22 DIY Holiday Gift Ideas

From jar recipes to winter survival kits, these homemade presents are cheap and easy to make.

Woman wrapping holiday gifts.

One rule of DIY gifting: Don’t wait until the last minute to get started.

By   Nov. 14, 2014 
The holidays are fast approaching. If you’re planning to make any do-it-yourself gifts for the people on your list, it’s time to start getting them together. Whether you’re an experienced crafter or last made papier-mâché sculptures in third grade, you can make great homemade gifts. Here’s how to get started.

The Principles of Homemade Gifting

Before we launch into a list of great gift ideas, let’s talk about some of the basics of making and giving homemade gifts. It’s a little different from just shopping off someone’s wish list or picking up a gift card.

Even the simplest homemade holiday gifts involve an investment of time and money on your part. So take this advice when choosing and creating homemade gifts for the people on your list:

  • Don’t try to learn a new skill now. Many of the gift ideas on this list take next-to-no skill. But if you’re not super crafty, now is not the time to try to learn a new skill to make holiday gifts – unless you have the help of someone who already knows what he or she is doing. Stick with gift ideas that are within your current skill set. Then, starting at the first of the year, you can learn to sew, knit or whatever to make other gifts.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. The bane of all crafters is the last-minute gift attempt. Sure, you can leave conventional shopping until the last minute and come out with basically the same results. Not so when it comes to holiday crafting! Whether you’re making one gift or 50, start crafting as soon as possible so you can take your time.
  • Think of the recipient. Of course, you always want to think of your recipient when choosing gifts. But if you’re buying something from a box store, friends or family can always take back something that doesn’t quite fit them or their tastes. When you’re making handmade gifts, this isn’t the case. So extra thought is definitely required.
  • Shop around for supplies. Most big craft stores – Michael’s, JoAnn Fabric and Hobby Lobby, especially – have great sales on craft supplies periodically. Sign up online to get notifications of what these stores have on sale each week. Most of them also send out great coupons on a regular basis, so you can save on your bigger-ticket supplies.

22 Gifts to Try

Now that we got that out of the way, here are some great homemade gift ideas to try. They range from small, inexpensive gifts for teachers and others in your life, to larger, more time-intensive ideas for close friends and family members.

Jar Gifts. Gifts in a jar have been around forever. But that doesn’t mean they’ve gone out of style. These pretty, simple gifts are great for teachers, neighbors, service workers and just about anyone else on your list. Try the classic cookies in a jar or this adorable reindeer-decorated hot chocolate in a jar. For a healthier option, try soup in a jar. Or give the gift of a spa night with these layered peppermint bath salts.

For a bit more money, you can also put together a creative gift inside a larger jar. Try this sewing kit, awinter survival kit or a spa in a jar.

Food Gifts. Of course, some of the jar gifts involve food. But here are some other great DIY food gifts – especially for the foodies in your life. Homemade cookies are always a great option for easy gifting. You could also try some DIY cooking ingredients, like homemade bacon salt, flavored oils or evenhomemade coffee syrups.

You could put together spice kits, or even make your own delicious Herbes de Provence. Got a movie lover in your life? Put together a package of DIY popcorn seasonings, popcorn and a movie. For the foodie who prefers fresh ingredients, try this herb terrarium centerpiece – it’s gorgeous and useful at the same time. Finally, please the wine lover in your life with this simple packet of mulled wine spices.

Sewing Gifts. If you’ve got access to a sewing machine and some basic sewing skills, these gifts might be for you. These adorable pajama eaters are a little complex, since they involve a zipper, but they’re a creative gift for kids (and moms who don’t want to wash a different pair of PJs for every day of the week!).

DIY microwaveable heating bags are a no-brainer of a project for teachers, mail delivery people and others for whom you just want a small, quick-to-make gift. Your kids could even help decorate them. (For a bigger gift, stick two of these in a large jar for a winter survival kit!).

Linen napkins are fairly simple, and they’re a perfect gift for people who love to host. Head wraps are another easy gift for the younger crowd.

Photo Gifts. For parents, grandparents and even kids, you can’t go wrong with photo gifts. Plenty of websites let you put together semi-DIY photo gifts that the company prints and then sends to you. These are really simple ways to make calendars, photo albums and more.

But you can turn your own photos into great gifts, too. This puzzle photo gift is great for little kids and adults alike. Or try these beautiful photo votives to light memories with a candle glow. This photo holderlets the recipient choose which pictures to display. And this photo jewelry would make a gorgeous gift for any mom or grandma.

But remember, regardless what’s under the wrapping paper, the people in your life will appreciate the time and effort you put into making them a personal gift. And during this season of giving, it’s the thought that matters.


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