137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas. Part 7: media, service, cards & wrapping

Hands holding a Christmas gift, photo

This is the final part of my list of 137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas, and we’re down to these categories: media, service, cards, and wrapping. Media, as in photos, books, music, or other means of communication. Service, as in giving experiences or assistance. I included cards and wrapping because oftentimes they are just as important as the gift itself. I hope you found this monster-of-a-list entertaining and helpful.

Originally published September 8, 2010. Updated February 20, 2021.

Part 1: Home & garden
Part 2:
Part 3:
From the kitchen
Part 4:
Jewelry & accessories
Part 5:
Themed gift sets
Part 6:
For children
Part 7:
Media, service, cards & wrapping

Part 7: Media, service, cards & wrapping


117. Say it with words

A friend or relative who enjoys poetry, famous quotes, or inspirational sayings would relish one of his/her favorites transferred on a canvas, printed with gold foil, or painted in a frame or on a plaque.
Paint with a stencil on plywood
Transfer on painted canvas with water
Transfer on canvas with gel medium
DIY gold foil prints
Easy DIY farmhouse wood signs

118. Make a modern-day mixtape

Compile a list of music that makes you think of that person. Then buy and download the songs onto a unique thumb drive. Or create a custom Spotify playlist. Include a card with a printed song list with a brief note explaining why you chose each song.
Leather keychain pen drive
Wooden USB flash drive
Necklace USB stick
Mixed tape personalized wood flash drive

119. Make a journal or notebook

Cover a plain composition notebook with fabric or make a journal from scratch. Collect a few quotes that remind you of that someone and either type or hand write them inside. Let the recipient fill the rest of the pages.
Fabric-covered journals
Make a journal from a composition book
Fabric-covered notebooks
Notebook with removable fabric cover

Top 10 fondest memories certificate, photo


120. Top 10 gift scroll

Don’t wait for a funeral to share your fondest memories of your loved ones. Give a top 10 list of your fondest memories of you and the recipient. Download my official certificate, print it on quality legal-size paper, write your memories, roll it up, and tie a ribbon around it.
Download the official certificate

121. Record for posterity

Make an audio or video recording Interviewing parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles about childhood memories, how they met, etc. and give to siblings and children.
Step-by-step guide to recording your family’s oral history
Recording grandparents’ stories
Tips for recording memories for your grandkids

122. Make bookmarks

For the avid reader or journaler who enjoys paper books, make a set of beautiful and practical bookmarks so they can always keep their place.
Magnetic ribbon bookmarks
Pom pom bookmarks
Paint chip bookmarks
Mini magnetic bookmarks
Stretchy ribbon bookmarks
Fabric scrap bookmarks
Journaling pen holder bookmark

123. Make a photo album

Put together a photo album, scrapbook, or framed collage of pictures and mementos. Make your own or have your photos professionally bound in a book.
Make an album out of a binder
Make a mini accordion photo book
Comparing Blurb, Shutterfly, Snapfish & Walmart photo books
34 DIY photo albums
Make an accordion photo box

124. Make a photo calendar

Design a family calendar marked with important dates. To make a vintage-look calendar: 1) Choose 12 family photos to enlarge to 10 by 8 inches and reproduce in sepia tone. 2) Punch a hole ½ inch from the top of 12 sheets of 11- by 17-inch card stock and have them spiral-bound. 3) Go to calendarlabs.com, download a 12-month calendar, resize each to 10 x 6 inches in Word or Google Docs, and print. 4) Attach one photo and calendar month to each of the bound pages.
Custom printed calendars
Photo calendar templates

125. Make a photo canvas

You could pay for a professionally made canvas print, but why, when there are cheaper DIY methods that look just as good? Try the photo-transfer method, tissue paper method, or Mod Podge method.
Make your own canvas portrait
DIY photo canvas that looks like the real thing
Wall art photo canvas


126. Make a coupon booklet

Create coupon vouchers for gifts of service. Some ideas: massage, spring-cleaning, babysitting, garbage/dish duty, lunch date, car wash, dog walking/pet sitting, dinner at favorite restaurant, homemade meal, evening strolls, or a trip to the zoo, museum, or park.
Love coupons and coupons for moms and dads
Free printable coupon book
DIY love coupon booklets

Christmas carol sheet music, photo


127. Spread holiday cheer

Got a nice voice? Know some folks who do? Organize them into carolers and visit a hospital or retirement home. Take along some holiday goodies. You might be the only Christmas spirit they have.
Cookie recipes
Free Christmas carol sheet music
More free Christmas carol sheet music

128. Share a talent

Offer to teach a skill you possess, such as canning fruit, swing dancing, knitting, building furniture, or doing the butterfly stroke. Or offer to share a particular talent you possess such as photography, gardening, or financial planning.
Knitting basics
Canning instructions


129. Make pop-up Christmas cards

DIY pop-up Christmas cards are easier than you think with these patterns.
Robert Sabuda’s Christmas tree pattern

Other Robert Sabuda patterns
Martha Stewart pop-up cards

Kirigami cards

130. More handmade greeting cards

If you’re not into pop-up cards, try one of these handmade greeting card ideas.
Handmade Christmas card ideas from Martha Stewart

49 awesome DIY Holiday cards
More handmade greeting card ideas

131. Fold your own gift boxes

Make them out of lightweight cardboard, then wrap with pretty paper, or make them directly from decorative paper.
Lots of packaging templates
15 lovely homemade gift boxes
Printable Holiday DIY Gift Card Boxes
Easy DIY gift boxes
Video: How to make a gift box

132. Reuse containers as gift boxes

Pack gifts in recycled food canisters, coffee cans, tea tins, or pop-top cans in all sizes.
Pop top can
Reusable wrapped gift canisters

Video: How to wrap a cylinder-shaped gift

133. Make your own gift tags

Print out free gift tags or make them yourself. For reusable gift tags: Cut tag shapes out of old Christmas cards. Cut to/from tags the same shape for all family members. Glue the card designs and name tags back-to-back and laminate. Punch a hole and tie them with ribbon.
Free gift tags

Free printable gift tags
Simple hand embroidered gift tags
Upcycling Christmas cards

134. Wrap with recycled paper

Wrap gifts in recycled newspaper or paper bags, old book or magazine pages, discarded maps, or plain white printer paper and washi tape.
Holiday crafting with book pages
How to make gift bags from newspaper
51 gift wrapping ideas
Pages machine-sewn together and tied with old VHS tape
DIY Christmas washi tape gift wrap
7 ways to wrap presents using recycled materials

135. Make your own bows

Make professional-looking star-shaped bows or tie a simple no-knot bow that falls away like in Hollywood movies.
Video: Star-shaped bows
Video: No-knot bow
Video: Single bow
Video: Double bow
Video: Kate Bower bow

136. Sew reusable gift bags

Fabric drawstring gift bags are easy to sew. Make several sizes and give them to each person in the family. Reuse them year after year. Size guidelines (in inches): Small jewelry gift box: 6 x 4. Large jewelry gift box: 9 x 6½. Small gift box: 17 x 11. Shirt gift box: 25 x 18. Large robe or coat gift box: 28 x 18. Large shoe box: 24 x 13.
How to make fabric gift bags
Make your own reusable Christmas gift bags
Easy-sew drawstring fabric gift bag

137. Wrap with fabric

Known as Furoshiki (Japanese fabric wrapping), you can wrap gifts in scarves, festive cloth — even shirts, which become part of the gift.
Book: Wrapagami: The Art of Fabric Gift Wraps (affiliate link)
Video: Gift wrapping the Furoshiki way
Video: Gift wrapping with fabric
Furoshiki wraps
Ready-to-wear gift wrap
Learn how to wrap a gift with fabric

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