DIY Holiday Gifts Come From the Heart
If you knit, crochet, quilt or sew, you may work on holiday gifts year ‘round and need little coaching on how long it will take to finish all of your projects. But if you’re not “crafty” and would still like to put a personal touch on gift giving this year, it pays to get an early start.
Some good guidelines before you begin –
- Make a list of the gifts you plan to make and find the recipes or instructions you need
- Read the instructions a few times to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start
- Make a list of the supplies you’ll need, and figure out if you can you can buy in bulk to save money
- Plan out your workspace and production schedule.
Here are some DIY gift ideas to consider this holiday season:
Homemade “Bath Fizzies”
Bath Fizzies” – scented, effervescent bath salts formed into shapes using a simple silicone mold – are popular with nearly everyone who loves a good soak in the tub, especially tweens and teens. You can find low cost bath fizzy “recipes” online that require very little time or materials. You’ll need reusable silicone molds in different shapes and sizes, which you can easily find online or with the baking supplies at any big box store. Package your creations in cellophane bags and tie with a festive ribbon to finish your gift.
This easy recipe makes about 3 cups of granola. It’s a great snack, and can also be used in salads or sprinkled on a creamy soup for crunch and contrast. It travels well too!
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup raw shelled pistachios
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup raw sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg white, beaten to blend
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (nectar)
Preheat your oven to 350° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil for easy clean up. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the egg white, olive oil and agave syrup and toss to coat. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through to prevent sticking. Let the mixture cool on the baking sheet, and break up with a wooden spoon. Pack in festive airtight containers for lucky friends and neighbors (and expect many requests for the recipe!)
Personalized Memory Book
It takes time to sort through photos and other memorabilia to find just the right pictures and other items that will resonate with your gift recipient. Coupling photos with your personal remembrances make the gift that more special. Here are some helpful tips to keep you on track:
- Use a scrapbook or album with as many pages as you think you’ll need. Think about the age and style of your recipient to choose the right cover for your creation.
- Organize photos, letters, and other items you’d like to use, and assemble them in order before placing in the book. Do you want to tell the story of a long friendship? Remember a single event? The story you’re telling will determine how you place the items in your scrapbook.
- Assemble your book by attaching photos to pages with a glue stick or self-adhesive photo corners.
- The book you create is sure to become a cherished keepsake. Present it in a box or wrap that honors the memories within and allows for easy storage.
Mason Jar Candles
Use leftover jars to make one-of-a-kind candles in the colors and fragrances you know your gift recipients enjoy. Most candle recipes require pre-tabbed candle wicks, candle wax flakes, color chips, and essential oils or candle scents – all of which can be found at your local craft store. Instructions may be available from the craft store, and you’ll find many variations online. You’re limited only by your imagination and the amount of personalization you put into your gift.
Christmas Tree Tea
There’s nothing like a steaming cup of tea to chase away winter’s chill, and this cute Christmas tree is an easy DIY project you can assemble in no time at all. You can find more ideas online to come up with your own creations, but most will call for these basic components:
- Styrofoam cone
- Individually wrapped tea bags
- Glue gun
- Short, round, wide cylinders of wood or cardboard to form to tree “stump”; bases that are too tall or too narrow may cause your trees to tip over
- Ribbon and tiny ornaments like stars or buttons to decorate the tree
Start at the base of the cone, and glue the tea bags in place, overlapping as you go, and attaching the tea bags by their top corners. Work your way up to the top until the cone is completely covered.
Attach the base and set aside to dry.
For a more finished look, top with a ribbon and a star or snowflake to cover the exposed top of the cone. Add tiny ornaments (decorative buttons work well) to complete the tree.
DIY Gifts with Help from Etsy crafters and other Artists
Good Housekeeping magazine has created a list of more than 55 DIY kits created by Etsy artists and other crafty folks that you can turn into handmade gifts. You’ll still get the pleasure of creating something for your friend or loved one, without having to purchase supplies or guess about instructions.
Shipping Your Gifts
If your gift recipient lives nearby, shipping shouldn’t be a concern, but if you’re mailing a gift, consider the time it will take for your package to travel and arrive.
The post office and your local UPS store can advise you on mailing times for most domestic and even international deliveries. If you’re shipping to someone in the military, Military.com has information that details shipping recommendations for military bases all over the world. Also, the US postal service offers free shipping supplies to help you get DIY gifts to a service member, and they’re free. Look for military care kit details on USPS.com
With a little extra planning, and time on your side, you can create personal, memorable gifts that really show how much you care this holiday season.