When I was a kid, my parents would take us to the dollar store and give us $1 to spend on each family member’s Christmas presents. While it wasn’t much – and I’m pretty sure my grandfather got a big box of Q-tips for several years in a row – it taught us the joy of giving and the pride that comes from presenting a loved one a gift just from you. I remember one year wrapping my gifts in notebook paper because I was so anxious to get them under the tree! I couldn’t wait on my mom to get real wrapping paper because I was so excited.
While you may not be operating on a $1 budget, finances can be tight when it comes to the holidays! And if you’d like to get something a *little* nicer than Q-tips for your loved ones, DIY gifts are often the perfect option – not to mention, often received with extra gratitude for the time & effort you spent in creating a homemade gift. 🙂
8 Handmade Gift Ideas
Over the years, I’ve curated my own list of favorite DIY gifts – ones that are both practical for the recipient and inexpensive for the giver! Bonus points go to the ones that are also meaningful or sentimental, of course! I hope you find something that is the perfect fit for someone on your list.
1. Assorted spices
One very practical gift, that is also SO easy to make for larger groups – like extended family, close friends, coworkers, or teachers – are spice mixes. You can buy plastic containers like the ones I used several years ago from Amazon* or glass spice containers like these*, depending on the size desired and number of gifts you’re making at one time. Some of my favorite, easy recipes include:
2. Glass pebble magnets
Making magnets out of clear, glass pebbles from the Dollar Tree is such a fun gift with a million ways to customize! This tutorial from Mod Podge Rocks Blog shows you how to put them together step-by-step, and she specifically uses fun photos of family for each magnet. When making your own, you can use photos, printed text, or a mixture of both for so many combinations:
- Use holiday-themed clip-art to make a set for any time of the year!
- Simple monograms for an individual or married couple
- Make a post-wedding set that includes one magnet with the couple’s wedding date and others with photos or words like “love”, etc.
- Use words like faith, hope, love, family, etc. for a generic set (this is perfect for extended family!)
Glass pebbles are fairly cheap at any craft or dollar store. If you’re making a larger batch, you could order in bulk at Dollar Tree online*!
3. Seashell candles
These DIY candles are so easy and are especially sentimental if your family takes a summer beach trip together! Pick up shells on your next trip and you already have most of the materials on hand!
This video breaks down the project so well:
Lazy Tip – when we made them, I didn’t want to buy a massive amount of wicks or candle wax. Instead, I melted tea light candles* on my stove top, carefully emptied them into the seashell, and re-positioned the wick! For the best results, I recommend following the video but you can try this method if you’re really in a creative pinch 🙂
4. Cozy mug kits
One year, we gave a round of gifts inspired by our trip to Ireland. In love with Irish coffee, we gifted our friends with a “make-your-own” set. Using these $1 glass mugs from Dollar Tree*, we filled it with a mini-bottle of Jameson, a mini-bottle of Baileys, and this adorable printed recipe. They all loved it!
For a non-alcoholic spin, we also gave some of our family the same mugs filled with hot chocolate packets. Starbucks offers fancier flavors- like Salted Caramel, Double Chocolate, Peppermint, or Toasted Marshmellow* – which made it feel more unique and out of the ordinary 🙂
5. Family calendars
As I’ve mentioned before, wooden hanging birthday calendars are such a fun, meaningful gift. Although it can be a little more expensive and time-consuming than others mentioned so far, it is perfect for that special someone like a parent or grandparent. You can follow DIY instructions here, or you can pay to have one made through Etsy*!
6. Hand-painted coasters
Similar to the photo magnets, the options are endless using simple ceramic or stone tiles to make coasters! This tutorial gives a great overview, and if I may add – I also add a few pieces of crafting felt* to the back to make it easier on furniture!
7. Tea Bag Christmas trees or wreaths
If your family members or friends love a hot drink, these crafty tea gifts are so cute! I’ve been wanting to make these for years now. You can either fashion them into wreaths for a larger amount, or make “trees” as smaller gifts. Check out these great tutorials below:
- Learn how to make tea bag wreaths (for your home or for gifting!)
- Learn how to make a tea bag Christmas tree
(Another tip – Did you know you can buy bulk tea on Amazon? We do this with our favorite black tea* because it’s so much cheaper than small boxes in store!)
8. Sugar hand scrub
One of the very first DIY gifts I made for my friends & family was this hand scrub! It is the easiest project to throw together, and I got so many requests for the “recipe” or second batches 🙂 Check out how to make it here!
If you save & clean candle jars, it can be a “free” but classy way to package the scrub! If you don’t have those on hand, you can easily pick up glass containers from Dollar Tree or order a set from Amazon*.
PS – Don’t miss out!
If you are wanting to be more organized, prepared, and thoughtful in the way you give – sign up for one of my favorite e-mail courses! The Meaningful Gifting e-course provides awesome tools to find the perfect gift ideas, but also create a system to minimize the stress of gift-giving year-round. Check it out!
And if you’re still looking for ideas, check out these other posts to get your wheels turning!
- 6 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas (Perfect for Minimalist or Long-Distance Friends!)
- 10 Practical & Meaningful Gift Ideas for Grandparents/Elderly
- Best Gifts on Amazon (Holiday Shopping without Leaving the House)
- 5 Meaningful Ways to Gift This Year