Not all homemade holiday gifts are that great. While there are almost always some benefits to giving homemade gifts, there are also downsides to giving poorly thought out gifts, such as…
- People won’t use them – thus wasting resources.
- Your time could be better spent.
- Your money could be better spent.
- Good homemade gifts inspire people to create their own homemade gifts, bad ones, not so much.
The above said, first take a look at 10 tips for making the best homemade holiday gifts, then consider one of the gifts below.
7 homemade gifts I’ve given that have actually gone over well…
I’ve made tons of homemade gifts over the years. Some good, some better left unmentioned, but the ones below have gone over well.
1 - Homemade memory game - This game went over well with the kids who got them. Plus, it was a nice project for my son Cedar, who was 10 at the time, so if you’re looking for a gift your child can help with, this is a good one. Here’s a fun shapes and tactile version.
2 - “52 Reasons I Love You” Cards - I made one of these homemade decks for a friend’s birthday gift and Cedar made one for his dad for Father’s day. It was a smashing success in both cases. It’s time intensive, but fun and worth it. Plus, it forces you to think positively. Note, Cedar made a smaller deck, called “10 reasons I love you” which is smart if a kid is making this project, because 52 cards is a lot of work.
3 – Homemade organic chocolate covered cherries – I made these one year and while they were harder than I thought, everyone LOVED them. Never underestimate the power of chocolate + cherries. Just an FYI though – packaging was kind of a nightmare. I don’t think I’ve posted my recipe here yet, so here’s a good one. By the way, I haven’t made snowman covered cherries from The Kid’s Fun Review, but if I did this gift project again, I would because they’re ADORABLE (as shown above). Lastly, you have to see these chocolate mice.
4 - Homemade organic sugar scrub - Homemade sugar scrub is both the best homemade gift I’ve ever received and given. People love fancy bath products and this one is so easy that your gift making is done in a flash. You can also make salt scrub and you can personalize the scents. For Christmas, you may want to try this cinnamon scrub or candy cane bath salts.
5 – Homemade calender for kids - Last year my friend and I made calenders for our kids. It took a bit of time, but was an inexpensive gift and fun too. Also, the kids really liked them. You can print out your own calender template on the computer or buy a very inexpensive calender at the store and go nuts decorating (what I did). I suggest this gift for kids only, because they’re not super design-picky, whereas adults have VERY specific ideas when it comes to what hangs on their wall. See the homemade calender tutorial (coming soon).
6 – Homemade clock - I made a homemade wooden clock for a friend a long time ago and she’s had it hanging up for 12 years now. Mine was fancy – I painted it full of stars and celestial colors. This is a good project if you’re a decent painter. If you’re not a decent painter, go with a solid color scheme or use a unique recycled item to make your clock. To make a homemade clock, head to your nearest craft store (unless you own a wood shop) get a basic clock front plus the back mechanical workings. See this guide to homemade clocks. You can also try a homemade literary clock.
7 – Homemade music CD – This is a great stocking stuffer for kids and adults. If you want to give a CD as a main gift, say for a co-worker or pal, I suggest placing it in a little gift bag with some candy to amp it up a bit. I usually take the time to decorate the case too (as shown above) – which is way nicer than just writing down the songs in a row.
100+ other spectacular homemade gift ideas…
Remember, even if a gift looks like an excellent idea, it’s only great if you can pull it off, so stick with a gift you can manage. Also, because not all homemade gifts start out eco-friendly, make sure to switch it up to make projects greener. For example…
- Switch out conventional food and body care ingredients for organic.
- Reuse containers and packaging vs. buying new when possible.
- Use recycled and non-toxic arts and crafts supplies.
- Look for supplies for homemade gifts at thrift stores or garage sales before buying new supplies.
Homemade Gifts of Food & Drinks
- Christmas spiced salt
- Cranberry Christmas bread in a jar
- Chai Tea Concentrate
- Fresh herbal tea mixes
- Salted caramel almond pretzel popcorn
- Fleur de Sel Caramels
- Homemade cookies for stockings – it’s ALL about the cute packaging here.
- Easy granola
- Holiday mulling spices
- Homemade magic shell – a food gift that’s actually fun for kids.
- Homemade organic soft gingerbread cookies
- BBQ rub for grillers
- Orange-Cardamom Marmalade
- Extremely easy do-ahead homemade vanilla extract + some cute printable labels.
- Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti
Give the gift of light
- Cookie cutter candles
- AMAZING backlit canvas art or this more twinkling version that would be great for a kids space.
- Really cute homemade beeswax candles in little mason jars.
- Homemade soy candles
- OH SO CUTE sugar bowl candles
Homemade gifts for toddlers
Homemade felt play mat and homemade large floor puzzle made from a recycled map are shown above – these projects are from a really old craft book I have – 101 Crafts Under $10 – Easy-to-Make Ideas for Gifts and Home. It’s a decent idea book, but I think it’s more worth checking out at the library vs. buying, unless you can find it cheap.
- Homemade moon sand
- Fairy wings
- DIY thrift store dress up kit
- Homemade soap crayons
- Hobby horse
- No sew tutu
- DIY play doctor kit
- Homemade crowns for pretend play.
- Homemade geoboard
- Winter themed play dough (scented and colored).
- A great toddler-friendly homemade sewing basket.
Homemade gifts for babies
- A gorgeous happy stacker by the obviously more talented sewer than me, domesticesq.
- Gauzey swaddle blankets
- Sock animal rattle
- Homemade tactile baby balls
- Very cool I Spy fish – scroll down to picture #3 – no instructions, but easy enough to figure out if you sew at all.
- LOVE this homemade dashboard toy
- I bet if you’re a decent artist you could make a homemade alphabet framed picture. Here’s some inspiration.
Homemade gifts for kids & teens
- Cotton Candy Cupcake Bomb w/ Cherry Lemonaide Icing
- Homemade pouch for iPod
- Crayon Roll Holder
- Great looking pencil or cosmetic bags
- Set of bottle cap magnets for school lockers or bulletin boards.
- Wire wrap rings
- Slick Etch-A-Sketch Laptop Cozy
- Younger kids will love these homemade chalkboard blocks.
- Popsicle soap
- Treasure chests
- A cool stocking stuffer for kids – homemade recycled CD case maze
- Homemade flower press
- Duct tape wallet – actually this is also a great gift for teens to give. Last year my friend’s daughter made him one and he loves it.
The gift of memories
Homemade beauty and body care gifts
- Homemade lotion bars -this is the gift I want to make this year. I LOVE lotion bars. Here are some cute lotion bars for kids, made in little molds. If you want to go 100% vegan, skip the beeswax and use candelilla wax or soy wax instead.
- Homemade solid perfume – awesome and non-toxic.
- Vegan lotion
- Neopolatin Ice Cream Scrub
- Bright and pretty lemon hand scrub
- Homemade body butter - if you’re looking for body butter ingredients, check here.
- Whipped body butter and an interesting coconut version.
- Bath bombs for adults + a decent guide to homemade bath bombs
- Homemade hand milled soap
Homemade gifts that make life easier
- The most lovely DIY dry erase board idea ever. I’m so tempted to make mini ones of these for everyone I know.
- Homemade seed bombs with labels
- CD visor for the car
- Reusable tote bags – 10 project tutorials
- Excellent magnet gift set
- Really clever old spoons transformed into garden markers.
- Homemade linen spray
- Button calender – skip down to the 4th image.
- Cloth napkin set! Why, because cloth napkins rock.
- Lavender closet balls from the book 101 Crafts Under Easy-to-Make Ideas for Gifts and Home: Easy-to-Make Ideas for Gifts and Home.
- I’m not nuts about the vinyl here, but I do think this DIY chalkboard memo board is a cool idea. Maybe there’s an eco-way to do it?
- Wool camera wrap
MISC gift ideas
Both of the above ideas (a wall plaque and mobile) are from another old craft book I own – Suns & Moons, 20 Practical Inspirations. It’s hard to find, but worth a look if you like crafts involving the sun, moon or stars
- Homemade birdhouse
- The jar of nothing - funny for a white elephant exchange.
- Wine cork bathmat – although, seriously, you’d have to drink a TON of wine to do this project.
- Awesome salvaged window farm art for the right person.
- Adorable recycled suitcase pet bed