In case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s your friendly reminder that there are only 23 days until Christmas. If this makes you cringe, don’t worry. Gifts don’t need to be overly complicated or even pricey. Of all the presents I’ve ever given or received, my favorites have been simple, straight from the heart, and made by hand.
Who doesn’t get a little teary-eyed unwrapping that special handmade gift from a loved one? There was the year we had the boys hand paint some pottery for all their grandparents. My parents got coffee mugs, something they use every day, so they get to start each morning with happy thoughts about their grandchildren. There ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
You can always make wonderfully elaborate handmade gifts—and you should, if you have the time and talent. But I’m talking about the type of thing the average Joe can make with a little spare time and a few basic “ingredients.” Heck, you don’t even need to be creative! An internet search will get you halfway there.
Of course, you want your gifts to be personal. Think about things around your own home that visitors frequently comment on. Do they drool over the sourdough bread you always make? Do they love the smell of the DIY air fresheners in the family room? Instant gift ideas! And for people who’ve never visited, no problem. Just consider what you know about them. Is there a foodie on your list? A big reader? A collector of photographs? Or even a friend whose been thinking about making the switch to non-toxic cleaners? Bam! Ideas galore!
Here are a few more of my favorite handmade gift ideas:
- Vanilla Extract: Start with a funky bottle and some good quality vanilla beans. Add vodka, rum, or some other alcohol…and voila. You have a great gift for the baker of the family. The extract will need some time to mature before it becomes delicious, so be sure to include a note with the gift explaining when it will be ready to use.
- Beef Jerky: Skip the jar of mixed nuts this year. You don’t need to be a master chef to give this delicious snack instead. In fact, you don’t even need a dehydrator! Simply pick up some grass-fed beef and throw together your seasonings of choice, and you’re well on your way. While you’ll need some time for the marinating and dehydrating, it’s an easy process that will make you wonder why you ever bought the stuff at the supermarket.
- Sourdough Starter: You have a friend who dabbles in bread making and loves the sourdough loaf you always make. Why not give him or her a container of sourdough starter—and offer to demonstrate how to use it.
- Laundry Soap: For that person who keeps talking about switching over to natural cleaners around the house, you only need a few things to make the perfect gift: a large, wide-mouth glass container and three readily available ingredients. The powder version takes no time at all to put together, and you can even add some essential oils if you’re in the mood. Be sure to include a recipe card around the neck of the container so the next batch will be a cinch to make. For an added bonus, you could put together a recipe book of your favorite household cleaners and a list of where to get the ingredients.
- Bath Salts: A bathtub full of warm water is one of my all-time favorite things. Surely there’s people on your list who feel the same way, and a cool jar of bath salts will make them giddy with anticipation. Salts aren’t hard to make. Even better, once you buy the ingredients, you’ll have enough to make some for gifts and keep some for yourself too.
- Room Air Fresheners: I’ve never been a fan of the chemical scent that comes from those jar air fresheners you find at the store, so I looked into making them myself. Wow—easy! And when you make them yourself, you can make them totally customizable for whatever room (or person) they’re intended for.
There’s something about handmade gifts that melts my heart. And this year, they’re sure to have the same affect for everyone on your own gift-giving list .
What are some of your favorite ideas for handmade gifts?
Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/Ian Barnard