California State University East Bay

Ten homemade holiday gifts

December 11, 2014

I am your stereotypical broke college student. I eat pasta, a lot of soup, and drink my coffee black because creamer is a delicacy.  As much as I love all things Christmas, part of me really dreads the holiday season. It means I get to toe this line of “Hm, should I buy everyone I love gifts, or should I feed myself during the holidays?”


Of course I always end up getting gifts for people. I normally pick up extra shifts at work and try to find most of my gifts on sale. But that doesn’t mean that come January my bank account hates me. In the last couple of years, I’ve tried to stay away from buying most of my gifts and moving towards the options of making them.


And I have realized that homemade gifts are awesome because:

  • They are cheaper than buying gifts at the store.
  • Making gifts in the comfort of your own home beats the rush of the Holiday shoppers at department stores.
  • Buying craft supplies goes a long way. Usually buying one item can help make multiple gifts.
  • Bragging rights. When you give your homemade item to someone and they say, “Woah! Where did you get this?” you get to nonchalantly respond, “Oh that? I made it.”
  • Even if you messed up the craft, you can cover your mistakes by saying, “It’s made with love!” No one can judge your gifts when you say it was made from love.


There’s a homemade gift for every type of person. Here’s a list of easy and cheap gifts you can make during the holiday season.

For the Techie: Dino Butt-Stand

Dino Tripod Title

(Source: Eat. Sleep. Make.)


Sure, you have two hands to hold up your phone. But how much better is it to have a dinosaur butt hold up your phone as you scroll through social media? The best part, you can find little dinosaur toys like this at the dollar store, usually getting four for $1. Buy some caulking ($3 – Home Depot) and suction cups ($5 for 12 – Amazon) an you’ve got yourself four gifts for under $10.


For the Coffee Enthusiast: Personalized Mugs


(Source: Glued To My Crafts Blog)


Not a coffee lover? Mugs are good for a ton of things: tea, hot cocoa, cereal or shots. Seriously, the possibilities are endless. This mug is easy and cheap to make. White mugs are $1 each at the dollar store and paint pens are around $12 (Paint Pens – Amazon). That means you can make eight personalized mugs for under $20. So if you give up five Starbucks Frappuccino’s for a week then you’ll save enough to make this gift!


For the Cold Weather lovers: A Cozy Scarf


(Source: Handimania)


Tell me a time when scarves were not in style. Scarves are always cool, specifically this one:

  • It takes 30 minutes to make
  • All you need for it is your hands and some yarn. (For a POUND of yarn its $12.00 at Wal-Mart)

This tutorial is for hand knitting. I’ve made multiple scarves this way, and I have no idea how to actually knit – it’s pretty simple.

Need more examples? Check out Simply Maggie’s tutorial as well.


For the Drink lover: Personalized Coasters


(Source : Attic Lace)


These coasters look store bought but they are super simple to make. You’ll need ceramic tiles (50 for $10 – Amazon), mod podge ($4 –Michael’s) and any picture you want to be displayed on the coaster. You can do cardboard cut outs like the photo above or you can use photos of friends as well!


For the friend that needs a Spa day: Sugar Scrub


(Source : Not Quite Susie)


Holidays also mean that finals are over. Why not gift you friends with a personal spa day. For this you’ll need some sort of container. Mason jars are great and cheap, I just bought 12 at Dales hardware for $9.99. The other ingredients you need are found at your local grocery store.


For the Chapstick-a-holic: Even more Chapstick!


(Source: Hip 2 Save)


This craft is for those who are comfortable cooking. You’ll need some Oils and bears wax. All of these items can be found at Whole foods. This one is a little more expensive, BUT it can make anywhere from 12-24 lip balms depending on how much chapstick you make. The tins that are used to package the chapstick are inexpensive. You can purchase one tin for .18 cents through Bulk Apothecary.


For the Foodie: Recipe in a Jar


(Source: Cul-de-sac-Cool)


  • Pick any holiday baked goods recipe. The easiest route is chocolate chips cookie.
  • Layer all the dry ingredients into a container. Mason jars are always a good choice.
  • Place a label on the jar with the directions on how to make the recipe.

Viola! You just gave your friend a holiday treat in a jar. Labels can be printed or hand written. If you want labels with a little more pizzazz check out Etsy for some fun ones.


For the Holiday Party: Peppermint Vodka


(Source : Betty Crocker)

This is probably the easiest thing to make on this list. You will need three things: vodka, candy canes and a jar. Put the candy canes into the jar, pour the vodka in, and then let it sit for a couple of days. Then you have some peppermint infused vodka, perfect for holiday parties! If you are struggling finding good containers for this project, Storables offers beautiful glassware that is reasonable priced.  (8 oz, airtight bottles for $2.95)


For the Netflix Lovers: Hot Chocolate Kit


(Source: Hoosier Homemade)


What’s better than a day snuggled up, watching Netflix, and enjoying some delicious hot chocolate? This gift is awesome, because all you need to do is buy the ingredients you would use for hot chocolate and then divide the ingredients, package them, ($2.99 for 6 plastic tubes – Hobby Lobby) then wrap them anyway you would like.


A gift for Everyone: Baked goods


(Source: Crème De la Crumb)


So you have those friends that you have absolutely no idea what to make them. For those friends, I make cookies for. Cookies are fantastic gifts:

  • You can make them in bulk
  • There are hundreds of different types
  • You can appease different dietary needs. There are cookie recipes for everyone!
  • There are tons of cookie tins that help dress up the gift.

Happy holidays and happy crafting!

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