Every holiday season, Americans sink further and further into debt. Hundreds of people flock to stores, ready to pounce the person who tries to get the last “must have gift” of the year. Instead of giving into the commercialism and consumerism that the holidays encourage, offer your family gifts that won’t put you in debt and are much more meaningful. Here are 10 great home-made gift ideas for this holiday season.
1. Home-made granola: This is relatively easy to make. In fact, it only takes about 15 minutes of your time. You can make a large batch and disperse them in festively decorated mason jars. There are several different recipes you can use. However, here is a basic one to get you started.
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
6-7 cups oats
Coat a 9×13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place oats in baking pan. Combine honey, oil, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook until it comes to a rolling boil. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Stir well. Remove from stove and pour over oats. Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Other variations include adding 1/2 cup peanut butter, nuts, raisins or other dried fruit, and substituting some of your favorite cereal for oats. However you make it, this is a really tasty home-made treat that others are sure to enjoy.
2. Gifts in a jar: These can include anything from cocoa mix to soups. There is actually an entire website dedicated to gifts in a jar. Find one that you like and gift away!
3. Home-made cookies: Bake your favorite cookies for family and friends. Or, if you don’t want to bake, simply find freezer safe containers and mix the dough. Place the dough in the containers and gift the dough. Almost everyone loves being able to bake a fresh batch of cookies without the work!
4. Home-made air freshners: You can make these in almost any pretty container. Decorate them for the holiday season and give the gift of scent!
5. Home-made candles: These can be made by purchasing a few products at your local craft store. However, making home-made candles is more advanced than home-made air freshners. You have to get the wax temperature just right and placing the wick takes practice. If you are crafty, you should be able to pull of relatively easy. However, if crafting is something you are new to, starting with the air freshners might be a better idea.
6. Hand-made scarves, sweaters, slippers, throws, etc: If you know how to knit or crochet, these are relatively quick and easy projects that you can give to others. If you don’t know how to knit or crochet, you can start learning now for next year. It can be fun and once you get the hang of it, it’s relatively simple.
7. Home-Made recipe books: If you have a college or soon to be college gift recipient, this can be one of the most valuable gifts they recieve. Try to include simple, inexpensive, and tasty recipe ideas. You can print the cover on cardstock and bind together with yarn. Decorate with pictures, clip art, or your own drawings.
8. Pictures/ Memory Collagues: These are great for grandparents. They are also fun to make, especially when you include the kids! Take family pictures or photos and place them on construction paper or cardstock. Laminate with contact paper. Make a cover out of cardstock or construction paper. Bind together with yarn. Be sure to decorate pages and include fun notes!
9. Hand-made puppets: These are great for younger kids. Sock puppets take almost no time to make and kids have a blast with them. Purchase new socks, particularly those that are fun colors. Use a hot glue gun to paste on googly or felt eyes (keep in mind the age group), felt mouth, etc.
10. Hand-made pillow pets: You don’t have to purchase expensive commercial products to give your kids a soft pet. Instead, you can make your own. Buy a soft fabric that resembles a stuffed animal. Stuff them full of stuffing. (This can also be found in the craft center.) Cut out two large circles and two slightly smaller circles. Sew the matching circles most of the way closed, soft side in. Once you have only a small opening, turn the pillows right side out. Stuff with stuffing and sew up the small hole. Sew the smaller circle onto the larger circle in a way that resembles a head and body. Cut eyes, nose, mouth, and ears from felt and either sew on or attach with hot glue gun. You can even use yarn to create a tail and embroider whiskers.
No matter what age group you are gifting for, you can create a fun and creative home-made gift. Home-made gifts take on more meaning for you and the recipient. These are just a few ideas to get you started. The mian idea is to remember to have fun and be creative.