So many times over the years I’ve wanted to give gifts to people I associate with regularly, but who don’t fall into the usual categories of family and friends – coworkers, neighbors, my kid’s teachers, friends from church – but couldn’t really afford to shell out the money necessary to buy nice gift(s). What to do? Why, make something, of course!
There are several categories of gifts that you can choose from.
If you are able to cook or bake, then an obvious choice is a box of cookies or candy, or perhaps a decorative sack of Chex mix or candied nuts. A different gift I received one year was hot chocolate mix with candy cane stirrers dipped in white chocolate and rolled in large sugar crystals. If you have a bit more to spend, you could include a holiday mug. Similar gift idea:
Your choice is only limited by your ability and budget. When I was a child, a friend of my mother made a wide variety of traditional German Christmas cookies, and gave us a box every year, which we looked forward to eagerly.
These look so professional, and wouldn’t they make great gifts too? If you go to the video on YouTube, there are links to her no-spread cookie and icing recipes. There are 26 videos in her Christmas cookies playlist!
Another category is homemade Christmas ornaments. I have made and gifted German paper stars (and I use them on my own tree too). I first learned to make them when I was about ten years old, and our church youth group made them to sell at the church bazaar. You really need accurately cut paper strips, which fortunately you can buy on the internet.
These pretty ones are from Amazon. They come in different widths and color packs:
Alternatively, you can cut your own, but this becomes tedious if you are making a lot of stars. On the other hand, you can use any decorative paper you have, as long as it is decorated on both sides, and is long enough to cut into strips. A one inch strip should be at least 24″ long. I have even made them from the colored newspaper funny pages, although newsprint is a bit light weight.
Add a decorative string or ribbon to hang them on the tree, and add embellishments, if you like. I personally prefer the plain white ones that are dipped in wax, and sprinkled with glitter. You could also use spray adhesive and glitter, or just leave them plain. The width of your paper strips determines the finished size. A one inch wide strip will produce a four inch diameter star. Here is how they are made. It’s a bit tricky at first, but you will be able to do these quickly in no time:
Take a look at your local craft store (or on the internet) for ideas. There are hundreds of ideas for every budget and ability. For example, I have made ornaments from pine cones I picked up under the trees at work and down the block from my house, decorated them with ribbon, a small bird from the craft store, some craft store berries and a bit of glitter. Pine cones make pretty wreathes too.
This little gnome is cute!
Personal care or home gifts. That would include homemade candles, soaps, bath salts, body scrubs, lip balm etc. Here is an idea from Martha Stewart:
Now it’s your turn – what is your favorite homemade gift idea?