12 Most Acceptable Homemade Gift Ideas

12 Most Acceptable Homemade Gift Ideas

Two things you should know: 1) it’s holiday shopping season and 2) you don’t have as much money as you wish you did. With that in mind, here are twelve ideas for homemade gifts that aren’t all that bad!

1. A mix tape for 2011

My husband and I used to make mix tapes for each other all the time. I’d create collections of songs that conjured up romantic destinations (like Ireland) or had a common theme like “dreams” or “destiny.” He would produce a tap with a purpose for me, like running or teaching me about a new genre in music. Either way, we used our brains to make something meaningful. Scan your online music library and put together a sweet playlist for loved ones.

2. Beauty on a budget

We all love looking good but expensive beauty treatments may be well beyond your budget. Hit the kitchen and whip up some homemade beauty products to pamper the people on your gift list! Grab some delicious recipes for lemon sugar hand scrub or pick something off this menu of items from Real Simple’s Beauty DIY. These are all-natural and keep the planet green (and the green in your wallet, too).

3. Green-cleaning gifts

If you have a neat-freak on your list, or someone you wish would just wipe down their counter, help them save the Earth and keep their house sparkling with homemade house cleaners. Organized home provides a recipe for a multi-use cleaning solution and 5 Dollar Dinners has a recipe for laundry stain removers. Want to take this gift to the next level? Toss in some handmade coupons that say YOU will actually use the products and do some of the cleaning!

4. For kids — mind-blowing art

Don’t buy new crayons this year. Gather all those broken bits and knock their socks off with amazing multi-colored CrazyMelts Crayons! Using a muffin tin and your oven, ADULTS can either combine colors for psychedelic results while those Type A folks can keep everything color-coordinated. Believe me, everything old is new again when kids see the make-over you give their out-dated art supplies.

5. For parents — a respite with reading

Snag some of the little ones’ favorite books and sit down in front of your laptop, desk top or smartphone and start reading. Create audio recordings of kids’ favorite books and make them available for iPods or burn them on to CDs for the more old fashioned families on your gift list. Buying audiobooks for kids is really expensive but they are such a great resource for families who need some downtime or who are planning to travel over the river and through the woods. This gift will be appreciated by all!

6. For kids & parents — t-shirt tote

Parents hang on to baby clothes longer than they should. Give them a cute way to hang on their favorite t’s even longer with this tote! Get a hold of some well-loved t-shirts that good little boys and girls have outgrown. Using pinking shears (to reduce fraying) trim off the sleeves and make the neck hole much wider leaving two handles. If you don’t have a sewing machine, use fabric glue and secure the bottom of the t-shirt closed. Voila! Adorable t-shirt tote at minimal cost that is actually made of something they love.

7. Creative clothing uses

Long before there was Etsy, people were crafting useful gifts for loved ones from old clothing. Some of the oldest examples are quilts. I’ve turned the interesting pattern of an old skirt into a piece of art by stretching it across a canvas frame. What’s in your closet that could become a sachet or fabric wreath? Find a fabric that evokes memories and moments that are meaningful for you and the lucky recipient of this very personal gift.

8. Nature lover

If you need to win the heart of a nature lover, look no further. Try your hand at homemade bird seed balls for the nature and garden enthusiast. If your recipient just can’t go anywhere without their dog, knock out a collection of homemade dog treats to show how much you care. For a real knock-out gift from someone who wants to be green all year long, aim high and construct a terrarium! This one is sure to capture the imagination of young and old, and anyone who’s read The Sound of A Wild Snail Eating!

9. Kitchen collection — for the cook

Do you know someone who just kills it in the kitchen? Compliment their culinary skills by providing some handcrafted ingredients from your own kitchen. Here’s a simple way to make homemade vanilla extract. It’s a little too late now to harvest from your outdoor herb garden, but if you keep an indoor one, take the time to dry some fresh herbs and present them in classic spice bottles for a definite homegrown flavor. Artistic bottle labels are a nice touch!

10. Kitchen collection – for the critic

If that special someone on your gift list is more of a food lover than a cook, it may be time to get in the kitchen and whip up your own holiday magic. Experiment with handmade truffles. Start with this easy recipe and don’t be afraid to think outside of the candy box. Not that into desserts? Try crafting some homemade butter and experiment with wild flavors! I use an old salsa jar when I make my own butter. It holds one container of heavy cream perfectly.

11. Home movies to DVD

Many homemade gifts require little or no financial investment, but this one requires a small cash outlay and a big gift of time. We’re in the digital age. It’s time to dig out the old VHS tapes from your childhood and convert them to DVD. Almost everyone nowadays has a DVD player. Take it a step farther and convert them to WMV so your retired parents can post their favorite family vacation videos on their blog!

12. Memory box

Homemade gifts don’t have to take a lot of money but they should show the time and attention you spent to create a special piece. A memory box, or shadow box, can really capture what is important in your relationship by displaying and preserving symbols of vacations, achievements, joys, and sorrows. I made one for my husband last year featuring all his medals from various races he won. They can be elaborate, enigmatic, simple or silly. What special elements would be in a shadow box for the one you love?

It’s the thought that counts. So start thinking about ways to show someone how you feel, what they mean to do, and why they are on your gift list in the first place!

Do you have any creative gift ideas that you would like to add to this list?

Featured image courtesy of asenat29 licensed via Creative Commons.

Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan


Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan is a writer and mother to three boys that are forced to endure her edible adventures weekly. Desserts are her speciality, as well as failed pancake experiments. Elizabeth writes the blog Try It & You May and Our Better Daycare. She also owns Sweet Tooth Communications, LLC. You can follow Elizabeth at @prbysweettooth and find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/SweetToothCommunications.

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