Giving and receiving gifts is one of the most fun parts of Christmas. Calm down—I didn’t say it was the purpose of Christmas. I said it was a fun part of it.
But it can also be a stressful part. Instead of falling for the pressure to buy that perfect, life-changing gift for everyone on your list, give yourself permission to think differently.
Some of the best gifts you can give are simple, inexpensive do-it-yourself projects. And because handmade gifts are naturally more thoughtful (because of the time you took to create them), they are often more meaningful to the person receiving them than a store-bought present.
Here are five homemade gifts I’ve given over the years that were easy, cheap and a huge home run. Enjoy!
1. Sugar Scrub
Winter celebrations are a time for warm hearts but scaly skin. That’s why a moisturizing sugar scrub seemed like a fun idea for my girlfriends. I originally found this on Pinterest but added my own flare.
I combined 2 ½ cups of sugar with 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Then I added about 20 drops of lavender oil to make it smell nice.
When my scrub was finished, I scooped it into mason jars and tied a cute dollar-store spoon to the lid. All of my friends told me it was one of their favorite gifts. Some of them used it every day and even asked me to make more!
2. Map Heart Art
This idea is one of my favorites. Since my mother-in-law has family all over the country, I made her a piece of framed art using roadmaps cut into the shape of a big heart.
First, I headed to the gas station and bought a map for each of the four states in which she has family. Next, I made a heart stencil out of construction paper and then cut it into four pieces.
I placed each of the stencil pieces over a family member’s city and cut away. Then, I glued my map heart back together onto cardstock and added scrapbook letters to say “Home Is Where the Heart Is.” It’s a special reminder of family and a great decoration for the house!
3. Handmade Earrings
Jewelry is almost always a win with women. For this gift, I simply bought a few beads, hooks and clamps from the hobby store and whipped these up one night while watching TV.
I gave the earrings to all of my girlfriends that year. Not only did they really like them, but we all had a matching pair! It was kind of like an adult version of friendship bracelets. Who says we’re too old for that?
4. Dry-Erase Calendar
This is a fun and functional decoration for a kitchen or office. And it’s way more thoughtful than a run-of-the-mill dry-erase calendar from the office supply store.
For starters, I bought a large picture frame and then inserted a piece of burlap behind the glass. On top of the burlap, I designed calendar squares out of ribbon and used scrapbook letters to mark the weekday initials.
Once the glass is back in place, your friends can dry-erase their way through the month! You can always make it a larger frame with smaller ribbon if you want more writing space too.
5. Box of Local Goodies
Before my wedding a few years ago, my mother-in-law said her friends would be throwing me a “Southern Tea.” I had no idea what that meant, but it turned out to be amazing.
They invited more than 60 of their friends, and the tea party had 15 hosts! Fifteen! I wanted to do a great gift for the hosts that was thoughtful and different but since there were so many, I had to keep the cost down. I decided to make a cute box of little gifts from my hometown of Nashville.
If you’ll be visiting family or friends out of town, this is a creative way to bring some local goodies and share your city with them.
This Christmas, don’t go out and get just another thing to check off your list. Take these ideas and run with them or make up some of your own. There are limitless ways to add a personal touch to the gifts you give and save money in the process!
Have a crafty Christmas!