Make Your Own Christmas Gifts

If your Christmas list is starting to be a handful, it's time to consider making your own gifts. Here are several easy-to-make crafts that make wonderful home-made Christmas gifts.


Paper gifts

  1. Create a customized journal. Purchase an inexpensive, old-fashioned, black and white composition book (usually smaller than a regular notebook, and with the pages sewn in). Cover the book with aluminum foil, gift wrap, or fabric, wrapping the edges to the inside. Use spray adhesive to secure it to the inside of the cover. For teenagers, even duct tape (which comes in colors) can be used to cover the book. Add stickers, photos, magazine cutouts, and handwritten words (inside jokes, names of recipient's children) reflecting the recipient's interests. Write a short note on the first page about how much the recipient means to you.
  2. Make a set of cards with envelopes. If you're into paper or card making, create a set of cards using an image you've painted/stitched/drawn/printed, etc. You can either repeat the same image on each card or make a variant of it. You can even make your own envelopes to go with the set of cards if you're really keen. Place it all into a small box and affix a ribbon that can be tied shut to keep it all neatly together.

Jewelry gifts

  1. Make a necklace. Buy an inexpensive cotton cord from the craft store along with some multi-colored beads.Or you can always just make paper beads out of gift wrap or their favorite magazines. Just ask their permission first! They are also available in any craft store for a small amount. Cut {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} of the cord and start threading some beads into it. Rub some glue around the sewing tip to make it stiff. You will have a nice long bead necklace for the teenagers and friends on your list.
  2. Make a "water bottle bracelet". Get a water bottle. Then, you cut out a bangle from the water bottle. Glue thick ribbon on the inside. Next, go get a map (Europe usually looks best). Glue the map to the bangle. Now, get some Mod Podge, and put a layer on it every 20 minutes (do this about 4 times.) Let it dry. Give your bracelet to the person. They will love it dearly.

Stitched gifts

  1. If your recipient has what seems like a few warehouses of small electronics, or just a few, try sewing an iPod case for example. The ideal article on how to do this can be traveled to from here. See How to make an iPod cover for details. This method can also be used on many other small electronics.
  2. Make rice socks. Or, if you sew, make a tidier, sewn version from scrap fabric. Great for all sorts of purposes from toys to back support cushions.
  3. Sew accessories. If you are good at sewing, quick and inexpensive gifts can be made when you focus on the accessories. Try sewing belts, neck ties, hair accessories and shoe bows.
  4. Make stuffed toys. For children and the young-at-heart, hand sewn toys will be treasured for years to come. Choose cute fabrics, from vintage to eye-popping colors, dependent on the age and likes of the gift recipient.

Clothing gifts

  1. Knit a warm fuzzy scarf. It will be a lasting memory and really useful if your gift recipient(s) live somewhere cold. If you don't know how to knit, there are many websites, books, and magazines that can teach u how. Or you could go to the nearest yarn store and ask one of the people there for lessons. If you knit or crochet, consider the many other possible gifts you could make that way, too.
  2. Personalize a shirt. This is a gift that most fathers enjoy. Write things such as "#1 Dad" on a T-shirt or sweatshirt with squeezable fabric paint. Use his favorite colors and designs. Or, you can use T-shirt transfers.
  3. Sew a coat for a dog or a horse. If your recipient owns pets or livestock, you might be able to help out with such a gift.

Turn photos into gifts

  1. Decorate-a-Picture-Frame-with-Dimensional-Fabric-Paint. Buy an inexpensive picture frame. You can use plastic, but other materials should work fine, too. Gather or buy plastic Barbie doll accessories, beads, jigsaw puzzle pieces, and other knick-knacks that symbolize the interests of the recipient. For example, for sports, you could use a plastic Barbie doll tennis shoes or plastic toy baseballs and popcorn from a doll house set.
    • Find a jigsaw puzzle with pictures of footballs or soccer on it and use those pieces. And get some sports-themed scrapbooking or card-making accessories from the craft store. Using hot glue or glue dots, glue the items on the frame. Put a special poem or message in the frame, and you've got a show-stopping gift without an extravagant price tag.
  2. Take a picture of the gift receiver. Stick it in the center of a piece of cardboard using a glue gun or a glue stick. Collect picture of things the receiver likes. Make a collage of the pictures around the person's picture. This inexpensive gift is very cute for people of all ages.
  3. Try personal photos. They can be sweet to give, and reminds them of you!

Food gifts

  1. Make gourmet candy apples. Buy a bag of apples, preferably Red Delicious or Granny Smith apples, as they work best for this project. Also get semi-sweet chocolate, wooden sticks or skewers, cellophane wrap, and the toppings of your choice (peanuts, coconut, cookies, etc.) Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler on the stove. Skewer the apples and dip into melted chocolate. Roll into a topping and allow to dry. Wrap in cellophane. You can use colored cellophane or add a pretty bow. These are a delicious treat for your friends and family.
  2. Bake breads or cookies and package them in a tin or basket. Add a decorative ribbon to dress it up. If you can splurge a bit more you can include a bread knife, wooden cutting board or bread cookbook with the bread gift. For the more experienced cook you can try truffles, candies, etc. For an easy fix, buy tubes of cookie dough.
  3. Make jam. Many people like homemade jam because it tastes fresher than the store bought kind, and not so many people make jam anymore. If you like, give it with some muffins, homemade bread, or some other pastries to serve with it.
  4. Give hot chocolate mixes with a mug. Just find the ingredients you like, mix together, seal in a bag or container and give with a big mug for drinking. This is a great gift for families as you can give each person an individual mug. This is also a great just in case gift to keep at the house for a last minute hostess gift or that person you accidentally forgot. Easy to transport, it's great for giving at the office or school.
  5. Mix kitchen oils or vinegar. Combine vinegars or oils with rosemary, garlic or other herbs or spices, and pour into a decorative bottle and cork. There are many methods for doing this available online. There are also options available for marinating cheeses.
  6. Make chocolate-covered spoons. Go to your local dollar store or discount supermarket and stock up on plastic spoons (buying some red/ green spoons and decorating them with curled ribbons would add a festive flare). Melt chocolate in the microwave on 50 percent power for one minute (if you have a fixed setting, do it for 30 seconds). Stir, and continue melting in 10-second increments at 50% power until smooth. Dip spoons until generously covered with chocolate. Lay them on waxed paper lined cookie sheet to cool down. If you want to get fancy, roll in crushed peppermint candies or drizzle them with melted white chocolate.
  7. Give candy coated pretzels. Dip one end of a big pretzel stick in melted chocolate. Roll in either mini M&Ms, colored sprinkles, chopped nuts, or crushed candy cane. Allow to harden by placing the un-dipped end down in a drinking glass. Wrap in cellophane.

Upgrade the bought stuff into personalized gifts

  1. Give fancy soap. Buy a glycerin soap block, found in most craft stores, divided into small cubes. Tie ribbon around the block to make a loop, turning at ninety degree angles to create each additional loop. Carefully run one scissor blade on the back of the ribbon until you have completely curled it. Repeat with the other side. They will look like gourmet soap and cost a fraction of the price.
  2. Make a peppermint candle. Buy a large plain white unscented pillar Make an Everlasting Candle and peppermint candies (round or stick). Unwrap the candies. Using a hot glue gun or glue dots (found at craft stores), glue candies all around the sides of the candle. It will look like candles sold for $15 and more in catalogs and fancy stores.
  3. Re-gift. Never be afraid to re-gift old gifts you've never used or opened. This can save you a lot of time and money, and you'll be getting rid of an unwanted item; just be sure to do it in the spirit of giving the item to someone you know will appreciate it. There is a lot of nonsense about re-gifting being unthoughtful––it is probably one of the more thoughtful approaches to giving precisely because you have to focus on whether or not it's an appropriate gift for the particular recipient.

Make gift baskets

  1. Assemble a winter warm-up basket. Your basket can include homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate. You can purchase hand-crafted marshmallows in gourmet stores like Williams Sonoma for $15-$18 or simply make your own. Make homemade gourmet marshmallows (recipe can be found in links below). Purchase instant hot chocolate in sample sizes or in fancy tins. Buy a cheap basket at the dollar store or craft store. Line it with a decorative kitchen towel or shredded tissue paper. Fill it with hot chocolate, homemade marshmallows and, if you like, an inexpensive mug or a favorite movie. Wrap the basket in shrink wrap and use a hair dryer to blow-dry the shrink wrap on the basket to stay in place.
    • If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, make a summer cool-down basket. Include beach gear, a towel, sunscreen, face mist, a reusable water bottle, flip flops and a sun hat.
  2. Make a themed gift basket for newlyweds, college students, or new home owners you can create a gift basket with several inexpensive items from discount stores. Theme the basket for the kitchen, bath, or dorm room. Avoid a color theme unless you know what they want.
  3. Go for a movie theme. Buy a bucket of movie popcorn, include a box of candy and a gift card for a movie store. Makes a great last-minute gift.
  4. Give cute tea cups and saucers. Shop thrift stores, antique stores, pottery outlets, yard sales or your own cabinet for tea cups and saucers. Add several gourmet tea bags, individually packaged tea bags or fill with packets of gourmet cocoa mix packets. Wrap with cellophane and top with a holiday bow. (Hint: add a drop of glue or piece of tape to attach the saucer to the cup to prevent from slipping or breaking.) This is a great way to get rid of old china.


  • Think ahead all year. Take photos at family events, make everyone pose for it. Later in the year give everyone the photo as a Christmas present.
  • If you have a nice photo of a friend you can give pictures as gifts. Go digging through old photo albums, scan and re-print an old photo of you and your best friend when you were kids and find a more recent picture. Use a hinged frame and put both pictures in it.
  • Try using help after school with a friend or someone you can trust. Be sure to tell the person who you are giving the gift/present to.
  • Picture frames come in a wide variety of materials, from hard paper to wood. Hot glue one item on a small corner of the frame first to make sure it will hold.
  • If you have a specialty food you can make it and put it in a container. Include a recipe card with the details of how to make it. If you make a sauce or marinade, bottle it and include a card for ways it can be served or used.
  • If your friends have developed a saying or if you all love a TV show or band you can create a custom T-shirt with a fun saying and a picture on it. T-shirt iron-on transfers are available for your computer printer.
  • For non-computer friendly family members you can create fun things with your printer. Make them address labels, This book belongs to: labels or any other kind of label that fits their needs. Use a family crest or photo to personalize it even more.
  • Go looking for great deals on frames and then print your photos to match the size frames you find. There are some really cute ones in discount bins. If you shop for the frame first you'll save money.
  • If you or your little sister/daughter subscribe to American Girl magazine, they always have good tips and crafts there, especially on the November/December magazines.
  • Shrink wrap can be purchased on rolls that look like wrapping paper rolls in most craft stores. Look for the kind you simply wrap around the basket and blow dry to seal.
  • Don't buy an expensive shirt; just buy a cheap t-shirt instead.
  • Most parents and grandparents would love a photo of you. Put it in a nice frame. You can get great deals on frames at stores like T K Max, Big Lots,Dollar Tree, or by a multiple pack at a club store.
  • Add some glitter for an amazing glittery shiny look.
  • Make them something out of duct tape like a wallet or purse.
  • Give an item you already own that you don't use anymore to someone who might be interested in it!
  • Another great idea is chocolate cashews. Simply melt chocolate chips, the drizzle on unsalted cashews that are laid on a baking pan. Freeze for about half an hour, then put in a mason jar.
  • If your parents find out or see what you're giving them, you can tell them it's for a friend or other family member.
  • Ask your parents before buying anything on the Internet.


  • If you are making chocolates and you put nuts in, make sure you know they are not allergic to nuts.
  • If you're planning to re-gift, consider the following: Never re-gift to the person who gave it to you! Don't re-gift if the item is opened, used, or was customized for you.
  • If making a t-shirt make sure it is the correct size.
  • Do the math! If it will cost you $20 to get the supplies to make the present you may be better off buying a small gift. Try to make gifts utilizing items you already have or doing a craft you are already good at. This may not be the time to embark on a new craft hobby if you're not crafty. There are still inexpensive gifts you can give but embellish the wrapping or give it in a basket to make it seem more homemade.
  • Make sure that these projects fit the personality/style of the recipient.

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