If you’re sticking to a small budget and looking for ways to trim costs during special occasions, try these homemade gift ideas for the people on your list.
Nice hand-made book by paperfairys.
A while ago, we talked about some ways to save on crafts and creative DIY projects. We also shared with you some of our best gift ideas for the holiday season and thoughts on how to create family holiday traditions to save money. Well, I’ve decided to bring all these suggestions together to come up with some great homemade gift ideas for this time of year!
Even though I enjoy finding great deals on gifts at the mall and online, I try to make a few presents each holiday season and other special occasions (like birthdays). Some of my best memories of holidays past include handmade favorites, such as the simple papercraft ornaments my mom made for me one Christmas Eve. A few years ago, I made some afghans that still see daily use in our household. If you’re handy and creative, these DIY gift ideas may work out for you!
Frugal Homemade Gift Ideas For The Budget-Conscious
Pouches and Tote Bags
Recently, when someone gave me a cellphone, I spent less than an hour making a pouch for it. If you can knit, crochet, or sew up a square or rectangle, you have the foundation for a basic pouch. In the past, I’ve made pouches to hold sunglasses and makeup, handheld games like the Nintendo DS or the Playstation Portable, and iPods. You can add fancy touches to the pouches by embroidering a design or adding a cute applique!
Another project that would be quick to tackle would be a tote bag. Recycle your old jeans or fabric from a discarded dress or shirt to stitch up a bag. Add a paperback and you have a sweet little book bag. Or make a few bags like the one from BurdaStyle — they look like they’d be great to use for shopping.
Clothing and Accessories
Thanks to the yarn emporium in my office, I’ve made a fair number of scarves. They’re quick to make and people always seem to need them in cold climates. If you don’t knit or crochet, you can sew up a scarf in little time. Peruse the remnants available in the fabric section of craft stores for low cost ideas.
Hats, Wraps, and Throws
These are also relatively quick to make for crafting novices. Last year, I crocheted a rectangle, sewed up one end, then joined the corners together to make a simple hat. Easy patterns for wraps and throws aren’t difficult to find; check out the choices at Joann for more inspiration.
It’s hard to get away to a resort this time of year, but you can give your friends and loved ones a spa basket instead. Make a batch of Citrus Slice Soap and add some candles — even homemade, scented ones! By using easy-to-find ingredients like Epsom salts and a how-to, you can add in your own bath salts. Some flowers add a nice touch as well.
Good Times with Families
For families, I like to put together meals to go. One year, I gave a relative a basket with pasta, sauce, a loaf of bread, and a cookbook — I’m sure she enjoyed not having to think too hard about dinner. For a picnic basket, it would be fun to write up my favorite sandwich ideas, along with some side dishes, a sampling of desserts and a loaf of homemade bread.
I also thought about putting together a garden kit and adding in some seed packets or garden gloves. This would be something any family with a yard would appreciate!
And what about this idea: why not invite families over for craft time once a month? You could help each other out with projects and teach each other new skills.
Back when I studied foreign languages, I enjoyed learning more about another culture through its food. So if I had a foreign student in my gift recipient list, it would be a nice touch to track down some recipes and invite the foreign language student over for a meal. Or I can pack the treats to go — say a bento box filled with rice candy for someone studying Japanese or a cassoulet for a French student.
Picture Box or Scrapbook
Another idea that might be fun is a picture box or scrapbook tailored to a child’s interests. If that preteen you know is a football fan, track down news stories about his favorite players (hopefully cheerful stories), and add in pictures and scenes from memorable games.
Are you pretty handy? If you’re wondering what kind of present to offer a family of gamers — perhaps they’ll appreciate a simple shelving unit you put together to corral all their gear. With all the consoles, controllers, game boxes, guidebooks, remote controls, and other gaming accessories they probably have, your ability to bring order to their gaming lives might be a welcome gift.
For younger children, I’d have fun making a few toys like softies. Give the toys some cute or wacky faces and you’re good to roll.
Gifts Made With Your Computer
You can also give your gifts the personal touch. For example, when I made a calendar with a word processing program last year, I added a bunch of funny sayings and quotes to the pictures I inserted. This year, I might make the neighborhood pets the stars of their own LOLcat-themed calendar! 🙂
Monograms and Embroidery
If you’re handy with embroidery by hand or on the sewing machine, try monogramming a nice set of kitchen towels for the cooks on your list. Or personalize a gift by adding decorations in their favorite colors or patterns — give team spirit to a set of plain white bath towels by trimming the edges with ribbon in a team’s colors (the Sooners fans around here would go for that!).
The Gift of Service
And if you’re the resident tech expert in the neighborhood, you can print out gift certificates for your time. Teach someone who’s new to online photo services about Flickr or Picasa; organize a senior’s massive music collection (just where did Grandpa get 50,000 tunes, anyway? 😉 ); disclose what you know about safe file sharing; or help someone get started with your favorite personal finance tools or software.
Often, the most memorable gift is the one that enables you to spend time with someone, so why not allow your DIY skills to help you make a statement during each special occasion? Why not use your talents to start making memories this season?