November 27, 2007

Easy, Creative Homemade Christmas Present Ideas

It's Christmas time! I don't know about you, but I've already blown my 2007 shopping budget. How about some easy, do it yourself (DIY) ideas for how to make gifts for family, friends, kids and teachers? I've scoured the internet and found some fun, easy ideas that don't require too much time or skill. They are creative and fun to make and receive. Please feel free to leave a comment with your homemade Christmas gift ideas.


Custom kits: These are fun ideas for kids and can be assembled from items that have been in the junk drawer for years. You can make a custom kit for your child to care for their stuffed animals (pet supplies, toys, biscuits), dolls (baby wipes, newborn diapers, pacifier) or aspiring chef (a mixing spoon, cookie cutters, measuring cups and apron). Think of what your child loves and get creative! Or go with an adult theme and make a romance kit (fake rose petals, Sparkling cider, candles) or stress buster kit (aspirin, earplugs, eye mask). Take the time to personalize your gift for extra credit! See example.


Jar Gifts/Recipes: You can buy mason jars or use recycled jars from home for a wide variety of gift ideas. Assemble an entire recipe (here are some recipe ideas, and here are even more recipes) or provide a sample treat along with the recipe to make it. For example, you could provide the recipe for homemade play dough along with a small sample in a baggie. This is my favorite play dough recipe - it lasts for months if kept in a Tupperware and has a great, rubbery consistency:

How to Make Basic Play Dough:
2 cups flour
2 cups water
1 cup salt
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Food coloring or Kool aid mix
Directions:
Mix flour, water, salt, cream of tartar and oil in saucepan. Add food coloring/Koolaid to mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when dough forms a ball. Cool for five minutes before using. To make the playdough even more fun, mix in some small googley eyes, glitter, sand or sequins after the dough has cooled. You can also mix in a scent. Use any kind of extract (vanilla, banana, peppermint), nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice. Here are some more tips for working with and making play dough/clay.

Dog Bone Wreath: Make sure your pets are included in the fun this Xmas. Make a simple wreath from dog biscuits and chew toys to hang over their water bowl or dog house. You can use simple wire to tie it together or go more ornate by using an actual wreath frame and decorating it appropriately. See example.


Plaster casts:
Although this project may take a little more prep, once you have the supplies it's an easy, creative and unique gift. Find your favorite sea shells, use your baby's hand, a fruit, or any other interesting object in your home to create a custom molded dish. Dishes can be used for jewelery, soap, sewing supplies, etc. I love this idea because you can stay simple or go all out with painting and decorating your mold. See example.


Heat Saver Animals: These are a perfect gift for those in a cold climate. I remember these lining all the doorways of my home as a child. And with all the fun stockings and socks out there, you can make a fun, durable animal with almost no effort. See example.


Homemade Postcards: Another great way to include your child in holiday gift-giving. What are you going to do with all those art projects he brings home from school? Or are you an artist looking for some recognition? Scan your pictures and print them out on cardstock to create custom postcards for family and friends. You can copy and print the photos yourself or run to the copy shop and have them copy and cut the cards for you. See further instructions.


Gag Gifts:
Make sure the recipient has a sense of humor before trying these!
Snowman Poop: Fill a bag with mini marshmallows, tie it up and attach the below poem with a ribbon. For extra effect, put the marshmallows in a brown paper bag, singe the edges of the bag with a match and leave it on their doorstep:

Santa looked at his list,
Even checked it twice.
And he has seen that you
have not been very nice.
Since coal's so expensive,
Here's the scoop,
Santa's filling your stocking
with SNOWMAN'S POOP!

Magic Reindeer Food: A jar of glittery goodness to sprinkle on the lawn for Rudolf and his crew. Great fun for kids. See recipe and example.

Box of Love: Cheesy though it is, this one is my absolute favorite! It's so simple and completely charming if it's given by a child. Trust me, the grandparents will melt. Use any small boxes you'd like and wrap them up (jewelry boxes work very well and are inexpensive at craft stores). Try and get your child to help decorating and coloring the box with ribbons, sequins, glitter, etc. Then print this poem on cardstock and attach to the present:
This is a very special gift
That you can never see.
The reason it's so special is,
It's just for you from me.
Whenever you are happy,
or even feeling blue.
You only have to hold
this gift and know
I think of you.

You never can unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied.
Just hold the box close
to your heart,
It's filled with love inside.

I'll update this list as I find more simple, inexpensive gift ideas. Merry Christmas, everyone! Remember that the real gift is in the giving. But that doesn't mean I don't want tons of presents from everyone...


Need some ideas for easy, homemade Christmas cards?
Here are some of my favorite ideas!

44 comments:

Amy said...

Oh Hollywood...the empty box is your favorite ever? I hate that one--I got it for a gift once. I was like "if you love me, you'd buy me a gift."

I know, I'm not a very beautiful person on the inside.

Hollywood said...

I guess I'm just in a particularly sappy mood this morning. But like I said, unless they are a grandparent or girlfriend, the Box of Love will probably fall flat. But seriously, if I got one of these from my kid I'd melt.

AzĂșcar said...

If I get a Box of Love from my husband for Christmas I will throw down right in the middle of the living room.

He would be toast.

Liza said...

I love the heat saver animals and I have made something similar, though not as cute. Warning: do not fill with rice unless you want Mickey and his friends to invade your house. I would love to find an alternative "filler." I tried cat litter (minus the litter) and it worked well, but became pretty dusty after a few years.

Hollywood said...

I think my mom filled ours with dried beans. Do you think the mice would attack that too?

Heffalump said...

Speaking of rice...you can make reuseable heating pads with rice. Just sew a small pillow shape, or better yet a long tube shape, fill it with rice and sew the end closed. You can throw it in the microwave, or keep it in the freezer and use it on sore muscles and etc. Just microwave it for a minute or so and it retains the heat for a long time. When I was a kid it was very cold in our house at night, and I filled a tube sock with rice, tied a knot in the end, microwaved it and it kept my feet warm until I went to sleep. It also did a great job defrosting the window of my pinto when I went to work in the mornings, just heat and put on the dash...
You can use whole wheat if you don't want to use rice.

amanda said...

Yeah, the box of love doesn't really seem like your style. I was surprised you would risk your reputation like that, saying it was your favorite. I would have expected you to say something more along the lines of: "Now this totally made me gag to even write about it, but here it is..." But I melt at anything my kids give me. So I guess it's all good. Plus, who doesn't love homemade? Great googleable post. Hopefully you make a little cash off of it. Very smart. Good luck.

Teah said...

Love the ideas. My sister actually had a "quick cheap n' easy" crafting session this morning. We beaded really easy necklaces. I'm also making SUPER easy card sets for a few of my cousins (spray adhesive on a full sheet of crumpled, smoothed out tissue paper. Lay plain "folder style" cards on the paper, cut them out and your done! Quick, cheap n' easy.) We're dipping plastic spoons in chocolate and pairing them with some really nice cocoa for the sisters in our relief society. Oh, and my sister loves to make those grocery bag holders - it's a tube of fabric, with a loop on one end to hang it, and elastic on both ends to keep the bags in. Totally useful!

Teah said...

And I don't know why everyone's getting in such a snit over the Box of Love! That's an awesome gift to get for someone you visit teach, or..people like that. A secret Santa gift? Part of the 12 days of Christmas? There are a lot of possibilities - I don't think anyone was suggesting that an empty box with a sappy poem was the only thing you present to to the love of your life on Christmas morning. Or a kid getting it for mom? Awesome!

Hollywood said...

Thanks for sticking up for me, Teah! Can't a girl have a heart? And thanks for the great ideas! I love the chocolate dipped spoon one.

So here's the new rule. You can only rip on the Box of Love if you leave a better homemade Christmas idea in the comment section.

Marie said...

I also would be a pretty ticked to get an empty box with a sappy poem. Where's my bubble bath? My scarf? My cheap slippers??? Sure, it's a great gift to give... but to receive? Nuh-uh.

Okay, a better home-made Christmas gift. I'm a big fan of compilation CD's myself. They can be made with popular songs from the recipient's senior year, or good work-out music, house cleaning music, parent-friendly kid music, etc. Takes a lot of thought but not a lot of money.

I could really use some heatsaver animals, I might make some for myself.

AOBrien said...

I always make choclate covered pretzels and attach a homemade ornament. They are so easy.Just melt caramel with some milk ( to thin it). Dip the pretzel rod in the carmel and let cool in the fridge. Then melt cholate and dip the carmel rod in it and cover the final product with crushed heath bars. So, easy and you can make tons of varieties. Shove them in some pretty cellophane and they look expensive. But, really they cost nothing!

Few ox said...

My mom does the spoon thing but with fudge.

I like the snowman poop. I'll have to do that, that's how poor I am!

And you'll have to tell me where to get Sparking Cider from. That would definitely make my night more romantic!

Jenny said...

My favorite gift idea is some kind of kit--we gave my best girl friend and her hunny a "honeymoon" kit for their wedding, with bubble bath, pizza coupons, candles, sparkling cider, a deck of cards, etc. I also do a movie night kit with a $5 blockbuster card, a couple packs of popcorn, and some candy, and of course it comes in a popcorn bowl...

Good ideas.

stephanie said...

I am not sure where you can find SPARKING cider.

stephanie said...

(sorry, I just had to do it:)

Hollywood said...

Thanks, Stephanie! I am the world's worst editor. Fixed.

Ha Ha you suckers said...

One of my favorite homemade gift ideas is very cheap, and very easy. My sister gave this to one of her friends when she was about 7(we still tease her about it now). Okay, so you just take a banana, peel the banana. eat the banana. now get what ever you can find to decorate the peel. And... WHALA! you have a very cheap eco friendly gift. this is a real pleaser;)

stephanie said...

I wasn't talking about you Hollywood. I was talking about Few ox.

Ha Ha you suckers said...

(not)

Ha Ha you suckers said...

Seriously, please do NOT I repeat NOT give this to your friends or family(even though I will probably give it to my sister:). It isn't very nice to receive a decorated banana peel for Christmas(or whatever holiday you celebrate that you get presents)

Hollywood said...

Are we going to start talking about bad presents? The banana peel one is pretty sweet. I have a few goodies.

One year for a White Elephant present I received a used, still wet from the shower, stick of deodorant. Last year I got a female catheter at a friend's White Elephant party. I'm hosting another one this year and can't wait to see what turns up. I'm fighting the urge to wrap up a wet diaper.

Anonymous said...

No, do a Poopy diaper;) (I know, I'm sick). Or you could do snowman poop.

Anonymous said...

Is this going to turn into something like the only anonymous comments post? If so, Let's do it!

GiftGuru said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GiftGuru said...

I kind of like the empty box idea, but it would only work on sweet grandparents or people who really aren't in the need of material possessions, which is rare these days.

My blog on kid crafts

Anonymous said...

Few ox, I think that you can find sparkLing cider at your local grocery store.

stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i think it is great for grandparents, parents etc. who think it is cute and lovely. But for teens and friends, its more like a funny gag gift, or just a cheap present a.k.a didn't have enough money to buy you a present!

Patricia Sheehy, author said...

I agree that an empty box, even filled with love, is not going to melt everyone, but the idea behind it should tell us something: a note expressing an honest sentiment will go a long way toward making every gift special. We don't have to spend hours looking for that "perfect" gift and we don't have to spend lots of money. The art in gift-giving comes with making the other person feel special. So, even a candle will do the trick, if you accompany it with a note that reads: whenever you light this, remember the light and love you've brought to my life over the years. Suddenly that small candle feels like a big and special gift! It's all in the note.
Holiday Blessings, Patricia
http://www.psheehy.com/

jrsjfry said...

I just found your site and I have a couple of ideas to add.
I am scouring the internet looking for christmas coloring pages that I will put into a home-made activity book for my girls.
I also made a X-mas treasure hunt with clues that take them all over the house. They will end up at the oven and look inside for their treasure...pre-made gingerbread house pieces that they can put together and decorate! Talk about making a reasonably small gift into an extra special experience!!!

Anonymous said...

holly crap, if you have never seen/had/heard off sparkling cider you are missing out...no offence.I am 15, and belive me,the box of love is a good gift for christ-loving grandparents,parents that favour the "baby" thats 6 years old, or think their kid can do no wrong. You really have to know the person you are giving it too.And dont let the kid deccorate the box, they ruin them.

kuke said...

The box of love thing is great for party favors! A place where I used to work did this for the company Christmas Luncheon (in addition to providing the meal and having presents for all employee's children, and a small financial token of their appreciation for the employees). There was one at every place setting. I thought it was really neat and still have mine that I put on the tree every year.

Kayla ;) said...

i think the box-o-love is super cute! i agree its cheap and i would give it to someone but that would not be their only gift! thats just extra sad if your THAT cheap. i would/will make some for my mom and grandma and give it to them after they open their real presents! its a cute way to let them know they mean something special to you! and its creative and better than the "to mom, i love you with all my heart..." on the card!! ps. the banana is the dumbest thing i have ever heard... i hope your sister slaps you accross your face with it! haha that would be the best!! haha

Kendra said...

I think the Box of Love is an adorable idea! Its not really meant for anyone over 12 to make it but its still avery cute idea.

Anonymous said...

I think the empty box one is cute, Im sure my parents would love getting it from my 2 year old son.

Anonymous said...

I think the empty box one is cute, Im sure my parents would love getting it from my 2 year old son.

tender hearted said...

i got the box of love from my mother n law a few yrs back , i was in my 30s and i loved the box of love . my daughter is 15 and i would still melt getting this from her. to many people are all in it for the money and the worldy things they can get . when it should be about the thought and love behind it .

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