DIY presents—Make your own homemade holiday gifts

Homemade gifts go over well with friends and family because they come from the heart.

Homemade gifts go over well with friends and family because they come from the heart.

You love receiving presents—desperately trying to unknot the bow, giving up and sliding it off the box, ripping the paper and then casting aside the lid to reveal the thoughtful treasure your loved one has imagined you would adore. But when it comes to giving presents, sometimes the challenge of finding that perfect thing (or affording it) can suck a bit of the gift-giving joy right out of the season. What’s a cash- and time-strapped college student to do? DIY presents. Yup, even if you aren’t the crafty type, you can make your own homemade holiday gifts.

Make it meaningful

The first step in creating your own DIY presents (that go a step beyond that store gift card) is putting a little thought and effort into the idea. The purpose of a gift is to bring you and the other person closer together, to show you appreciate them and generally to bring a smile to their face. Sounds like an unsolvable riddle, right? But you can crack the code.

Posted on November 14, 2013, on, “A Mostly DIY Guide to Family Gifts,” Emma Dajska shares her suggestion for a so-called practical gift. No she isn’t suggesting laundry detergent or socks, either. She writes, “Put your interests in one circle and the other person’s in the other one. Then brainstorm about what might fit in both circles. BAM: You’ve cracked the code of the ideal gift!”

A handy gift guide

If you are looking for a faster, simpler path to DIY presents, the good people at Natural Living Ideas have your back in their homemade holiday gift extravaganza “112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas” article posted on November 14, 2013. Here’s a hot list to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Spa in a Jar—Fill a mason jar with all the accouterments you will need, from a homemade maple brown sugar scrub to make-your-own pebble candles for ambiance.
  2. Chocolate Truffles—Discover your inner gourmet, and make a friend for life, when you give these DIY goodies.
  3. Wine Cork Trivet—Got a vino-loving family member? Wow them with this handy, and eco-friendly, idea.
  4. Potpourri—Share the scent of the season (and save some cash) when you make your own simmering instant potpourri.
  5. Snow Globe—Who doesn’t love a snow globe? You can capture the holiday spirit (in a jar!) when you make your own.
  6. Build Your Own Fort—Got a younger sibling or a niece or nephew? Wow them with a DIY kit to make their own fort.
  7. Edible Birdhouse—We’ve all got the family member who can’t get enough of the garden or outdoors; show them you get it when you create some housing for our fine-feathered friends.
  8. Edible Pet Treats—Cat and dog people will love it when you shower their furry friend with some homemade and tasty treats.

Take it to the next level

Feel pretty confident about your crafting skills? Then you might be ready to take it to the next level of homemade holiday gifts. Celeb Lauren Conrad posted her suggestions on November 21, 2013, for DIY presents in “Gift Guide: DIY Gift Ideas.” Conrad likes to go the homemade route because the gifts “are more personal, and the fact that they cannot be found in a store makes them special.”

Her suggestions include a chalkboard serving dish, complete with some yummy cheese and bread for your friend or family member that likes to host a fancy soiree, or a handmade knitted scarf. She also offers tutorials on how to make a crystal cake stand from an old plate and candlestick or a personalized pillow with your friend or family member’s initials.

Sure, you may end up gluing your fingers together or find your hair coated in flour, but when you take the time to put a little DIY effort into presents, you end up with a homemade holiday gift that they will treasure (and possibly a REALLY funny story to share). Now that makes giving almost as much fun as receiving, doesn’t it? 

Will you be going the DIY gift route this holiday season? Share your best ideas for a homemade present in the comments below.

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