Welcome to October! And welcome to the kickoff of holiday shopping! I’m kidding. Well sort of. I am not exactly the type of person so start my Christmas shopping in October, but 21.9% of shoppers begin theirs this month. To be fair, it’s nice to get a head start on your holiday plans. Knowing in advance what you are getting who can help alleviate some of the stress that accompanies the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Many Americans, according to a Gallup poll, spend about $830 a year on Christmas gifts. That’s quite a chunk of change! If you, however, prefer to bring meaning, thoughtfulness, and ingenuity to your gift giving, and perhaps save a little money as well, here’s a list of 10 Unique DIY Gifts to Make for Christmas this year.
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Why Homemade Gifts?
Look, I’m thrifty. Like many women, I like a good bargain. I buy things that I believe have value, but I don’t throw my money around willy nilly. However, I LOVE to give gifts. Even if there is no occasion for it. It’s so rewarding to watch someone you care about open a gift and see how they react. It’s even more satisfying when you have come up with the gift yourself, investing your time and energy into making something special.
In a society where you can literally buy anything with a click of mouse (and Free 2-Day Shipping), it can cheapen the effect of giving a thoughtful gift. Money is just money. You can spend it on gifts, but the most valuable gifts you can give are the ones that came with thought, time, and love. Gifts that someone says “Oh my gosh, that is so thoughtful! You made this?!” Time is money, so they say, and giving your time and effort to make a special gift creates much more value than buying “stuff.”
Thus, I urge you to consider making at least some of your gifts this holiday season. It can be a lot of fun, helps exercise your creativity, and creates a sense of accomplishment, boosting your self-esteem. Making your own gifts can often be much cheaper, plus you can even employ the kids to help you (if they are old enough). Yay for family time!
Keep It Small and Local
If you are thinking to yourself “Ain’t nobody got time for this!” and you aren’t able to make your own, try to buy gifts local or from small businesses, if possible. This helps to support your local economy, small business owners, and in many cases helps to reduce environmental footprint from shipping across the country. Either way, get ahead of the game and start planning, making, or shopping for gifts now. When you are doing your holiday baking in a couple of months, and your list of gift recipients has already been checked off, you can thank me for a more relaxing December.
Without further ado, here are the hand curated list of 10 Unique DIY Gifts to Make for Christmas:
I stumbled upon an example of this at a Goodwill. It was a cheap target purse (usually quite stylish) that had been painted. I love this idea so much! Goodwill is actually a great place to start for this project. 1) Find gently used vinyl or leather purses in good condition 2) buy them for $4-$5 a piece 3) take them home and clean them up 4) design and paint them with cool effects, colors, and shapes using acrylic paint. Your artsy-fartsy friends will love and appreciate this DIY Christmas gift.
Shameless plug to another DIY article I wrote, this succulent terrarium makes a great gift, year round. Since succulents require much less water and attention as other plants, even your black-thumb friends can appreciate this gift. Once you collect your supplies, you can make several of these terrariums to give away this year. Who doesn’t like a gift of pretty house plants?
I actually made a couple of these alcohol ink mugs a while back for a co-worker and it turned out awesome! I will say, from experience, make sure you are using the strong rubbing alcohol (90-91%) to provide the foundation to paint your inks on. And if you mess up, you can always erase it with alcohol and start over again. Just remember, have fun! Each mug will look unique. Have any friends that loved the show Dexter? Use the red alcohol ink; it seriously looks like blood.
Sea glass, smoothed and tumbled in oceans or large lakes, is a sought after item. Granted, not everyone has access to a beach where you can forage your own sea glass easily. You can find sea glass for sale on Etsy for pretty cheap. Then again, perhaps you have a jar full of it from your last beach vacation and have no idea what to do with. Make it into jewelry! With a small hand drill, you can make you own holes and then get creative! Add some leather string and tie it into a bracelet or necklace. Your jewelry wearing friends and family will love it.
These beautiful hand dyed curtains are a tad more work than some of the other DIY gifts, but totally worth it! Using a tye-dye kit and some plain white fabric, you can make a memorable and fashionable Christmas gift for someone who appreciates the beauty of color. My advice? Make sure you have a general measurement of windows of your recipient, since windows vary widely in size.
This is a perfect example of a gift to start working on now. Get your mason jars and seeds, and get planting! Make sure you are sprouting your seeds in a sunny window and keep the water in the jars moist but not overly wet. Keep them growing from now until December, you will have a nice, healthy herb garden to gift to your culinary friends and family! Running out of time? Simply buy small herb plants from your local nursery and replant into jars. No one will know the difference.
I love this idea! I have always aspired to knitting a pair of mittens. Someday I’ll get around to it…but in the meantime, sweater mittens! This would be easy enough for even the most crafty challenged person. 1)Trace your hand (or the hand of someone else) to make a pattern, 2) draw pattern on old sweater, 3) cut out and pin together, 4) sew mittens together (inside-out). Vous-la!
I have made this before and I can attest, people love the smell! I even had co-workers offering to pay me to make some for them. Just imagine, when it’s cold and blustery around Christmastime, your friends and family can use this and it will trick them into thinking they are at a tropical beach! Well, maybe not. But they WILL love it. And this recipe is so easy, anyone could do it. Pro-tip: Adding the shredded coconut is optional. Whip up a large batch using coconut oil and lime essential oil and scoop into clean, sanitized jars with lids. Give this homemade gift to several friends with a ribbon tied around it.
I’m big into crystals and I appreciate this tutorial for an easy, unique DIY gift. It adds an elegant look to a simple wooden box, which then could be used for small storage container or accent piece. Your hippy-dippy friends and family will love it! Looking for some raw gemstones? You could try these here.
Snuggling, anyone? The holidays are a perfect time to grab your softest throw and snuggle up. This DIY jute rope basket is an inexpensive way to store said blankets. You could even fill the basket with a few essentials like a candle and blanket for your gift. Whoever your snugglers are, they are sure to love this homemade gift.
I don’t know about you, but after writing this, I’m feeling inspired to get crafting and make something! Hope you feel inspired to make something yourself this year. DIY gifts are the way of the future. Enjoy!