The best gift is something that is given from the heart. It could be pricey or cheap, if it expresses your thoughtfulness, it will be treasured. Homemade gifts are one of the best ways to express your love and they are, in most cases, cheaper too. I have compiled a list of homemade gifts from around the web and friends/family. If you already have a list of gifts ready for your recipient and started working on homemade gifts half way through the year, great, you have done very well. Use these ideas to find inspirations for what to do for next year. If you have not, there are a lot of ideas that require less time. Browse through this and you might hit the jackpot. I have grouped them by the recipient’s nature. But please browse through all of them as many of the gifts are easily customizable for anyone.
For the decorator
Giving a readymade center piece or art piece is a bad idea for a decorator who would like to decorate every inch of their home according to their taste. What you could try is
1. Scented potpourri : If you know the scent they like, you could make this or try to make a generic holiday scented potpourri. Here are some recipes – Potpourri recipes
2. Hurricane lamps : This puts together a basic hurricane lamp. The gift recipient can do minor changes to change the theme. Example : Dollar store version of William Sonoma Hurricane lamp. The recipient can easily change the decor of the hurricane lamp based on season (berries in December, autumn leaves in fall, fresh green leaves for summer, etc.)
3. Decorator gift basket : You can put together some necessary items for the decorator instead of giving a specific item they will be forced to display. Put together a gift basket with safety pins, planner, scissors, rulers and any other items that a decorator might use. You can also add a subscription to a home decoration magazine or the local craft supplies store. Gifts for decorator from Associate content
4. Decorative pillar candles : Create decorative decal pillar candles and matching match boxes. Find the instructions here @ Martha Stewart.
For the chef
The possibilities are endless when it comes to food related items.
5. Family Cookbook : Spend sometime with all the relatives of the gift recipient and put together a family cookbook with those secret ingredients and tips/tricks. Hand written would work great and will be treasured too! If you want to make it look really professional you could try Taste Book.
6. Utensil Holder : Who wouldn’t like to be more organized. For a personal touch in the kitchen try a home made utensil holder that will serve the chef well. Utensil Holder tutorial : Keep it simple.
7. Recipe/ingredients from around the world collection : This is a variation of the family cookbook. Instead of the family recipes, you could put together recipes from all over the world and also buy the ingredients for a couple of recipes and pack them together so that they won’t have to go looking for exotic spices.
8. Cookie cutter Kit : Make your own cookie cutters in some fun shapes that are not normally available in the store. Create your own custom cookie cutters. The kids will love your gift.
9. Spice Sampler : Collect different ethnic spices and put them in a set of pretty vintage cans or mason jars. You can check this William Sonoma Spice collection for spice ideas but buy them at a bulk store instead of the pricey WS tubs.
10. Gourmet Salt assortment : Collection of a variety of unique salts. This can also be bought in bulk and put together into different gift baskets. Where to buy Gourmet Salt?
11. Kitchen Apron : Show your love for the chef with a custom made kitchen apron. Lot of ideas for patterns and DIY instructions available on the internet. 50 Free Apron patterns that you can make.
12. Kitchen towel pillow cases : If the chef likes kitchen themed items in the bedroom or living room, make pillow cases out of inexpensive kitchen towels.
For the food connoisseur
13. Coffee Lovers gift basket : Gourmet coffee is a terrific idea for coffee lovers, but these gift baskets from Star Bucks or Dunkin Donuts are expensive. You can make a great gift basket very inexpensively. How to make coffee lovers gift basket
15. Homemade sauces : Make a big batch of your favorite sauces, pack them in nice jars and share with your friends. Recipes for variety of homemade sauces.
16. Homemade Jellies or jams : If you are someone with a green thumb and you just harvested a lot of fruits, can them, make jam and/or jellies. These make a great gift for anyone. 101 Homemade jams, jellies and marmalade recipes.
17. Or combine a lot of homemade holiday goodies and make a treat platter. Any of your special cooking skills will be great.
18. Holiday Drink mixes : Spread cheer with batches of homemade cocktail mixers. Decant them into decorative bottles, available at home stores and add a label with drink recipes and storage instructions. Holiday drink mixes – Martha Stewart
For the Gardener
19. Vintage garden markers : I would love to get some of these Convert your old silverware or other tools into vintage garden markers. Spoon Herb Markers
20. Garden stepping stone : Home made garden stepping stones are a great way to personalize a garden. They are easy and fun to make. Make your own garden stepping stone.
21. Garden lover gift basket : If you know your gardener well and know what tools he/she has, then put together a gift basket that has the tools that they don’t have but would love to have. Ideas on what to include.
22. Garden tool belt : Gardeners move around a lot, carrying a basket might not be convenient for some people. Create a crafty tool belt to hold all their tools. Step-by-step instruction on how to make a craft tool belt.
23. Custom planters : Show your artistic side and create custom planters, it can be anything from small painted boxes for seed starters or sake-box planters. Instructions for sake box planters.
24. Potted Plants : If you are a gardener yourself and have a plant that the gift recipient would like, create a cutting and start the plant. You can include the caring instructions and gift it. You can always decorate the pot for an added personal touch.
For green folks
25. Green starter kit : If you have someone who is thinking about going green, this could be a good gift idea. Fill a reusable tote bad with eco-starter items – Water bottle, CFL bulbs, shower timer, may be some green cleaning solutions (laundry, dish soap), cloth napkins, etc. Some other ideas : The greener perspective gift basket : Treehugger
26. Reusable grocery bad : You can find a lot of vintage fabrics in the thrift stores. With minimal sewing skills you could make wonderful grocery bags. DIY grocery tote bag from a tote bag activist.
For the kids
27. Advent Calendar : You could create a countdown to Christmas advent calendar for kids or for their birthday or for adults make it a family themed advent calendar. Here are some ideas – matchbox advent calendar, envelope advent calendar. Instructions for the matchbox advent available here.
28. Tie dyed t-shirts : These could get messy but the kids will love them. How to tie dye t-shirts.
29. Stuffed animals : Almost every kid loves stuffed animals. A lot of adults love them too. Here is a stuffed pig from Martha Stewart.
30. Folk rag doll : Make a traditional folk rag doll for little girls – instructions.
31. Photo Snow Globes
32. Silk scarf : A nice silk scarf will be appreciated by any fashionista. Instructions
33. Ornamental Jewel box : You can make a jewelry organizer out of simple cork board or buy a plain jewel box (or make one from the scratch) and decorate it.
34. Spa set : Put together a gift basket of home made soap, bath salt, bath bubbles and some candles to make a spa set.
35. Eye pillows : Create different aromatic eye pillows like this one – DIY lavender eye pillow.
36. Jewelry : Make a unique jewelry reflecting the recipients style. How to make simple drop earrings.
37. Coasters : Based on the interest of the recipient, you can create coaters to make a variety of people very happy. Map coasters for avid traveler, coasters with baby pics for new dad, etc.
38. Tip book : A collection of instructions from the elders in the family will make a great gift for a DIY’er.
For new parents
39. Scrapbooking kit : If they don’t already have one, this is a great gift for new parents to preserve the memories of their precious little one. How to put together a scrapbooking kit
40. ‘No cook’ food baskets : Make batches of items that the new parents can just heat-and-eat or something that takes very little time. With their busy schedules they will love your thoughtfulness. You can make your own recipes or put together the heat-and-eat stuff from Trader Joes or other ethnic stores.
41. New baby gift basket : Any new parent will gladly accept stuff that will make their lives easier. Put together a practical gift basket or a themed gift basket. 3 Easy DIY Baby gift baskets.
42. Gift of time : This is a terrific gift for anyone, not just new parents, but new parents will appreciate it more than anyone else I guess. Give them your time – offer to baby sit or cook or help around the house… whichever task that will give them some time.
43. Diaper bag : If you can sew you can make a diaper bag with a personalized pattern and initials. You could also add compartments that you found useful that are not generally available in the standard diaper bags. Fabric diaper bad pattern.
For book lovers
45. Bookmarks : These are very simple to make and very inexpensive. Make it funny, sentimental, geeky, crafty, add a message, photo… Here is an example DIY paper bookmark.
46. Journal/Dust Cover : Make your own journal cover and customize it. You can buy a journal to go with this and add your own quotes to it. Journal cover tutorial.
47. Heirloom photo ornaments : Give handcrafted photo ornaments as gifts or make them to decorate your own holiday tree. DIY Photo Ornaments
48. Photo Calendar : Compile the grandkids and sons/daughters photos and make a photo calendar. You can either do the whole calendar at home or upload the photos and use one of the online photo printing services to create yours. Shutterfly wall and desk calendars.
49. Photo books : You can compile all the photos and make professional looking photo books online.
50. Refrigerator magnets : Grandparents can’t get enough of their grandkids, make these photo refrigerator magnets to fill their fridge with cool photos. Fun DIY refrigerator magnets.
51. Photo Cubes Simple, cheap frameless photo cube.
52. Make a video : Make a video of you, your spouse and the kids. General everyday life, play time and a few words about the grandparents, they will love it.
53. Silhouette picture : Instead of framing a regular picture create a frame with a silhouette picture, they are nice, different and interesting. How to make Silhouette portraits.
There are numerous gifts-from-photos like mouse pads, mugs, home decor, playing cards that the grandparents would treasure. They are easy and inexpensive to make.
Apparently people give gifts to pets. I don’t have a pet and I have no idea what a pet would like (if I were a [dog name] I would love some treats though). Here are some of the ideas I found online. If you have ideas please comment, I will add it here crediting to you.
55. Pet tag : Create a customized tag for your pet. Here are some instructions from Martha Stewart for pet ID tags.
56. Pet Collars : These are simple to make and can be created from a different variety of materials – fabric, leather, crochet. Here is a DIY trendy pet collar.
For someone who has it all
57. Tea cup candles : These are a variation of decorative candle holders. Find a great tea set that the gift recipient would like and make it a candle. Kate’s DIY tea cup candles. These look great.
58. Pin Cushion : This could be an ideal gift for a crafter or someone who sews. For others it could be used as a paper weight or just a squeeze ball. Here are 60+ free patterns for making a pin cushion.
59. Movie Lover pack : Get the unrestricted movie tickets from Costco or any warehouse club or from the theatre itself and add a gift card for snacks. Or try one of these Top ten gift ideas for movie lovers.
60. Personalized towels : Everyone can use more towels. Embroider the towels with a monogram to make it personal. If you don’t sew, that is ok as well. Try this – No Sew personalized towels.
61. Homemade Bath Salt : Fragrant bath salt recipes are easy and inexpensive to make. Here are some homemade bath salt recipes. These are ideal gift-in-a-jar.
62. Song Collection : Find their favorite band/songs and create a homemade disk with a collection of those. You could also add the lyrics or trivia about the songs/band if the recipient is very much into music.
63. Homemade soap, lip balms 41 pampering spa gifts to make from Tipnut.
64. Cell phone/IPod cases : You could make cute cases out of vintage fabric or themed fabric. Examples
65. Quilts : A simple no sew quilt instruction – How to create a tie quilt. You can make a holiday themed or any themed quilt.
66. Homemade beaded candles : Very simple and professional looking. Instructions here.
67. Holiday pot holders : Who wouldn’t like a beautiful pot holder? Here are the instructions for making Christmas themed pot holders. Here is a big list of different pot holder patterns from around the web – Tipnut potholder patterns.
68. Make a book about their loved one : If you know someone who lost a loved one, this could be a great gift. Collect photos, journals, notes and letters of that special person and make a custom book, like a scrap book.
For frequent travelers
70. Fabric luggage tags : Make a personalized luggage tag for the frequent traveler to easily identify their bags. Fabric luggage tags.
71. Travel pillows : With the airlines nickel and diming travelers for everything, a cute little pillow will be a great gift for the frequent flyer in your list. How to make a pretty travel pillow.
For the busy mom
72. Stress balls : Give the mom a squeezable stress ball that she can relieve her tension with Make your own stress balls.
73. Birthday and Anniversary Calendar : Everyone is busy these days, esp. a mom. Create a personalized calendar with the gift recipient’s loved one’s birthdays and anniversaries marked along with some photos. Make your own birthday and anniversary calendar.
74. Manicure & Pedicure : If you are good at doing these, it will be a welcome gift by the busy mom.
Other ideas include customized jewelry for moms, homemade perfume set and of course your gift of time. Busy moms love anything that saves them time.
75. Desk Organizer : Make a simple organizer from recycled video sleeves. How to make a Desk organizer
76. Books /magazine/comics/workbook bins: Or any type of storage containers using different boxes and creativity. Example : Cereal box storage bins from Urban Nest
77. Craft/Stationary bucket : In lot of school districts, the teachers buy their stationary and teaching supplies. So it could be a great to put together a craft or stationary basket.
Themed gift baskets & gifts in a jar
I have included at least one gift basket in each section, but a gift basket can be made for any one, even the hard to please recipients – sports themed, pet themed, food themed, romantic, country themed, movie themed, you can create endless personalized gift baskets.
The same goes with gifts in a jar, you can make a variety of gifts in a jar based on the recipients’ interest – Here are 48 Homemade gift ideas in a jar to jump start your creativity.
General ideas : Any craft/knit work – placemats, sweaters, ponchos, socks, mittens, scarf, wall hangings, etc. and any consumables – baked food, preserves, drinks, etc. could be a great gift for the right recipient.
Great gift ideas from other bloggers
- A DIY Christmas : 34 great home made gifts to make
- The Simple Dollar homemade gift series
- 50 Homemade gift ideas from around the web
- 9 Homemade Christmas Presents and Gifts Ideas
- 50 Homemade Christmas Gifts and Other Personalize Gift Ideas
- Holiday Gift Guide, Part 4: Frugal Homemade Gifts
- Holiday Gifts: 10 Frugal and Homemade Gift Ideas
- 28 Thoughtful Homemade gift ideas
I will keep adding to this list as I find more ideas. If you have a favorite homemade gift, I would LOVE to hear about it. Either just an idea or instruction or a blog post of yours, I will add it here with due credit. Please leave a comment or shoot me an email.