Christmas is only 20 days away and everyone is rushing to get the gifts now before it’s too late. Christmas is an expensive holiday but it doesn’t have to be. After all, it’s the thought that counts. Here are a few ideas for Do-It-Yourself-Christmas homemade gifts. Just remember, in order to complete most of these, you need to get started soon.
1. Homemade truffles. Almost everyone loves them and they’re easy to make. Don’t know how to make them? Try this recipe from Alton Brown.
2. Create a secret hollow book. Find a cheap musty old classic at your nearby Goodwill or used bookstore. Glue the pages together, use an X-Acto knife to hollow out the center of the book. Now the recipient can store his or her treasures!
3. If you love to cook, create a recipe booklet containing a collection of your favorite holiday recipes. Pass your culinary traditions on to your friends.
4. If you’re great with Photoshop, create a booklet of your loved ones that Photoshops them onto stock photos of world landmarks, such as The Pyramids, so it looks like they’ve traveled the world. This homemade gift is perfect for adventurous young minds and even adults.
5. Give the gift of experience. There’s nothing like giving someone the gift of experience, it is something they will always remember. Sample gifts of experience: sky diving, scuba lessons, hot-air balloon rides, cooking school, lunch with a hero, etc.
6. Make personalized calendars. You can buy calendar blanks or use a template from a program; add pictures of things or people meaningful to the recipient; add in important dates (birthdays and anniversaries of family & friends) and maybe a special note or quote every once in a while. For parents/students you can add in the school schedule; for homeowners you can add in a home maintenance schedule; so on and so forth. To make them extra special, add little treats – a couple dollars taped to a summer date for an ice-cream treat; a coupon for free babysitting on a weekend; video & popcorn night, etc.
7. Create a spice sampler. Bulk spices can make an affordable and appreciated gift for anyone who loves to cook, or who is moving into a new kitchen. Don’t know which ones to choose? Find some tempting recipes that call for exotic spices, then include the recipes with the spices. Or, get creative and make a custom spice blend for a meat rub, marinade mix, salad dressing kit, dip, or seasoning.
8. Make personal coupons or gift certificates. It may sound a little sappy but every now and then it’s good to redeem a coupons for dinner out, a massage, a night of babysitting, etc. Get creative, it’ll be better and cheaper than any tangible gift.
9. Create a memory jar. This type of idea will work best for grandparents or older relatives and it costs next to nothing. Contact your family and friends and ask them to send memories and old pictures of the recipient. Then write one memory on each of 365 business card sized pieces of card-stock or on the printed picture and fold each in half and secure it with a bit of tape, then place them in a jar. Each day for the next year when the recipient takes out a paper and reads what others cherished about him/her, they’ll love it.
10. Make your own cards. You can buy boxes of 50 assorted bright-color cards at Micheal’s for around $7. Then use the leftover paper scraps and stickers to decorate them. You can even make your own Christmas ornaments, you just have to get creative.
And as a bonus idea – for something that can mean a lot for a child in the long run, there’s always the idea of opening an online savings account, with a little bit of cash, so that they can learn the lesson of saving early. Hopefully it’s a lesson that will last for a lifetime.