8 Holiday Gifts You Can Make

Christmas-Shopping-Fever-2I have yet to start my Christmas shopping.  My tree is up, but there is not a single wrapped present under it (or unwrapped present hiding in a closet somewhere).  Moving less than two months ago and starting a new job/new career just over a month ago, I feel a bit behind on the whole holiday thing.  So it is highly unlikely that I will find time to make any gifts.  But I still like the idea of homemade gifts, especially for hostess gifts and gifts to neighbors.  And maybe some of you have a bit more time on your hands and would like to try one or more of these ideas out.  If you do, give me some feedback.

I scoured Pinterest for what I thought were good homemade gift ideas…things thatWoman Reading Long List weren’t overly complicated/ didn’t require a laundry list of tools and supplies and would be something I would be proud to give as a gift.  Let me tell you, there is a plethora of how to make your own bath salts and body scrubs.  But I was kind of “meh” on those…does anyone actually use those?  And they seemed to be made of sugar as the base…I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t in love with the idea of rubbing some scented sugar all over my body…like isn’t sugar sticky?  Just didn’t do it for me.   I did include a “body butter” idea, but I’m a bit skeptical…trying to be open-minded.

So I have eight different ideas for you.  Some could be really fun to do with children…I love the idea of having kids make gifts.  My own kids are grown up now but over the years we made and gave many a gift.  I think it means more to the kids when they have a hand in the gift.  But let’s get on with it, there are only 17 days until Christmas!

Idea #1: Coasters


I thought these were really cute and people can always use coasters.  You can choose some pretty wrapping paper or scrapbooking paper to make these ~ Paper Source has some beautiful options…you could even make some holiday specific coasters.  I was recently looking for (non-holiday) coasters and quite frankly I was disappointed in what was available…a lot of ugly ones out there.  So this seemed like a fun idea, and definitely something that kids could do.  You will probably need to make a run to the craft store for a few supplies, along with a trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s for the tiles.  But overall this seemed like a relatively simple project with nice results.  I won’t get to these before the holidays but I might try to make a set for myself later on.

Idea #2: Paperwhites in a Mason Jar


Forcing bulbs at the holidays is a fun way to bring some cheer into the house in the middle of winter, and paperwhites are an easy bulb to force.  This project requires just a few supplies, and is another one that children can help with.  This could be a nice gift to hand out to neighbors, or to deliver to a senior center…although any age can enjoy flowers in winter!  I expect you can find the bulbs at any outdoor center but if you like to have things magically appear at your door like I do, you can order them on Amazon (of course) or from Home Depot.

Idea #3: Hot Cocoa Kits


This one is just really pretty…makes a very nice presentation, and once you find the containers, the rest of the supplies are easy.  The author gives some direction in finding the craft bottles she used, I am giving you the direct link.  The bottles are $1 apiece.  The author says that each gift comes in at about $5, perfect for giving to teachers, neighbors or anyone you just want to give a little something to without breaking the bank.  I like the myriad of ideas for what to fill the containers with (besides the hot cocoa mix of course!).  Kids would have fun putting these together.  What really makes this gift in my opinion is the decorative ribbon and other touches that give it a festive look.  A lot of room for being creative here.

Idea #4: Sharpie Paint Pen Christmas Glasses


Can’t get any easier than this one.  You need some kind of glassware and sharpie paint pens (which dry quickly and are smear-resistant and waterproof).  The glasses shown here are done with silver and gold paint pens ($5.99 on Amazon, or I just found them at Staples)…I am all about glitz at the holidays, so I love these.  But you could also use red and green or blue and silver for some Hanukkah fun.  You don’t even have to be particularly talented to do these…maybe the Christmas tree above would take a moderate amount of skill, but the squiggles and dots anyone can do, even someone with minimal artistic talent like myself.  I also found these examples at Crate & Barrel which would be easy to mimic.


Idea #5: Peppermint Body Butter


This one I am a bit more skeptical about, but it sure looks pretty.  It is made from coconut oil, cocoa butter, peppermint oil and some red food coloring.   I think I would try this on myself before giving to someone else.  And I would also to make sure to label this well…I might be tempted to eat it instead of using it on my skin if I didn’t know better.

Idea #6: Tiered Platter (or holiday plates)


This idea is presented as a two-tiered platter, which is nice for the holidays for serving cookies and other treats.  But you could also just do holiday plates or platters without adding the candlestick to make it two tiered.  Note that the modge podge shown in the directions is not waterproof.  There is a waterproof one called outdoor modge podge, if you thought you would be subjecting your plates/platters to more vigorous cleaning.  I still wouldn’t put anything like this in the dishwasher.

Idea #7: Gift in  a Tin


This is a fun gift because it is adaptable to different themes.  You can do a Christmas Baking Kit, Winter Cold Survival Kit, Movie Night Tin, Coffee Lover Tin, Snow Day Tin, Spa Day Tin or anything else you can dream up or that would be a good fit for the recipient (I think an art tin for kids could be fun).  The great thing about the linked post is that she provides you with printable labels and tags to go with the gift tins she has posted about, making it even easier to reproduce beautiful results.


Finding the galvanized tubs isn’t quite so easy (or inexpensive).  I did find this resource, aptly called Bucket Outlet, that has a host of different sizes and the price points seem reasonable.  Just recognize that the price of this gift could vary a lot depending on the contents and the style/size of the container you choose.   Bucket Outlet also has colored buckets if you would prefer to do something in red or blue (Hanukkah) or even as a gift for a birthday, mother’s day, etc.

Idea #8: Limoncello and Homemade Baileys Irish Cream


Probably the one idea on my list that isn’t really child-friendly.  🙂  Limoncello…so pretty, so tasty.  I had no idea you could make your own.  And truthfully it seems like it would be pretty easy…but you might have to start this one next year as it needs to set first for 2 weeks, then for an additional 3 weeks.  So too late for this Christmas…but pin it to your Pinterest* page for next year.  Or try it out for yourself now, make for friends next year.  Unfortunately you are going to have to make your own tags (aren’t the ones pictured cute?).


Unlike the Limoncello, the Bailey’s Irish Cream (or maybe we should just call it Irish Cream, right?) is ready immediately and will keep up to 2 months in the refrigerator.  Finding bottles like these is pretty easy…here is an online resource.  And here is another resource for all kinds of bottles and jars (including mason jars) that can be used in various projects.

I know I said “8” holiday gifts you can make, but I’m going to throw in one bonus gift…for those with no time or limited skills.   I’m not even going to link to a blog post on this one, I think you got this.  🙂


So there you have it, eight nine different ideas to get your holiday gift-giving jump-started.  I would love to hear from anyone who tries out any of these projects…both the good and the bad.  Did it turn out?  Was it easy or hard?  Any tips you would like to pass along?  Was the gift well-received?  And most importantly, was it FUN?!

*If you like my ideas, consider following me on Pinterest!



About Lisa Van Dore

I have lived in Sherborn, Dover and most recently North Walpole, for a total of 15 years (and counting). Having recently been through the process of selling a home and buying (and renovating) a new one, I understand the conflicting emotions of excitement and anxiety inherent in the process, whether you are a seller or buyer, whether this is your first home purchase or your tenth. I have a BA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Indiana University. My early career found me working as a CPA, and later as the controller of Crate & Barrel. More recently I spent seven years running my own personal training business. I understand the hard work and dedication necessary to build a business and a reputation...most of my personal training clients came to me by referral and my first client was still with me when I decided to leave personal training. This speaks to the level of effort I put forth for my clients, week after week. On a more personal note, I raced triathlon for seven years and more recently completed my first half marathon. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, Maine, hiking and, in the fall, following college football...my teams are the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!).
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