Let’s be honest, we have all received some homemade Christmas gifts that never saw the light of day again – sometimes they are well intentioned and so we might not care that our peppermint-scented ruler holder won’t get too much use. The thought and love behind it makes up for it’s lack of usefulness. But what if there were some Christmas presents you could make and give to people that they would appreciate the thought (more than a gift card), were used and enjoyed, and saved you money to boot?
The recent issue of Real Simple magazine has a few ideas for homemade Christmas gifts that got me thinking. As a guy who thoroughly enjoys food (don’t we all?) if I can eat it, I will enjoy it. But there are a few other gift ideas listed below that I think would have a decent chance of being enjoyed by many!
1. Chocolate Nut Bark
This one was featured in Real Simple and is indeed real simple! You only need to buy 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate and 2.5 cups of mixed nuts. You then melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a (but not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally. Next you spread the chocolate evenly on a parchment-lined 9×13 inch baking pan and sprinkle with the nuts. Refrigerate until firm (about 30 mins). After that you can break into pieces and keep at room temperature for a week.
2. Beeswax candles
This was a homemade gift that I received one year and loved it. I particularly enjoy beeswax candles over paraffin wax (the wax used in most candles) because of their health benefits. Buying them can be expensive, but making them really isn’t too difficult and can even be fun. I like making tea lights because they are simple, but if you want something even simpler you can learn how to make rolled beeswax candles.
3. A homemade clock
You can go to just about any crafty store and find a Clock Kit for just a few bucks. You can then decorate a piece of wood, ceramic, or just about anything and turn it into a clock.
4. Monogrammed Journal
This was another one that Real Simple had that I thought was pretty cool. Basically you just buy a hardback journal and add a little creative flair to it. They say to get a few letter stamps and rubber banding them together, so you can stamp the monogram consistently. From there you can let your imagination run wild – check out the pic for inspiration.
5. Chocolate-chip cookies
Get a little Christmas Tin, make cookies, and give it away. This is a winning gift every time!
6. Painted pot for plants
This was actually a homemade gift we received for our wedding. The giver bought a standard clay pot and decorated it and painted our names on it. Then she planted a little plant in it and we are still using our pot today! It’s a great way to take a simple item and give it some personality.
7. Build a birdhouse
I haven’t done this in a while, but I built my mom a birdhouse when I was about 12 or so and she cried. This was a perfect example of a homemade present having so much more value than a store-bought one. I could have probably purchased a far-superior birdhouse for a few bucks, but my investment of time and energy into it made it a great gift. For a little instruction you can check out this video on how to build one from a single piece of wood.
8. Gold-leaf vases
This was also in the Real Simple issue and while I wouldn’t get that much of a kick out of these, I think my wife would dig them. Basically you can just find a few small vases from the thrift store and get a Gold Leaf Kit. From there you just follow the instructions in the kit – you can and should add your own creative flare…
I remember making one of these as a kid and loved watching the the little contained eco-system. I used an old gallon jar of Mauls bbq sauce and had it for years. This post has some great ideas to get you started.
A few more links if you are looking for additional homemade gift ideas…
What about you – what homemade christmas presents have you enjoyed receiving or giving?
This article was a reprint and was originally published in November, 2009.