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Handmade Holiday Gifting

With the holidays coming up we all get that ping of anxiety when we hear words like secret santa and lay away. We wince when we mark down another ” Yankee swap ” holiday party and scan our children’s Christmas lists in fear of seeing brands like Apple, Chanel and Nissan. Although creating an iPad or an Altima at home might be a bit more tricky, there are some DIY gifts that not only save you money but make your gifting original and certainly memorable. Whether you need gifts for your neighbors & coworkers or a personalized, made especially to suit them gift for your child,  your sure to find some ideas here.

Gifts for the Kids

Most children, on Christmas morning, are easy to please. If it’s wrapped in gold paper, found under the tree and has the name Santa written on it, chances are your little one will love it before they even know what’s inside.  Here’s a few ideas where a little effort will go a long way:

A kids Travel Activity Board is a must have for long car rides and a staple in any child’s play room. It can also be used as  a portable chalkboard which helps to make learning and problem solving a breeze in any scenario.

DIY travel chalkboard tray

Find out how to make your own at B-Inspired Also, if you’d like to go an extra step, you can find out how to make your own magnets to use here DIY Magnets

Perfect for your little fashionista, Ollieblocks are the ” paper dolls ” of 2013. Head on over to and print out your sets. Then just cut, glue and voilà!

examples of different OlliBlocks

Not only are these perfect for all ages but they provide hours of mixing and matching fun and the winning combinations are endless.

Play dough. Silly putty. Clay and .. Gak ? Originally Gak was a Nickelodeon slime that was used as a gross out prop. It’s cheaper than play dough and it won’t dry out if left uncovered for a day or two. It’s a great rainy day activity and by making your own you can make as many different colors as your little inventor can invent! 

gak gift plus ingredients in a decorative box

Over at Lil’ Luna, they’ve got a list of all the goo making materials you’ll need. Most of which can be found at your local dollar store, Target, Walmart etc. For under $10 you cant ” goo ” wrong.

Perfect Gifts for Neighbors & CoWorkers

When we think of the types of gifts we give neighbors and coworkers we usually think of candy, cookies, flower arrangements and gift cards. Their inexpensive, easy and come in multiples. But your neighborhood and office gifting doesn’t have to be that boring. Heres a few ideas that will leave your associates ooh’ing and ahh’ing into the new year.

When we say ” Gifts in a Jar “ we don’t mean jams or jellies. We mean chocolate cake, extra chunky cookies, hot chocolate 100 different ways, curried lentils soup, blueberry muffins and so much more. Layering dry ingredients in an embellished mason jar and attaching the recipe with a decorated tag, makes for an inexpensive gift that will leave the receiver with a lasting impression.

dry ingredients layered in mason jar collage

gifts in a jar dry ingredients for santas cookies recipe

Find out how to make your own Cookies to Santa jars at Make It Do and for other great embellishment and recipe ideas search the web or make it your own by personalizing them.

Another fun gift is, well .. poop. Reindeer poop that is! These little bags are so darn cute and the perfect gift to make when your giving to multiple people

Reindeer Poop poem

Among reindeer poop there’s also snowman & elf poop. Each equally as easy and adorable! Find a snowman and reindeer how to at DIY They also offer free printable tags to compliment your gift.

The earliest recorded evidence of soap-like materials dates back to around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon. A formula  consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC. But you don’t have to be an ancient Babylonian to create your own aromatic cleansing bars.

diy milky rose soap bars

The materials you would need can easily be found at craft stores and the internet holds an abundance of recipe and scent ideas to help you create your own. The soap pictured above is called a Milky Rose Soap Bar (*Tip – We don’t suggest using as many petals as PV Soap did. In this case lesser is more.) Top Inspired has compiled an excellent list of Top 10 DIY Soap Recipes. Among bar soap theres also Foaming Hand Soap and Sugar Scrubs.

Yankee Swap & Last Minute Gift Ideas

Sometimes even the most organized Christmas divas can end up at CVS the night before a forgotten Yankee Swap party. And although its not impossible to find a great last minute gift there, there are other options that are just as easy and make your gift the one most desired.

Giving cash is tricky. Anyone would be pleased to receive it and its quick and easy to give but presenting it is tough to do without coming across as being ” unthoughtful “. So when we saw this idea on A Vegas Girl at Heart we were ecstatic!

yankee swap rolled up holiday dough

Holiday Dough is such a creative way of giving cash and would probably be the most swapped item at the party. People will swoon over the embellishments and guessing games will ensue over the  amount of cash rolled up inside.

As parents of little kids, coffee is sacrilegious. And fashionable mugs are limited. In comes Sharpie Marker Art: Mugs. This nifty little gift idea is super easy and the design possibilities are endless. Choose one look or personalize them. Use many colors or just pick one.

diy sharpie art gift mugs

Even though were in love with Infarrantly Creative’s way of creating these little gems, we chose to go with the lazier path. Find or create your own design on the computer. Print out your stencil on a full sheet of sticker paper (you can find some here). After cutting out your pattern, position it firmly on your mug. Refer to Infarrantly Creative for the last steps on finishing your gift. Decorate the finished product with Christmas garnish and we like the idea of filling it with candy or a DIY Hot Chocolate Kit.

Scrabble Coasters make for an easy last minute gift mainly because most of the materials needed to create them are already right in your home. Online these can go for $26 bucks! Make yours out of an old scrabble game (found at thrift stores, second hand from friends and relatives etc.) and come out paying close to nothing.

diy scrabble coasters

Customize them to spell out holiday words or words of good spirits. There are many ways of doing these found all over the web but the one that we prefer is from Domestic for Dummies and it can be found here. Wrap them with Christmas ribbon and a big decorative bow for a festive presentation.

Sometimes its easy to loose sight of the true meaning behind the holidays. We worry to much about price tags when in fact the most expensive gift can also be the less thoughtful one. Remember that the best gifts, the ones that leave impressions of love and thankfulness, the ones people are most grateful for, come from putting in a lot of effort, not a lot of cash.


One comment on “Handmade Holiday Gifting

  1. Pingback: Is that Sleigh Bells Ringing? | Jacqui Senn

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