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Homemade Christmas Gifts: 18 Do-it Yourself Ideas

Written by Nickel - 10 Comments

With just over a week until Christmas, preparations around here are moving into high gear. As we’ve gotten older and our extended family has grown, we’ve really scaled back when it comes to gift giving with our extended family. Not only are we giving fewer gifts, but the ones that we do give tend to be a good bit more personal.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a list of ideas for homemade Christmas gifts. As was the case with my list of ways to earn extra money, there are tons of options here. Here are eighteen for your gift-giving pleasure. Some of these are most appropriate for family members, whereas others will work for just about anyone.

Homemade Christmas gift ideas

  1. Homemade Christmas ornaments. What’s more appropriate for Christmas time than Christmas ornaments?
  2. Framed photos. Pick out some meaningful photos and put them in a nice frame. Either portraits or a nice mix of pictures from throughout the year.
  3. Homemade photo garland. Several years ago my wife laminated a bunch of small pictures of our kids, punched a hole in the top edge, and attached them to a bead garland with silver and gold thread. The end result was a great (and very personal) garland that made a fantastic gift for grandparents.
  4. Refrigerator magnets. Refrigerator magnets can be a great gift, especially for grandparents who love to have little pictures of their grandkids peering out at them all over the house.
  5. Home-brewed beer. Mmmmmm… Beer… Need I say more?
  6. Baked goods. Over the past several years my wife has gotten into the habit of baking up a storm and then giving platters of cookies as Christmas gifts to extended family.
  7. Homemade cookie/brownie kit. Instead of baking yourself, you can also put together a gift basket (or jar) containing a recipe and all the dry ingredients for baking your favorite treats from scratch.
  8. Christmas candies. When I was a kid, my mom always made a variety of hard candies including anise and peanut brittle. They were fantastic, and made great gifts.
  9. Custom cookbook. A great gift idea for someone who shares your tastes in food is a cookbook populated with your favorite recipes. Just be sure to leave room for the recipient to add their own.
  10. Potted plants. If you have some nice plants around the house, why not cultivate some cuttings, plant them in nice pots, and give them as gifts?
  11. Tie-dyed t-shirts. This is an especially good idea if you have kids, as they’ll have a blast making them.
  12. Just about anything in a basket. Consider creating a themed basket of some sort — fixings for a dinner, popcorn and some movie rental coupons, etc.
  13. Personalized photo calendar. Put together a custom calendar complete with family photos and everyone’s birthday.
  14. Candle-in-a-jar. Just get some small decorative jars, some candle way (or old candles that can be re-melted) and some wicks. It’s easy and the end result can be quite attractive.
  15. Homemade sauces. If you have a garden, why not cook up some spaghetti or barbecue sauce for a bit of homegrown goodness.
  16. Homemade jams/jellies. Homemade preserves are another great option when it comes to sharing goodies from your kitchen.
  17. Edited home movies. Spend some time editing home movies to share with family members. Burn them a DVD and you have a great gift.
  18. Help around the house. Over the past couple years, I’ve made a point of fixing some things around the house when visiting my parents for the holidays. It means a lot to them, and it saves them money. Last year was plumbing. This year, I’ll be switching out their lightbulbs for CFLs. This is something that they keep talking about but never get around to doing.

If you have ideas of your own, please share them in the comments.

Published on December 17th, 2008
Modified on December 3rd, 2013 - 10 Comments
Filed under: Frugality

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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10 Responses to “Homemade Christmas Gifts: 18 Do-it Yourself Ideas”

  1. 1
    Katie Says:

    I cook a lot, and a few years ago decided to make and freeze a few meals for family members for Christmas to save some money on Christmas shopping. The recipients were mostly busy people or people that don’t usually cook for themselves. I made beef stew, white chicken chili, and a soup, froze them all in individual portions, and packaged them with a homemade loaf of bread. Each person got at least five meals. They’ve been requested every year since then!

  2. 2
    Craig Says:

    Any gift involving food works for me. Nothing beats some good food around the holidays. Although I don’t celebrate Christmas, some good homemade potato latkahs hit the spot.

  3. 3
    j Says:

    I love to stuff stockings! You can get a really cute stocking for a buck at a dollar store. While you are there pick up some candies and items that come two or three to a pack for a buck, and you can make quite a few stockings for under $10. Last year, I gave all the nieces ones that were filled with pedicure items – polish, clippers, files, etc. Tuck a candy cane in, too. It just looked better (and more personal) than a $5 gift card….

  4. 4
    Cynthia Says:

    That’s a really good list! I love making things for others, especially when you really have to put time and thought into it. Feel free to jump on over to my website to enter our homemade Christmas gift contest.

  5. 5
    Martha S. Says:

    I love making Christmas cookies with my kids! Its so much fun and you can even make them into tons of different varities.

  6. 6
    HappyCampers Says:

    Hi! What great ideas you have…

    I love making sugar scrubs for gifts. It’s relatively cheap & always well received!

    White sugar, superfine sugar, olive oil, safflower oil, some vitaimin E, & essential oils (I like peppermint & grapefruit together) make a delicious scrub. Add oils to sugars until it’s the consistency of damp sand..enjoy!

  7. 7
    SimplyForties Says:

    I always make edible gifts to give to all the service people that make my life easier. Thanks for some good ideas!

  8. 8
    Isaac Yassar Says:

    I love number 18, helping around the house. It’s the simplest but still meaningful. My specialty is doing the dishes every time I visit my parents.

  9. 9
    Jess Says:

    I have gotten really into origami this year! I have made a box of origami hearts and in each one I have asked a member of my family to write something they love about my mum in one! Also for my cousin I have made some origami hearts and put them on a ribbon! Each heart had a letter of her name on and the end result was great!!!

  10. 10
    Brodie Says:

    I melted a bar of soap, added food colouring to it and froze it around a nice ribbon!!!! Zap! Done!

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