Homemade Gifts You’d Actually Like to Give (Or Keep For Yourself)

If you’re the kind of person who has all of your Christmas shopping done and wrapped in July, this post is not for you…

…it is for the other 98 percent of the population – the ones who still have a bit left to do.

If you’re short on time, money and creativity (or all three), I’ve compiled a list of gifts that are simple, inexpensive and heartfelt.

From the kitchen:

  • Jar of cookie mix – measure and fill a decorative glass canister or cookie jar with all of the dry ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. (Wash it out first – I just had to say that because I’m a little bit of a germaphobe). Tie a wooden spoon or cookie spatula to the lid of the jar with a pretty ribbon and the recipe. This idea can be easily adapted for a soup-loving friend.

  • Box of homemade truffles – they sound hard to make, but they are actually quite easy. Here is a recipe for easy decadent truffles from allrecipes.com.
  • Mug filled with coffee beans – buy some gourmet coffee beans in bulk at the health food store and pour into a large mug. Wrap the mug with clear cellophane and tie it together with a pretty ribbon.

  • Homemade bread – I gave our neighbors a fresh-from-the-oven loaf of banana bread that I baked in my bundt pan. This was a thank you to them for snowblowing our sidewalks in subzero weather, so I wanted to make the presentation extra special. I put the bread on a large round serving platter I found at Goodwill for $3 and wrapped it in plastic wrap. Then I taped a bow, a sprig of evergreen from our tree and a handwritten note saying that they could keep the platter to the package. Months later she still thanked me for the delicious bread and asked for the recipe. I also have a delicious recipe for cranberry nut quick bread.
  • Breakfast basket – pick up an inexpensive basket and fill it with pancake mix, real maple syrup, fresh fruit and coffee.

Homemade gifts:

  • Recipe book – gather a list of your family’s favorite recipes, type them up and put them in a photo album. The photo album will protect the recipes from food splatters and family members will be able to keep family food traditions alive.

  • Lavender sachets – buy some linen or muslin fabric, cut into small squares, sew up on three sides, fill with dried lavender flowers (bought in bulk at the health food store) and stitch the fourth side closed. Lavender not only smells wonderful, it’s wonderfully relaxing.
  • Music – burn a CD of a friend’s favorite songs so he or she can listen to them on their computer at work. Or, put the playlist on an inexpensive portable flash drive. This makes it easy for the recipient to upload the songs to an mp3player and they’ll be able to reuse the drive after the music has been transferred.

Semi-homemade gifts:

  • Blank notecards – buy a couple of stacks of good quality notecards with envelopes at a stationery or craft store. Take them out of the original packaging and rewrap them yourself. Use brown craft paper and twine with a beautiful gift tag as a simple embellishment.

  • Monogrammed notecards – Play around with some nice fonts until you find one that you like. Take it to a local print shop and have them print your monogram on good quality notecards with matching envelopes.
  • Notecards made from your children’s artwork – Take some of your child’s favorite drawings to the local print shop and have the artwork copied and turned into notecards. Grandparents or teachers would especially love to receive a one-of-a-kind gift from your children.
  • Photo coasters – I bought some coasters for $10 (I think) last year on sale at Hobby Lobby. My son and I cut some of our favorite black and white family photos to fit and tucked them inside the coasters. My husband uses this gift every morning when he has his coffee.
  • Wineglasses – purchase a set of four wineglasses at a discount chain, such as Tuesday morning or TJ Maxx. Take them out of the original box, wrap them neatly in tissue paper and put them in a pretty new gift box. Perfect for a friend or family member who entertains a lot. If you know what kind of wine they like, you can give a bottle to go along with it. For someone who doesn’t drink, you can either give a bottle of sparkling juice or tell them to use the wine glasses as fancy dessert dishes.

Other ideas:

  • Flower bulbs – paperwhites are so easy to grow from bulbs. They can be purchased inexpensively at nurseries and garden centers. Plant them in a container you’ve found thrifting for a unique gift.

  • A rosemary tree – I saw these little beauties at my local home store as well as a health food store. The herb trees smell wonderful and would be perfect for someone who loves to cook.
  • Magazine subscription – buy a magazine at the newsstand and tie it with a ribbon and a note letting them know you’ve purchased a subscription.

  • $6 Pashmina – the great fashion mecca that is Walgreen’s (!) sells $6 pashminas in an assortment of beautiful colors and patterns. I bought one for myself and love it. I can wear it as a scarf with jeans and a t-shirt or I can use it as a shawl to cover my arms in a sleeveless dress and heels. Remove the tags, wrap it with tissue paper and place it in a new gift box.
  • Give an item you already have to someone who has admired it. I once received a ceramic bowl from my dad. It’s special because I remember all of the potato salad that was made in that bowl and taken to potlucks and picnics growing up. It was one of the nicest presents I’ve ever received and it didn’t cost him a penny.

When all else fails, send a heartfelt note to someone special. In this day of emailed party invitations and even Christmas cards, a handwritten note is a super classy way to let someone know he or she is truly appreciated.

I’d love to hear what other gift ideas you have so please leave me a comment.

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Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 11:27 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for the good ideas! I’d never thought of repackaging, but it could make all the difference…

  2. […] Homemade Gifts You’d Actually Like to Give (Or Keep For Yourself) […]


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