Easy Homemade Christmas Gifts

Last week, we talked about why it’s worth trying to make Christmas easier and less stressful, and I loved hearing examples in the comments of how you’ve gotten your holiday to run smoother.

This week, let’s talk about some of the nitty gritty: presents. Like I said last week, this isn’t about going cold turkey and not giving anything or celebrating, but about finding a balance that works within time and budget restrictions, so you can have the best holiday (however you define “best”).

Here are a few of my favorite inexpensive things to give, and I’d love to hear more ideas from you in the comments!

For experiences, try holiday related things. Make cookies together, decorate the tree, watch a Christmas movie, or go see lights in the neighborhood.

If you have common interests, you can give money or a gift card toward a class that you’re both interested in, or for a significant other make reservations for a date night.

If you have kids on your list, especially if they’re not an only child, just giving them individual attention can be a great gift. I’ve taken kids to science activities, a Barnes and Noble to read and drink hot chocolate, or spent the day baking and making art projects with them.

Now, if you’d like to give something physical, we’ve got some more options. For people you know well, try to think of something they’d have a functional use for. One of my older sisters isn’t generally a fan of homemade items, but she lives in very cold weather. I spent some time looking at cold weather accessories, trying to think about her style and favorite colors, and ended up knitting her some beautiful finger less gloves. She loved them! I’ve also seen fleece blankets given a lot recently, for good reason since they’re so cozy and pretty quick to whip up (these are great gifts for people in colder climates or who get chilly easily).

Having trouble thinking of something? Consumable items are your friends – cookies and desserts, liqueurs, infused olive oil, scrubs – as long as you keep to scents and flavors to ones you know they like or are fairly mainstream, you should be set. (Of course make sure you’re aware of any food allergies).

Got a coffee lover? Biscotti are perfect for dunking into a warm cup of coffee (or if you make them a little less crunchy, for eating all on their own).

Want to give a less traditional sweet treat? Cookie dough truffles are always a big hit.

Know someone on a diet? Instead of giving them a giant batch of cookies, try giving them cookies in a jar. This lets them plan out when to make them so they can have other people around to help them eat them, rather than a plateful tempting them in the kitchen.

A cook on your list? Give some real vanilla extract or infused olive oils.

Have an over 21 (or your country’s legal age) person on your list? Try some Kahlua or Irish Cream! They’re ridiculously quick and look great in a nice bottle, while everyone oohs and aaahs over how you made your own liqueur.

Want to give a piece of art? Try an easy photo to canvas transfer, or for a more abstract approach a pixel painting, which takes some time but very little skill.

In place of Bath and Body Works lotion, which tends to be super oily and is hard for anyone with scent issues or sensitive skin, make your own luxurious lotion that you can tweak the scent of, or even leave it plain.

You can also give a sweet smelling brown sugar scrub (and there are plenty of recipes out on the web if they have another scent they’re a fan of).

When it comes time to wrap your presents, you can get intricate and crafty with eco-friendly wrapping, or just mix it up a bit with some magazine page bows.

What are your favorite experience or tangible presents? I’d love to hear about ones you’ve given as well as those you’ve received.

As an added bonus, here are my favorite blog posts on the topic of simple, handmade Christmas experiences and presents. (You may notice I have a lot of The Frugal Girl on here. I love me some Frugal Girl.)

Christmas Experience Ideas

Homemade Gift Ideas

5 Ways to Spend Less Time Christmas Shopping

Lowering Kids’ Christmas Present Expectations

Prioritizing Your Christmas

Giving Meaningful Presents

A Quasi-Minimalist Christmas

Tips for a Smoother Christmas

6 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Christmas Gifts

  1. I made dishwasher vodka this year – vodka + crushed hard sweets, Skittles or chocolate, run through a hot dishwasher cycle then strained. Delicious, if slightly fiddly.

  2. I always think homemade jewelry is a GREAT gift for women.and girls. Tutus for little girls are so cute and pretty inexpensive to make. I made 7 for my daughters fifth birthday for under $30 buying the tulle when it was half-off (all the girls at the party got a tutu as their take-home gift:)

    As far as the kiddos expectations on Christmas, we’ve always told them that Santa and the elves have SOO MANY kids to make presents for that we can’t be greedy and can only ask for one or two things. They seem to think that’s fair – although they aren’t in school yet so not playing the compare game.

    Great post!

    • I’ve never actually tried out jewelry making – I’ve wanted to, but it seems intimidating, and when everything is sold in packs of, like, 100, the part of my brain that recognizes my tendency to get easily distracted points out that I’m probably not going to use all of those, and I slink away.

      Tutus are such a cute idea!

  3. Pingback: My Favorite (and IMHO the best) Foods to Make From Scratch | Excerpts of Awkwardness

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