It’s tough to look back and try to think if there was ever a year that I felt completely comfortable with my Christmas budget.
Gifts aside, there’s also travel, food, and unpredictable circumstances that you’ll have to deal with around the holidays. (Yes, we’ve all forgotten to pack underwear before and have had to make an impromptu Target stop.)
But what we forget as adults is that the most important part of the holidays is spending time with people we love. It doesn’t matter how much a present is — it just matters that thought went into it. Even if a present bombs on first sight, hearing the story about how it ended up in someone’s cart usually makes up for it and gives that present a little more life.
That’s why there’s nothing better than handmade gifts. Not only did you put thought into it, but you put in time as well.
You don’t need to be an artist to make something special. But the more you do, the better you’ll get. So perhaps this is the year you’ll want to put your credit card aside. (That is, unless you’re buying a craft table.) With just a few household items (and maybe one trip to your local craft and hobby store of choice), you can create something special for everyone on your list.
Already panicking about how you might not have time to make presents for everyone? Breathe easy. These 14 holiday crafts and gifts that you can make at home won’t be complicated.
Apple Spiced Pancakes
Tia Mowry is a huge fan of gifting food, and her apple spiced pancake recipe is one of the best. In the jar, she combines all of her dry ingredients. All the recipient needs to do is add the wet ingredients to have a delicious homemade breakfast. If you have flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves, and allspice, you can make these right now.
It’s a lot easier to make a wreath at home than you may think. It’s also pretty cheap, especially if you’ve inherited a lot of Christmas bulbs. One wire hanger will help you string them all together. Feel free to get creative — you don’t have to use only Christmas or Hanukkah colors. If your sister loves the color pink, it’s a wreath she can put on her door year-round.
Homemade Felt Ornaments
Felt is relatively inexpensive and can be used for plenty of crafts in the future. So investing in a few sheets isn’t the worst idea. Consider hand-sewing your own personalized ornaments for your family members. If you think you’re going to make a tradition of it, also be sure to indicate the year. WonderfulDIY is a great place to learn how to make all types of felt ornaments.
Holiday Picture Frames
There are plenty of ways to take a $1 picture frame and make it something special. YouTuber CraftyGirl took cheap frames, jazzed them up with a little paint, then added cute holiday-themed decor she found in Target’s dollar zone. You can make plenty of these at once and have each one be a little different.
Everyone out there uses soap, so this DIY gift is already a guaranteed hit. Good Housekeeping has a good recipe that includes olive oil, coconut oil, coffee, oat bran, and lye. Lye, by the way, is sodium hydroxide — so you’ll want to be careful while using it.
Marble Dipped Mugs
Literally the only things you need to make marble-dipped mugs are warm water, nail polish, and blank white mugs. These are incredibly fun to make, and the fact that no two look alike makes each one special.
Mason Jar Diorama
Mason jars make everything look pretty. The Make & Do Crew created these Mason jar dioramas with minimal supplies. Using salt as “snow,” you can buy a bunch of Mason jars and mini-figurines and make each person on your list a special homemade gift. Christmas lights or flameless votive candles also look nice. Keep in mind, they don’t even have to be holiday-themed. You can also make fall decor Mason jar dioramas by filling your jars with leaves and pine cones.
Decorative Cupcake Santas
Even though these include a cupcake liner, you can use these to decorate any sort of dessert — or just stick them in stable houseplants so that the whole house can feel the holiday spirit. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of craft sticks and glue so you can get creative. EasyPeasyFun outlines a bunch of projects you can make that utilize cupcake liners, from Santa to angel ornaments.
A Mini Succulent Garden
A few succulents on their own are nice, but how about matching some together for some gorgeous decor? Real Simple suggests using five to seven small succulents per bowl. If you buy a bunch of supplies all at once, everyone could get their own mini garden that’ll be unique to them. Home Depot or another home improvement store will have everything you need. Amazon also sells succulents by bulk.
Homemade Candy Jars
This is yet another great use for spare Mason jars. Fill each one with personalized favorites, using layering techniques to make them look even better. Tie a ribbon around each one to make them even more special.
Cookie Cutter Candles
Who knew that cookie cutters could also be great molds for homemade candles? PopSugar has a great tutorial on how to make these. What you’ll need are candlewicks, candle ends, cookie cutters, parchment paper, and a sheet pan. Heat-safe bowls are also a must.
Homemade Lip Gloss
You probably go through a lot of lip gloss throughout the years, so learning how to make your own might end up saving you quite a bit of money. It also makes for a great gift, especially in the wintertime. Adventures in All Things Food concocted a recipe that includes only coconut oil, Kool-Aid, water, and sugar. To package them, the tutorial uses 2-ounce makeup jars that you can buy on Amazon.
Are you handy? HGTV turned ordinary fence-post caps into something everyone can appreciate. The network has an easy-to-follow tutorial about how to create your own box for either jewelry or trinkets using 4-inch caps, spray paint, a drawer knob for a handle, super glue, and sandpaper. If that seems like a lot to handle, Amazon also sells small wooden boxes that would look beautiful with just a little bit of paint.
Everyone needs a new set of coasters. By following this tutorial from YouTuber DIY Pete, you’ll be creating your own unique presents in no time. All you need are some tiles, Mod Podge, a foam brush, felt pads, a spray sealer, and photos or magazine cut-outs that you’ll want to use for a design.