Mary loves cooking, baking, crafting, and creating all manner of inexpensive-but-lovely homemade gifts.
Thoughtful DIY Gift Ideas for Loved Ones
The holiday season is filled with plenty of stress. One way to reduce some of the stress is to stay in for a day and create or put together an array of very special homemade gifts. Whether you bake up some delicious goodies and arrange them on pretty platters, knit or crochet customized afghans or hats, or create hand-painted vases full of gorgeous ivy or herbs, a gift from the heart—one made by your own hands—will surely be treasured by your loved one.
If you're like me and don't have much of a talent for making things from scratch, you can find little trinkets or ornaments and customize a gift basket that your friend or family member will be crazy about! You can make anything from personalized picture frames to custom gift boxes or baskets.
The ideas are endless, which gives you the creative license to get personal and leave a lasting impression on those you love. Your presents will certainly be some of the best under the tree this year. Happy holidays!
Gift Ideas in This Article
- Classic Holiday Beverage
- Themed Gift Basket
- Cookie Platter, Food Basket, or Goodie Bag
1. Classic Holiday Beverage
Try this delicious recipe for homemade Irish creme, which you can drink by itself or in coffee. This makes a great gift and can be kept (refrigerated) for up to a month.
- 1 cup whiskey
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Hershey's syrup
- 1 pint whipping cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- Mason jar
- Small card (optional)
- Blend all ingredients in a blender for about one minute.
- Pour into mason jar and screw on lid.
- Tie a festive ribbon around the neck of the jar.
- Attach a small card with the recipient's name and a short message (optional).
- Refrigerate until you give to recipient.
2. Themed Gift Basket
By the end of the year, many of us are looking to cozy up and enjoy the simple things, especially lately, since we have been encouraged to stay safe at home. Giving gifts that help the recipient pamper and soothe in the comfort of their home is a thoughtful gesture. Any items that promote feelings of comfort are certainly in vogue right now and will be go-to favorites throughout the upcoming winter months.
Make up a basket filled with luxurious spa-quality bath and hand towels. Throw in some bubble bath, shower gel, creamy bath soap and/or candles. Buy some inexpensive holiday bath-decor items such as a soap dispenser or dish, toothbrush holder, or tissue box cover.
When stress levels are running high, a nice, relaxing shower is the best. Snuggling up in a spa-quality towel is the icing on the cake. A spa-quality terry robe and slippers take it one step further. This is the perfect time of year to give the gift of luxury towels as part of a "spa-themed" gift basket.
Alternatively, consider what the people on your list love. Pets? Coffee? Tea? Chocolate? Movies? Music? Let your imagination and creativity run wild!
Gift baskets are great gifts because you can customize them for anyone on your list.
Pick out baskets that can serve double-duty after the holidays such as a stair basket, pie carrier, or storage bin. A themed gift basket could feature haircutting tools, manicure/pedicure sets, facial/mask products, body butters . . . you get the idea.
3. Homemade Cookie Platter, Food Basket, or Goodie Bag
Home-baked cookies! Is there anyone who doesn't love them? The great thing about baking is that it doesn't really matter what you bake because it all tastes so good. Whether you bake chocolate chip, peanut butter, or sugar cookies, they will be delicious and appreciated when received as a gift.
What I do every year for my boss, co-workers, and friends is give them home-baked treats on pretty, decorated platters. Not only do you have a beautiful gift, but it can be shared and served at holiday parties or intimate get-togethers at your home.
What you do is bake several different kinds of cookies—chocolate chip, peanut butter with the chocolate candy in the middle, sugar cookies, cut-outs, gingerbread, etc. You can decorate the cut-outs with a little frosting, which makes the tray look even more festive. I like to take red and green sugar and sprinkle the colored sugar on my chocolate chip and sugar cookies.
Buy a nice platter (I like platters with some kind of holiday or winter scene) and fill it up with all the different kinds of cookies. You can get crazy and throw in some fudge, brownies, chocolate-dipped pretzels, or anything you decide to bake. Sometimes I add a bit of holiday candy here and there throughout the tray. You can add some candy canes or other candy that is wrapped in holiday-colored foil.
Visit the local craft or Christmas store and buy some inexpensive ornaments. Mix a few very small ornaments in the tray, or use one larger ornament in the middle and arrange your baked goodies around it. Take small snips of red and green curling ribbon, curl them with a scissors, and place them throughout your tray. Wrap the tray in colored (or clear) saran wrap and top it with a bow or ribbon.
Over the years, I have given many gift platters like this, and everyone loves them! Not only do they receive homemade treats, but can use the platter for years to come.
Another option is to purchase a few pre-packaged gift sets and mix/match the items with each other. You can take some cocoa packets or a mug out of one gift box, add some candy or some cookies, and throw in a couple of chocolate-dipped spoons or mini bags of marshmallows. I enjoy the flexibility of being able to disassemble pre-packaged items and then create my own customized gift box, gift basket, platter, or goodie bag.
You can also have a yummy food gift basket delivered right to the door of your loved one! Being from Wisconsin, I can tell you the sausage and cheese baskets are amazing. These can be sliced up and served at parties and get-togethers throughout the holiday season, so they make for a thoughtful and time-saving gift. The more thought and creativity you put into the gift, the more of an impression it will make!
Put Some Heart Into the Holiday Season!
I hope you can see that you can give heartfelt and meaningful gifts on a budget and still let your love and personal touch shine through. A personalized gift put together with the recipient in mind will be far more appreciated than any gift card or mass-produced item. This year, set up your workspace and get busy making those homemade holiday gifts!