the jar onto the padding at the bottom. Then made small tags of words such as “love”, “joy”, “blessings”, etc. These were hung from string onto the underside of the jar lid so that they hung over the “head” of the baby picture. Around the inside of the sides of the jar, I put small pictures, phrases and stories onto paper and glued them to the jar. Things like his name, his place of birth, his favorite things, his work, whatever suits.
    11. hand made pottery. I took a pottery class and everyone got novice pottery that year.
    12. Home made sachets with lavendar, eucalyptus and rosemary.
    13. Music CDs.
    14. Collage art using scrap paper, paint, geegaws, and anything else I have laying around the house. It’s easier than you think.

  102. ILoveMyScout says 03 November 2009 at 11:49

    This year instead of stressing about getting the right gift for the right person and stressing about the money and time involved in the shopping process, I am making gifts. I’ve been making soap, lotion, lip balm and many other skin care products for over a year now and have all of the supplies already and am making a basket for everyone on my list. Included in the baskets are the following:
    -Nail clippers
    -Thin cotton socks
    -nail polish
    -Bath salts, soaks, soap, foot soaks, bath fizzies, body lotion, lip balm (all handmade and organic)
    -emery board
    -Candle (handmade as well)
    Basically anything pertaining to skin care and foot care will be in the baskets. For men I will put a pumice stone and a nice razor in the basket and omit the ladylike things, of course. I am making these for 7 completely different people from ages 12-53 and I think they will be a big hit.
    I am also knitting scarfs for the women on my list and putting applique flowers on them to dress them up a bit. I’m going to knit a scarf for my daughter and a matching one for her doll, as well-great for a little girl on your list.
    For my neighbor and the rest of the people on my list I am making Almond Bark, which is incredibly easy! All you do is get a back of white chocolate chips and add one teaspoon of vanilla extract and melt it all down in a double boiler. Then you spread onto a wax paper lined sheet pan and top with your choice of almonds, crushed candy canes, sprinkles or any other candy or nut you like! They are delcious!
    And last, but not least, for my children’s grandparents we are making t-shirts with the kid’s handprints on them. For Grandma’s we will do upside down footprints on the shirts wioth hand prints on the side to look like wings, then I will write “Grandma’s Little Angels” and put halo’s over the footprints and draw little faces on the heel of the feet. Very adorable. For Grandpa we are doing handprints with little faces that I will draw little toolbelts on and have the shirt say “Grandpa’s Helping Hands.” Sure to be tearjerkers this year.
    Of all the pros that I find in making these gifts, perhaps the best is that these are taking a lot more time and love to make then the average gift card does. Also, it helps to teach my kids the beauty of the true meaning of Christmas and is a lot of fun for us to make together!

  103. Lila says 09 November 2009 at 21:15

    I am loving the themed basket ideas.

    I have an idea of my own for anyone who might have a loved one who’s a bit obsessed with Harry Potter:

    I’m giving my sister a “Honeydukes” Sampler this Christmas. For those not in the know, Honeydukes is the sweetshop in the wizarding village of Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter books. Of course my sweets will not have the magical properties of the ones in the books, but they’ll be yummy! I’m including “Fizzing Whizbees” (sherbert balls), “Cockroach Clusters” (peanuts drizzled with toffee), “Ice Mice” (mice modelled with fondant), “Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans” (Jelly Belly’s “BeanBoozled Beans”), Chocolate Frogs and Sherbet Lemons (which you can just buy) and “Droobles Best Blowing Gum” (gum balls). I’m not sure how it’s going to work out price-wise, but it should be fun 🙂

    And to ELBSeattle (even though you wrote your comment a long time ago and probably won’t read this): Christmas is what you allow it to become. If you allow it to become a big marketing tool with no meaning, then that is your decision. Or you can choose to ignore the shops’ marketing campaigns and use it as a time to show your family how much you care. Some people will remember it for religious reasons (remember Christmas is actually about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ) while others who are not religious will use it to just enjoy “time out” with family. I think allowing Christmas to be ruined by the corporate giants is a sad move on your part.

  104. Petit Elefant says 15 November 2009 at 13:40

    What a great comprehensive list; THANK YOU!

  105. Becky says 15 November 2009 at 17:38

    I spent the afternoon looking through all the ideas on the pages, and although they are very good ideas, I think what I am going to choose to give my loved ones and friends is my TIME. We forget that what this season is really about is spending moments with the people we love and who love us back. It’s not about giving or getting token gifts. It’s about sharing moments together that may be few and far between some day. Having just lost my mom a few months ago and my dad only a few years ago, I realize now that life is short, so we need to enjoy all the years we have together making memories not coming up with trivial gifts. I was on this site looking for ideas because my kids want to have a special Christmas this year and they know we don’t have a lot of money, you know what… maybe we already have eveything we need….. eachother!!! Have a wonderful Holiday Season.

  106. Emma says 16 November 2009 at 18:07

    One thing I have found is that being super thoughtful can save you money.

    My husband’s brothers that have kids are getting a night of babysitting from us. We have had one of them tell us before that they don’t trust many of their family members but us to watch their kids, and the other couple I know have a hard time finding babysitters. So we are giving away hours of our time instead of anything that would cost us money or clutter up their house.

  107. Lynn says 16 November 2009 at 19:59

    The best gift I ever gave…wasn’t for Christmas, it was for my boyfriend’s birthday, but it could be given for any gifting situation. We had been dating for about 3.5 years. I bought a sketch book (a scrap book would work too) and wrote a good intro page, and then my title page: The ABC’s of Why I Love You. You could do the ABC’s of our relationship, or Top 100/50/25 reasons I love you/ can’t live without you. Come up with anything where you can create a “story” of sorts. I said at the top of each page “A is for” and then I wrote a word. For A I used AMAZING…I know…that one was bad. But I had a picture of us and a little sentence or two following. D was for Driving; the first 2 years of our relationship was long distance so we would drive a lot, and back and forth together; we also got a lot of talking and problem solving done in the car, so I just let him now how important that time was to me. G was for Guitar, because he used to write songs for me, and I put in the lyrics to my favorite songs…and so on. At the end I added a few more pictures and some comments. I also added in a few of our online conversations from early in our relationship as well as a journal entry that I wrote about him.

    I am not the scrap booking type, so I tried to stay away from it looking too scrapbooky. I drew all of my letters and outlined them in black permanent marker and colored them in is colored pencil. I wrote everything by hand (except for my journal entry or conversations which were pasted into the book because their original form made more sense). It took a long time. I did use some scrapbook embellishments and stickers, but kept it to a real minimum.

    Honestly…when you see a 25 year old guy cry over a gift (a big hockey playing macho non-crying guy)…you know you did a good job.

    This might be more fund for a first Christmas…”our first year” or in numbers…1 first kiss, 2 dates before we were official, 3 …I am not sure : )

    It was fun, and I really made it all about him and made him feel loved and cared for.

    • lisa says 10 November 2011 at 08:40


      I LOVE the idea of the A-Z of ‘US’ .. my gf did something similar for our one year anniversary… and now, 3 1/2 years on I think I’ll make something like this for her for xmas!

  108. Hisabundance says 16 November 2009 at 23:18

    Initanap and spongebonn, I love your ideas! Do you have anymore to share!!!!

    Thanks to all of you who have posted such creative and thoughtful ideas.

    I am not creative, and so I especially appreciate it when creative people share—your gift to us in your online community.

  109. Lisa says 19 November 2009 at 12:46

    I’m 13 and need a good idea for my dad. The ideas that everyone has posted are great… for everyone EXCEPT my dad! Most of everyone’s posted ideas are crafty and fun and use bright colors and ribbon and involve way too much. My dad would not really like these things. I am thinking I will make one of those picture holder things; (clay base with a long piece of wire bent like a paper clip at the end to hold pictures) But if anyone has a better idea PLEASE let me know. I have really cool gifts for everyone else in my family, and I don’t want to leave my dad out.
    The gifts I’m giving everyone else, if you care to know, include
    Mom- A book of jumbles I made up myself (she loves to do the daily jumble in the newspaper w/me)
    Sister- A model horse w/food and accessories that I found @ a garage sale (she LOVES horses)
    Brother- a light switch plate that i covered in clay and have put a cool design on that matches his room
    DAD- ??????????????????

  110. Lisa says 19 November 2009 at 12:57

    By the way, If you want to make the light switch plate, go to some hardware store (Menards, Hardware Hank, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, etc) And ask for light switch plates, most stores have them to fit any sort of light switch/outlet plugin size. Next, go to a craft store (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Joanne’s,etc.) And ask for the bakeable clay. Clay comes in a lot of cool and fun colors, and remember, you can blend colors to give a swirl design! Next, squish the clay in your hands until it is flexible and soft. Cover the front of the lightswitch/outlet plate and smooth it out thin. Next where ever there are holes in the plate, use a knife or toothpick to clear out the holes. If a lot of clay gets on the back (part that will face the wall) of the light/oulet plate, clear that out too. If there is too much clay in the plate’s holes or on the back, it will crack or the color will get on the wall, bake the clay covered light/oulet plate @ 250 for 10 min.


  111. Krissy says 19 November 2009 at 18:49

    #14 involves copyright infringement. I would remove it from your website as you should never encourage illegal activity, even if your intentions are sincere.

  112. Frizzle says 22 November 2009 at 09:43

    When I was younger my grandmother would make some of my christmas and birthday presents. I got homemade doll clothes, carriers, and toys. They sometimes looked exactly like the ones you could buy and were sometimes very different. I used them all the time. Kids don’t care if something is name brand.
    My dad also made me doll beds one year, which I still have and loved.
    My grnadfather made me dog agility equipment out of pvc pipe when I was interested in doing that.
    Now I mae gifts for the rest of my family. I make a lot of jewelry and gift ot to a lot fo people. I make diffeent styles and colors depending on the person. I make calendars every year using pictures from that year’s vacations and events. I made my grandmother greeting cards with pictures of flowers on them that she can send to her friends. I made my grandfather a notepad.
    we hold a secret santa in spanish class every year. I never feel bad about giving homemade gifts to my classmates. The homemade gifts are always well thought out and proffesional looking. Many people don’t even know that I made the jewelry i give them until I tell them. It woks wonderfully and I save a lot of money.

  113. Lindsey says 25 November 2009 at 09:39

    2 homemade gifts I am giving this year are vanilla extract and etched wine glasses. Sounds fancy, but they sure aren’t! For the vanilla extract put a vanilla bean (cut down the middle) in a small jar and fill with vodka. Let it sit for 6-8 weeks and you have yourself vanilla extract! For the wine glasses I am using stencils of their initials and etching cream from the craft store. The Vanilla cost me about $30 for 6 jars (but it can be refilled with vodka when running low, so they will never run out) and probably $30 for 3-4 wine glasses. Averaging a little over $6 per gift isn’t bad!

  114. La BellaDonna says 25 November 2009 at 16:08

    I’d like to augment that lovely hand warmer suggestion: it is a WONDERFUL use of a 100% wool sweater that has been miniaturized by the washer/dryer! For a more luxurious take, it can be done with a (sob!) cashmere sweater that has been miniaturized by the washer/dryer – or you can find one in a thrift store that has had the process inadvertently started for you. A cashmere hand warmer could be a lovely luxury!

  115. Ashlee says 29 November 2009 at 07:50

    What a helpful little selection here! I have to punch in my ideas too! Last year my mom made goodie boxes for grandma and great grandma and everyone. This year were making custom blankets too!

  116. Ashlee says 29 November 2009 at 08:00

    TO FRIZZLE: “kids don’t care if something is namebrand…” yes, we actually do 🙂

  117. Robyn Allegra says 29 November 2009 at 15:08

    Oh my goodness, this is the best article EVER. This is exactly what I need for the season (and also for birthdays, other holidays, just because presents, etc.). I’m going to print this and laminate it and love it and hug it and call it George…

  118. RobinDodds says 01 December 2009 at 16:47

    Great suggestions! Thanks for all your effort posting links! For my bf’s birthday I made a clock out of various found objects. A gold frame from an antique mirror, a page from an old anatomy book I picked up in London and movement with serpentine hands from a thrift store clock I bought for 2 dollars. On their own, these things were laying around our house not being put to use. When combined they make an interesting and artistic timepiece. There are a million things to make clocks out of such as hubcaps, old damaged vinyl records, driftwood. You name it. There are piles of discarded clocks on thrift store shelves waiting to be re-imagined for a thoughtful Christmas gift.

  119. Rachel says 05 December 2009 at 15:39

    omg thanks sooo much!!! i have been trying to look for some homemade gifts for my boyfriend and my dad!!! money is tight in my house so this helps me out so much! thanks to everyone and have a Merry Merry Christmas!!!

  120. April says 05 December 2009 at 23:34

    This year my oldest daughter is finally big enough to be getting into the holidays. So we bought her some poster paint (easier for little ones than water colors) and some finger paints. I cut up diaper boxes from her little sister’s diapers and glued misprint papers from oopsed prints at our computer desk. Then I gave her the paper covered cardboard and let her paint away! We’re going to try “framing” them with fragments of leftover cardboard. Inexpensive and great fun!!

  121. sarah says 06 December 2009 at 11:46

    im sorry but none of these gifts are good for giving best friends who happen to be teenagers in high school……..got any other ideas????

    • MK says 08 November 2011 at 11:08

      I’ve seen several ideas here that would be great in that situation –
      -lotions, bath salts, lip balms
      -Handwarmers (cut up an old shirt into 3 or 4 inch squares, sew 3 sides, fill with rice, sew the last side, heat in the microwave. EXCELLENT for cold mornings at the bis stop)
      -Notebooks, like at the link on comment #50
      -Mixed CDs, or Idea #7 – memory drawings
      -Mini scrapbooks that are done and ready for photos to inserted
      -Print a photo of you and friends, and trace it and frame it. Cute line drawing. Now you are an artist.

      HOpe something there helps!

    • Erica says 28 November 2011 at 10:41

      The mirror idea is perfect for teenage girls!!! Take a notebook sized mirror and attach a hanging ribbon to the back and stencil a word like “Diva” or “Gorgeous” on the front with rhinestones.

  122. Kathy says 06 December 2009 at 21:57

    My daughter and I started giving homemade gifts about three years ago.

    On one occasion I bought her a little cute recipe notebook at a yardsale. It was new but I got it cheap. I handwrote all her favorite recipes that I have made over the years on cards and filled the book. She loved it!

    On one occasion I gave her a note with 25 reasons why I love her. She loved it.

    Last year at Christmas I gave her a photo album titled “Your Mom Before You”. I put pictures of me from childhood through the years until she was born. I made notations under the pictures. She loved it too.

    This year I am making her a video of me telling stories about our life that makes her laugh. She loves me telling stories of things happening over the years. She can put the DVD in and watch me whenever she misses me.

    My sister passed away in April of this year. I am making a DVD for her three daughters and her grandson telling stories of my sister and me growing up. They love hearing these stories and my sister didn’t remember things to tell them.

    These are just some of the things I have done and are going to do this year.

  123. tink1272 says 06 December 2009 at 22:37

    Kathy, I LOVE your ideas. What a great way to keep your memories around forever! I think I’m going to have to do something like that with my mom. Thank you for the wonderful ideas!

  124. Jen says 07 December 2009 at 07:46

    Here’s a few ideas (can search for detailed instructions online):
    – eyeglass case or ipod case(have made felted ones and funky sewn and appliqued ones)
    – beaded glasses holder/necklace for people who would like to keep reading glasses hanging around neck(picked up the loops that go around glasses at craft store, then beaded the part that goes around the neck
    – wild hats sewn from polartech (easy!)
    – homemade lollipops (sticks available at craft store)
    – wrist warmers for outdoor sports enthusiasts, knit or sewn from polartech (love that stuff!)
    – pinecone fire starters (pinecones with tips dipped in melted wax, can attach a little wick or not, red wax is festive) in a basket
    – bag of cookies, tie cookie cutters up in the ribbon
    – forced bulbs in a nice dish or glass vase
    – laminated bookmark for cookbook (did one with pic of kids eating grandma’s cookies, a little note from them underneath, big hit!)
    – sport snacks box/basket for a tv sports fan, the more indulgent the better, maybe with a copy of the fan weekly paper or a paperback on sport of choice
    – make a book on tape for a younger child, maybe with a copy of the book, or just for listening (another idea is to tell a story, my kid loved one received from an older relative telling a Christmas story about his childhood, it was a huge hit at bedtime)
    – for teens, a pic of their parents at the same age with a note about what it was like, a reminder that we all go through it!

    Merry Christmas everyone, hope yours is great

  125. Wowsers says 10 December 2009 at 13:25

    Wow, it sounds like a bunch of people on this website are a buch of Ba-Humbugs! When people take time and put thought into a gift for you then you should appreciate it no matter what! These are great ideas. . . a cookbook with samples of some of the foods from the cookbook and slip some family pictures in there, personalized dvds, cds, and many more. The love coupons and favors are always a good idea. Many people have tons of things to do in their lives and a simple “car wash” from somebody else is very helpful!

  126. Elemen says 11 December 2009 at 17:48

    Cristina Says:
    November 13th, 2008 at 8:53 pm
    One gift I am giving is organizing photos from my parents ENORMOUS collection to send to a company that digitizes them so they can put it on their digital picture …… Cause you can’t stuff all your photos somewhere watertight or fireproof… but you can protect a disk.

    FYI….this is what I thought and I was obsessive about backing up photos and putting them in a fire safe. But when a fire happened, the fire safe was no use. Everything inside was charred. I recommend an online storage site or emailing them to yourself or having multiple copies at different locations.

  127. Natasha says 15 March 2010 at 11:39

    Just wanted to quickly add my idea … I always use mirrors from ikea that have wide frames but smallish mirrors and only cost £1. I cut out pictures or images from magazines and cover the whole frame. I then varnish it so it’s shiny (and water proof). The last one I did was a combination of Shirley Bassey and red roses for my gran. It made her smile.

  128. Ann Dogerty says 15 March 2010 at 13:47

    Many thanks to the author of the post!
    those are ideas of presents for any holiday, not only Christmas)
    most I loved the idea of compiling a mixed CD and sending it to friends (or relatives): those could be some funny shortcuts made of homevideo mixed with shots from favourite films
    such a fertile field for embodying creativeness!

  129. ashly says 31 May 2010 at 08:05

    i have a friend. she is 14 years old . my mom
    did not allow me to be friend with her. but i can’t stay without meeting her a week. i want to make a gift for her by my own hand because i have no money to buy in the store. i want to give her something that can make her happy and suprise. the mom that she stay was not her real mom her mom pick her up from the street to get money her mom has three husband they all are dead now she marry them because she wants money form them. my friend did not know all this things. what is the best gift for her to let her know how she mean to me.

  130. Mallory says 02 September 2010 at 12:35

    These are all great ideas!

    Last Christmas, I printed out movie gift cards and paired them with movie popcorn bowls and snacks. My siblings loved them, it made a great date night gift.

    Printable gift cards are great for at home gifting. For the most complete list of eGift cards available for last minute gifts, I’d look to http://www.giftzip.com. No registration and free to use. 🙂

  131. Jan says 09 September 2010 at 17:10

    This year I am making personalized hand sanitizer/soap dispenser bottles. On your computer design a label. I did mine as example: The Smith’s hands and then in different fonts and sizes typed words such as s: Loving, caring, kind, gentle, etc. You’ll have to play with the size of the label depending on the dispenser bottle you purchase, see my source below. The labels need to be printed on clear transparency paper and only on a LASER jet printer, so I took a copy printed on regular paper to a copy store and had mine done. I fit about 4 labels (approx. 3 inch high by 2 1/2 inches wide) per 8 1/2 x 11 sheet. I bought soap dispenser bottles and pump lids for cheap at U.S. Plastics (although a computer search should yield several companies). Each bottle and pump were way less than a dollar. roll up the label and pop it right side up into the bottle. Use a skinny pencil or long object to reach into bottle to straighten out the label and press it against the front of the bottle. Fill the bottle with clear soap or hand sanitizer. the liquid will help hold the label in place. Cut the length of the tube on the pump lid to fit the bottle and screw on the pump lid and tie with a cute ribbon and tag. This is great to do several bottles for teachers, neighbors, coworkers etc. and inexpensive.

  132. me says 25 October 2010 at 10:33

    Here’s a gift idea that anyone can make:


    She’s put a lot of creativity and sewing work into these toys — they’re totally art pieces and she obviously knows what she’s doing — but it’s not hard to do if you can sew a little bit.

  133. Lily (capital L) says 28 October 2010 at 06:33

    I just made a customized 2011 diary for a crafty friend. Every 2 or 3 pages I wrote something at the bottom (in calligraphy, nice colors): an aphorism, a beauty tip, a zen adage, or a riddle made up by myself, a joke (mine, again) etc – OR – glued a picture printed from the web, about the current season or her favorite actor. The diary has a pretty cover so I didn’t retouch it.

    On the other hand another friend hurt me a bit when, on FB, she wrote to me she wouldn’t like to receive handmade gifts but only commercial ones, because handmade are often horrid. When i told her I wanted to make her one but of course I won’t she said “just go on, I won’t be prejudiced”. Too late, lol… But hey, I know she has different values from mine.

  134. Heather says 29 October 2010 at 11:13

    Those are some good ideas. Other people left some really good ideas in their comments also. I’m not sure if someone has posted this yet or not but one year for my friends I hand made some really cute stockings, filled them with candy, a card, and a framed picture of my friend and I. They seemed to like it. It was fun, not too complicated (used a sewing machine) and pretty inexpensive.

  135. CC says 03 November 2010 at 09:14

    I did not find the website that useful but there were some good ideas. I might try the teapot candles idea, I think that my grandma would like that. But there aren’t many other things that I could make that would be good for my family like my two older teenage brothers.

  136. sally says 16 November 2010 at 11:53

    I really like some of the ideas you have here. I love giving gifts at Christmas time but being in college and all, I don’t have the time or money to buy gifts and go shopping, so this year one thing I plan to give to everyone is coal candy that I am going to make.
    the other day I was telling my nieces that if they are naughty all they will get is a bag of coal, if they are nice they might get something else too!
    to make the coal candy you just follow your favorite hard candy recipe, but color it black and pour it in a greased bowl and let it harden after it is hardened take a hammer to it! bag it up and put it in the naughty kids’ stockings!!!

  137. woohoo123 says 19 November 2010 at 18:30

    stuffed felt animals

  138. Storey says 04 December 2010 at 10:48

    i could not figure out what to do for my friends for christmas, and you gave me all of the ideas that i need! thanks to you, all of my holiday stress is gone!

  139. Wendy says 06 December 2010 at 11:57

    I have another great project to add to the list. I started making these last xmas and everyone loved them.

    Recycled Wine Bottle Candles: take an empty wine bottle with a pretty label (especially if it has sentimental value), cut bottle, sand edges, fill with soy wax and scent! Easy!

    Full directions or pre-made candles at:

    Merry Christmas!

  140. Jenna says 08 December 2010 at 11:32

    I love this DIY vintage cake stand, its so pretty! I’m making it for all the ladies in my family


  141. Melani Walker says 09 December 2010 at 07:43

    My fiancé and I just moved into a new home, and we are buying all new furniture and other items for out home. That will leave me with a little bit of money to spend on him for Christmas. What would be a cheap, but really special gift to give him?

  142. shannon says 19 December 2010 at 08:41

    I was really stuck on a christmas present to get my family when I finally got it! I made them a trivia game. I took humurous quotes from the past and put them on the front side of an index card and then i also put the answer on the other side. I repeated this with humerous: actions, personalities, and favorite words (like whos favorite word is….)! Anyway it was a big hit we played it all christmas and my family loved that I put so much time and effort into it 🙂 I hope this helps!

  143. Jordan says 31 December 2010 at 06:48

    I’m surprised no one mentioned three of my favorites: homemade beer, hard cider and mead. With the right equipment, some practice, time and the right yeast, these three can make great, tasty gifts. The cider and mead are also great holiday/winter time treats, especially if you live in colder areas.

  144. Julie says 14 September 2011 at 07:13

    Great ideas compiled. I prefer giving out homemade gifts more so than most of what is bought in the stores. Most of my family and I are not rich by any means. Most of us have some artistic talent. So, homemade / handmade gifts always mean more to us. Thank you for this compilation.

  145. Holly says 01 October 2011 at 14:55

    Every year our family gets together and bakes Christmas goodies for our friends and family. We also make homemade salsa for gifts as well and pair it with some chips for our friends. It has been a family tradition for many years, and our friends and family love it!

  146. Presentes Natal says 24 October 2011 at 05:51


    I particularly like the stuffed pig, specially because this is the second year I’m trying to make a stuffed doll for my girlfriend. Last Christmas I tried a teddy bear, but it looked like it was hit by a truck. I know how to do some embroidery, but making a doll is much harder…

    I’ll ask for help to try this pig, it looks really cute.


  147. Gorge says 12 November 2011 at 06:08

    This is a great list! It is really helpful and has sparked some creativity in me!Last year, my sister and I made a scrapbook of pictures we found and loved. Then we added small commentaries and it only cost us the cost of the scrapbook (5-10 dollars). We gave it to our parents and they were so happy!!!

  148. Mferris says 27 November 2011 at 16:01

    I loved making rice bags for my family one year. it took about 1/3 yard of fabric, inside out sew up the sides and hem the ends. turn right side out, portion the rice evenly in thirds and sew lines across so they stay in their ‘compartments’ and sew at the already hemmed ends. It’s super easy, the fabrics can be custom, and you can even sew monograms in the fabric before filling. It’s a super basic idea, and I think all my family lost theirs, but they were big hits when they got them about 10 years ago. I think I’ll make them again this year!

    Also, my mom cut a few yards of fleece a few years ago, sewed borders around the edges with regular fabric (I think she bought the edges to match the colors of the fleece) and gave them. It could be cool to match the rice neck/back warmers with the blankets and make a cozy gift.

    Anyways, just some ideas.


  149. J says 28 November 2011 at 17:50

    A few years ago, one of my friends made me a personalized pillow. She got an old pillow (not a big one, but one roughly the size of a folder), fabric pieces, and some shirts that no one in her family wore anymore. It was a wonderful gift because she included stuff that only we would understand (such as our group’s geeky nickname) and things that I like. Though it’s been years, I still use it today.

    Also, I have a suggestion for all of those gifting to book lovers. I myself am one and find that you can never have two many bookmarks. They’re easy to make and can be personalized with a special message or even a ribbon. I know that I love it when my friends give me a gift with a message written on it.

  150. HK says 28 November 2011 at 23:00

    My sister got a gift from her a roommate that I thought was AWESOME!!! She folded a bunch of paper bags together ad punched them and tied them together with string.. Then she pasted pictures of my sister and her in there, and in the openings in the bag, she put little index cards, giving quotes of encouragement, and recalling little memories… It sounds cheesy, but it actually looks pretty cool, if you add lots of pictures and color…

  151. Elina says 30 November 2011 at 13:13

    Thank you for a wonderful list of ideas.

    We live in UK, while our families are in Russia and for Xmas and New Year I am making a photobook of our live during the last year. Its about 20-30 pounds on blurb.com for up to 80 pages, and I feel that its the least I can do being so far away from them

    For local friends I am making handmade soaps. I am going to making them heart-shaped (fill the ice mould from IKEA) Should cure for the xmas!

  152. angelina says 01 December 2011 at 12:20

    this has given me an amazing idea thank-you very much!

  153. Rebecca says 02 December 2011 at 23:15

    Wow some of these people on here are scrooges lol No need to “Bah Humbug”. Take your negativity somewhere else. Your entitled to your opinion, but just because you’re miserable don’t take it out on here. If you don’t like the ideas then your just a click away from the backspace button. I loved these ideas and will be using some of them because thankfully my family and friends are loving people with great hearts who would cherish gifts like this and not a rediculously expensive gift that would put me in debt. Good job and thank you all and have a Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!!

  154. notnicolajames says 07 December 2011 at 13:40

    Make a mixed tape with songs about winter that not everyone knows. I have a playlist with singer-songwriter tunes that are beautiful: http://notnicolajames.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/mixed-tapes-best-songs-about-winter-and-snow/

  155. Joni says 08 December 2011 at 22:20

    Another Christmas gift idea to make kids “get to the money” is to buy them a Good Return gift certificate. They then log on online and choose a woman that they want to loan money to, then they receive updates as she repays. They get the money to keep or re-lend.

    Good Return is an Australian-based charity that provides small loans to impoverished women in the Asia Pacific who want to start or grow a small business to lift themselves and their family out of poverty. Worth checking out if you’re looking for a meaningful gift this Christmas!



  156. Erin says 13 December 2011 at 08:51

    Hello, I made some homemade christmas ornaments. They were so easy. I took walnuts and carefully cracked them open, removed the nut, took twine or ribbon and made a loop, and hot glued the nuts back together. Once the glue was set, I painted them glittery gold and let them dry, then sprayed clear coat on them and let them dry over night. I just bought small brown treat bags, and tissue paper to put them (2 per bag). I just put ribbon around the top of the bag and vola! Easy cheap presents, and they look amazing on a tree. It cost me about $20 to make 60 of them.

  157. Kimberly says 14 December 2011 at 16:11

    Last year, for my mom I couldn’t think of anything to make her! After awhile, it came to me.
    I took an old bead set from when I was about 6 years old and made her a charm bracelet and one for myself.
    She loved it, I wear it almost everyday.

  158. Ingo says 22 December 2011 at 03:58

    My mum always makes us do home made cards, and they are as good as any other present.

    We give our Nan photos of us, and she cuts us out, and sticks us on a photo shes taken, then sends the picture back to us.

    Vouchers are always a good thing to do, my friend really likes books, so i gave her a waterstones voucher. She enjoys the gift more because she knows what to buy for herself.

    If we get something we don’t like, we save the present and give it to someone else who would like it more than us.

    You could also make soap, and personalise the mould: if someone likes dogs, make them a dog mould. If someone really likes lavender, scent the soap with lavender.

    Always remember, christmas is about love and friendship, not buying the most expensive present you can find.

  159. Ingo says 23 December 2011 at 01:32

    Another good gift is to buy (or make) a bird house, and you can make them bird seed aswell. They will love this present, and so will the birds.

    I got together some old wood, naliled it together, painted a sign saying ‘bird house’ and stuck it on the hut. To make bird seed, you can tip the crumbs out of the bottom of your toaster, or mould (with your hands) goose fat, berries ans seeds into a heart shape. Poke a piece of ribbon through a gap near the top of the heart, and tie it into a bow. Messy, but the finished product lookes awesome. Enjoy!

  160. Ingo says 23 December 2011 at 02:32

    Another great gift for children is to adopt an animal for them. It’s roughly 2 pounds a month, but they recieve lots of updates on how well their animals doing, pictures, and some even give a cuddly toy. Its a really amazing gift for someone who loves animals, and wants to help them 🙂

  161. Angie says 26 August 2012 at 10:20

    Last year, I made a Family Recipe Book for my Dad. My Dad makes pickles and jams, along with christmas pies and treats. I took all his favourite recipes and some of his mom’s traditional recipes and built them into a family recipe book on picaboo. The best part, I found a groupon coupon to make a picaboo booklet worth $50 for $20. SCORE! It took a lot of time to gather the recipes and find the right pictures of family. The book is filled with family recipes and family pictures. It was also a great memory for my Dad, since he lost his mother and really misses her.

  162. Jenni-pooh bear says 26 August 2012 at 22:22

    Last year my 7 year old daughter and I made home made sugar scrubs and everyone loved it! We made the mixes ourselves using a couple recipes i found online and added a few of our own varieties, packed the mixtures in recycled glass baby food jars, decorated the jars, made cute little homemade labels, and then put them in a decorated basket letting each person pick a couple jars of their choosing! We had like 9+ different varieties to choose from!! Vanilla, lavender, coffee, orange, almond, etc, and even mixed some of them together for even more yummy scents! they are pretty much all natural and even edible if you so chose, though i wouldn’t recommend it.. 🙂 the men love it because it is great for getting oils and greases off their hands and leaves them a bit softer than before!! We had a lot of fun making it all too!!!

  163. Sam says 20 October 2012 at 10:26

    I’m on a budget this year, so I’ve decided to hand make some gift baskets. My friends and family with kids will be getting a basket with home made bath bombs, gingerbread and coconut ice ‘snowballs,’ hot chocolate, some cellophane bags layered with shaved chocolate and marshmallows as hot choc toppers, a bag of microwave popcorn and an inexpensive Christmas movie.
    Hoping that I’ll be giving them the best gift I can think of….time spent as a family 🙂

  164. Kayla says 09 November 2012 at 21:27

    My daughter did a special present for her favorite teacher she with her premision (that she got at start of year she always does gifts for her) printed pics of her and her friends and her and my daughter and made it into a collage

  165. Lottie says 14 November 2012 at 10:18

    Wow! This has given me loads of great ideas for FAB Christmas prezzies! Thanks guys!

  166. stephanie odom says 20 November 2012 at 06:05

    Just what I was looking for.

  167. Breanna says 23 November 2012 at 08:44

    Loved the ideas definitely going to use some of them for this Christmas season!!!

  168. Julie says 27 November 2012 at 18:54

    I love lists like yours…you even had some great ideas that I would like to try….what I can’t stand are things like this:
    ” 17. Sick of all my Martha Stewart links? Me too. Head on over to Not Martha to learn how to make stuff, including these marble magnets. You can pick up all of the supplies at your local craft store, and are reportedly fun to make. They look fun to make – I’m tempted to do these myself. (And though I couldn’t give them as Christmas gifts, I ♥ these cups made out of bacon.)

    There are so many links….none of which actually take you to the project that you are talking about….it’s simply an annoying time waster. I realize that you probably have to link to the person’s blog and not just the exact project….but at least tell us how to GET to the project on their blog….especially that one…there’s so much …..s…I mean stuff, on that blog that I don’t have time to waste poking around to find some cute magnet project.

  169. Alyssa says 08 December 2012 at 02:46

    Thanks for actually giving USEFUL and CREATIVE ideas! I’ve been searching everywhere and this has been really helpful.

  170. Keith Reed says 12 December 2012 at 16:14

    I love the one about personal gift certificates. I used that all the time when I was a teenager. I use it from time to time now as I have a lot of random skills that I can help my family out with. Saves both me and them some money.

  171. Kelly says 12 December 2012 at 22:15

    These are nice, just a little word about the home made cards though, if you are sending a card to anyone in prison, don’t make it, they won’t give it to them.

  172. Luvs4u says 17 December 2012 at 14:32

    Nice ideas!

  173. Laura says 18 December 2012 at 18:42

    I did 2 out of the 34 items on here. The secret hollow book (Number 3) and the teacup candles (number 28). I went to the Goodwill and got a hard back book for .74 cents. (WOW) Not meany people can say they only spent .74 cents on one person on there list. Then I got 3 teacups and saucers all for 2.00. Can’t go wrong with that. The friends I made the teacup candles for LOVED them. I will be making more! So for 4 gifts I spent only 3.00 with tax!

  174. Karen says 19 December 2012 at 10:50

    A couple of years ago, I made a list of questions for my elementary school-aged niece and nephew. I made up most of the questions myself, but was inspired by “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. I video recorded our interviews and made DVDs for their parents and grandparents. (It helps to know someone who is good at video editing!) Everyone loved the present, and they’ll have it to remember that age forever. (I think I’ll recreate it with new questions in a couple more years!)

    Thank you for this creative list! It has given me lots of ideas!

  175. Alex says 09 January 2013 at 21:26

    Thanks for these ideas, I used some of them this Christmas and they were a big hit.

  176. Hether says 27 April 2013 at 14:39

    This is a great list i lost my job and quite worried about christmas birthdays etc but this list has inspired me and saved me from the awkward not giving a gift moment xx

  177. Kathln says 04 May 2013 at 09:08

    I love this very extensive homemade gift ideas list. I gave my boyfriend a desk decoration by fashioning a dolphin out of self hardening clay, sticking a hard wire into the bottom and letting it dry. Then I put the extra blue clay into a wide mouthed goblet and stuck the dolphin there. It looks good and my man thought it was store bought. Yay for artistry!

  178. Je says 20 October 2013 at 13:03

    Great list, perfect for this year’s Christmas. Thanks!!

  179. how to make making christmas presents at home says 30 October 2013 at 19:41

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  180. Mark W says 03 November 2013 at 14:19

    Really good post and wow, 200 comments!!! I actually did my annual ‘sort-christmas-out’ spreadsheet yesterday and was planning to DIY some of the gifts. Maybe I should start handing out some of the paintings that I’ve made over the last 2 years (new hobby). Awesome list! Thanks very much!

  181. Kalei says 21 November 2013 at 18:13

    I liked quite a few of these and I’m definitely considering using some of them. A gift I am doing is a home made wind chime. It takes a lot of time but my older brothers family just recently moved and I think it would be a nice addition to his house to make them feel more at home.
    Another one is my older sister loves to surf and she has a bunch of old surfing magazines that she’s going to give to me and I’m going to make a photo collage from them.
    Another cute idea is to buy some jars for making jam and fill them up with different candies(you can sort them by color and put them in layers of colors) and decorate the outside of the jars with stickers of things they might like and ribbons in their favorite colors.
    hope this is helpful!

  182. cute says 22 November 2013 at 15:27

    Give her a nice and warm hug and write her a beautiful song or poem that you believe will be unforgettable.DO NOT GRAB A POEM FROM THE INTERNET.She’ll find out somehow one way or another.Write a poem or song that really comes from your HEART,SOUL,and LOVE for her.She will never forget it, for real.<3

  183. martha says 29 November 2013 at 23:09

    I love Christmas!! I love handmade gifts… not everyone does… too bad for them. Anyway this is the first year that things I wanted to make didn’t work out. I made some GIVING PLATES (with markers baked on)..then washed them in the dishwasher and the paint all came off… and I made some cake takers (plastic)… (colored with Sharpie markers both the regular and oil based).. the color came off. I AM A BIT SAD ABOUT THAT.. BUT ON A POSITIVE NOTE… I purchased tall slender white candles at the dollar tree and painted snowmen on them…. they turned out GREAT! Does anyone have suggestions to make paint stay on plates(stoneware) and on plastic (cake takers)..from dollar tree?

  184. cute homemade gifts for boyfriend says 03 April 2014 at 14:45

    Think about packing in a dessert, possibly whipped cream and strawberries,
    cupcakes with sprinkles, Valentine’s cookies, anything that
    sincerely celebrates the mood and represents your special day.

    Maybe another time he goes off for some nature-tripping,
    he’d want you to return along. ‘ For golf lovers, you can
    give something practical.

  185. Victoria says 17 November 2014 at 15:32

    Love the ideas. Can’t wait to try one.

  186. Sudarto says 02 July 2015 at 19:32

    You are really creative. Writing about a Christmas gift that must be prepared by anyone ahead of the Christmas. Especially for parents who have children.

    You are very creative. Develop various forms of Christmas gifts to 99 items. Of course, this will help anyone who wants to buy Christmas gifts in 2015.

    You are correct. Setting up a Christmas gift from now is better than the Christmas is near. The price will be cheaper while now.

    Yes, you are really creative to provide the information about various of Christmas gift that can help many people. In addition, shopping early will save your money.

  187. Georgianne Licursi says 07 August 2015 at 18:44

    Fantastic information on this site! Really cool ideas. Awesome effort!

  188. Dianne Anderson says 25 October 2015 at 08:58

    Several years ago I made a St Nick doll, sat him on a real log in some real snow. Photo-ed him, computer copied on card paper. These were my Christmas cards To accompany home made Finnish cardamon coffee bread. Fun & delicious!

  189. Scarlet Sanchez says 02 December 2015 at 23:48

    What an amazing list. You know, this got me thinking about Christmas, and some of my favorite Christmas memories are the ones that had no cost involved.

  190. Dklos says 16 December 2015 at 21:54

    I love the idea of making your own christmas gifts. I believe making your own gifts is the best way to go. It puts more thought in it and is more unique. I found a great kit that you can make that is shipped to you and you can customize it to your specs. If anyone is interested, its bucilla stocking kits.

  191. Bike says 29 February 2020 at 07:45

    Awesome list. I totally dig the Love Coupons idea! Thanks:)

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