Personally selected gift sets are a great way to give a meaningful present without spending hours crafting. And they’re especially handy when the container is part of the gift. You’ll probably find ample baskets to choose from at your local thrift store. But even though the traditional gift basket is a solid choice, who says it has to be a basket? I’ve pictured many different containers to choose from, but don’t let me limit you. You can pack a gift set in anything—rubber rain boots, baseball helmet, paint can, etc. Click here for Part 4. On Monday: For children.
77. Fill a pretty mug, bowl, or dish with a friend’s favorite chocolates or other treats. Wrap in cellophane and tie with holiday ribbon.
Anthropologie monogrammed mugs
78. Fill a basket with bath items—soaps, oils, bubbles, lotions, natural sponge, hand towels, loofah, etc.
Crate and Barrel baskets
79. Create a winter car-safety kit. Fill a plastic crate with a first-aid kit, bottle of water, blanket, pocket knife, flashlight, canned food & can opener, socks, gloves & hat (try a thrift store), jumper cables, ice scraper to keep windows clear, and flares.
Hand-crank LED flashlight, cell phone charger, radio & alarm
80. For someone who is on their feet a lot, gather foot salts, pumice or clay stone, peppermint foot lotion, sleep socks, pedicure toe separators, and a pair of spa slippers. Pack it all in an inexpensive tote bag.
Clear zippered tote bag
81. Give a hardy holiday breakfast. Place a package of specialty pancake mix (or make your own mix), fine maple syrup, and berry preserves in a mixing bowl.
Buttermilk pancake mix recipe
82. Someone taking a trip soon? Make his/her holiday gift a travel kit. Fill a zippered case with travel-size products you know he/she will need (toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, etc.). Clear travel cosmetic bag
Part 4 of this ongoing list of inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas comprises two categories: 1) stationery, albums & calendars and 2) jewelry & personal accessories. Those two crafting categories are probably the most popular on the web, so I had a ton to choose from. These are some of my favorites. Click here for Part 3. On Friday: Themed gift sets.
57. Make a personalized set of note cards or stationery. Tie them with ribbon and place in a classy box or tin. Include coordinating address labels, envelopes, and a fancy pen. Inspirational books: 1,000 Handmade Greetings: Creative Cards & Clever Correspondence
Handmade Greeting Cards for Special Occasions
58. Order a custom rubber stamp. Design it yourself to reflect the person’s hobby, profession, or interest. Or use a piece of free clip art (just Google “free clip art”). Or you can personalize a ready-made stamp with a name or address.
Custom rubber stamp
59. Design a family calendar marked with important dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and family gatherings. Decorate the calendar with family photos.
DIY vintage photo calendar
Custom printed calendars
Anyone who knows me, knows cooking is not my specialty. That’s why I’m not one of those bloggers who takes a picture of whatever masterpiece she made for dinner and shares the recipe. I can, however, bake quite well. Maybe it’s because I’m good at following the directions in a recipe. Anyway, food of (almost) any kind makes great gifts. Here’s a sampling of ideas. Click here for Part 2. On Wednesday: Stationery/albums/calendars and jewelry/personal accessories.
39. Bake small loaves of quick breads. Wrap them in wax paper and tie on a recipe card with baker’s twine.
Five quick bread recipes
41. Whip up several batches of homemade fudge—some with nuts, some without. Cut it into squares. Wrap first in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to maintain freshness. Place in holiday tins. Creamy chocolate fudge recipe
42. Go Tex-Mex with jars of homemade salsa and a large bag of nacho chips all bundled up in a fiesta serving dish. Feliz Navidad. Chipotle salsa recipe
43. Select a cookbook and choose a recipe from the book. Attach a card to the front that includes the recipe name and page number. Place the cookbook and ingredients for the recipe in a basket.
Suggested book: The Primal Blueprint Cookbook
44. Make homemade sugar cookies. Decorate them with colored frosting and sprinkles. Include the recipe and cookie cutter with the gift.
Seven sugar cookie recipes
45. Prepare homemade soups or dinners that can be frozen for future use.
Homemade soup recipes
Handmade Christmas-themed gifts often double as decorations, so you might want to give these gifts early so they can be properly enjoyed during the holiday season. Or maybe the gift is making some of these together with family or friends. Either way, these crafts get in you in the holiday spirit, and they’re fun to make. Click here for Part 1. On Monday: From the kitchen.
28. Make a felt Christmas stocking. Stuff it with a bottle of wine, sparkling apple cider, homemade salad dressing, etc. Personalize the stocking to fit the personality of the receiver. You can also make a stocking out of a dish towel.
Stocking template and instructions
Salad dressing recipes
29. Knit a Christmas stocking.
Book: Christmas Stockings: Holiday Treasures to Knit
30. Make holiday-scented potpourri. Mix together cinnamon sticks, dried orange peel, whole cloves, evergreen clippings, and dried lemon peel. Half fill cellophane florists’ bags and tie with ribbon. Yule Simmering Potpourri recipe (scroll down)
31. Cross-stitch a holiday ornament. Draw your own design on mini graph paper. Stitch. Frame in a small embroidery loop and add a ribbon for hanging.
Patterns for the ornaments shown
Free easy Christmas cross-stitch patterns
Argyle applique ornament instructions
32. Decorate a small Christmas tree with homemade ornaments, miniature toys, cookies, or potpourri bags for a shut-in friend who can’t take care of decorations this year.
Homemade ornaments and instructions
Beaded snowflake ornaments
Why Christmas when we’re in the throes of summer? I know. I worked six years in retail. In my experience, nothing incited people’s groans more than Christmas being stocked on the shelves in August. However, I think this a worthy exception. After all, if you’re going to have a handmade Christmas, you can’t very likely undertake the proposition in December, now can you?
I’m excited to share this prodigious list of Christmas gift ideas that I compiled years ago. I forgot that I had it, but Tracie reminded me when she asked for inexpensive handmade gift ideas that I might have come across in my search for camp crafts.
This is the first of seven parts that I will post over the next few weeks (MWF). Keep in mind I culled most of these ideas from the internet years ago, but I added ideas I found recently plus a few of my own. I hope these ideas will inspire you to create your own unique gifts. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! On Friday: Christmas-themed crafts.
1. Make a set of tile coasters using 4-inch ceramic tiles. Paint a simple design or decoupage napkins, paper or photos onto them. Glue felt on the back to protect surfaces from scratches. Then tie them with a holiday ribbon.
Tile coaster instructions
3. Personalize a picture frame. Choose a plain picture frame and decorate it with polymer clay, acrylic paints, seashells, beads, ribbon, etc.
Paulownia wood picture frame
4. Make a set of inexpensive cloth napkins into a special gift by adding a personal touch. Add a monogram to each one with cross-stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, or embellish with buttons, appliques, or stencils. Include a set of handmade napkin rings.
Fruity button embroidery napkins
Recycled fabric napkin rings
5. Storage boxes are decorative and useful. Get several different sizes from a craft, office, or stationery store and decorate them with paints or decoupaged paper. Stack the boxes inside each other. Stacking storage boxes
These yo-yo headbands, brooches, and hairpins were the sixth and final camp craft I had planned. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for them at girls camp last June, so we’re saving the supplies for next year. In these samples, I hand-stitched them to a stretchy headband, pin backs, and a bobby pin. The brooches look great pinned on a scarf or hat, and the headbands are cute alone or in multiples.
After you make a few yo-yos, I’m sure you won’t want to limit yourself to just these accessories. Try sewing them onto a tote bag, purse, hat, belt, scarf, or shoes. Or a sweater, t-shirt, tank top, or socks. Or sew them onto pillows, pillow cases, towels, quilts—you get the idea. I just made small yo-yos for these projects, but you can make them any size you want. Have fun!
Special thanks to all my friends who spent hours cutting circles with me. We had fun chatting and working together. Don’t worry, ladies, our work will pay off next year!
UPDATE 7/2011: I just added the photos above from this year’s girl’s camp. The yo-yos were a success. For an alternate craft using most of the same supplies, check out our fabric flower headbands.
These resin pendant necklaces are the final craft that we made at girls camp last June. (I planned one more craft that we didn’t have time for in the end: yo yo headbands and pins. I’ll share that craft next week.) They were inspired by bethtastic’s amazing photo necklaces. We chose something from nature or created a scrapbook-paper design to embed in the resin. The girls embedded blossoms, leaves, twigs, bugs, and spiders. One girl even put the tick that had been removed from her body in her pendant. And some girls embedded their .22 shells saved from shooting at the camp rifle range.
Although the girls loved the pendants, I wouldn’t recommend this as a camp craft. Four reasons: 1) The process is quite involved and doesn’t lend itself to group participation, 2) It requires some special tools, 3) Cold weather delayed the typical 24-hour cure time, and 4) The end result was unpredictable. Almost everything from nature floated out of place and changed color (usually yellow or brown), some more dramatically than others. It became a science experiment to see how each pendant would turn out.
A special thank you to my lovely and talented sister-in-law, Devon, who single-handedly taught the girls how to wrap the wire (or did it for them) and attach their ribbons and cords. Read more »