Homemade Gifts

I used to struggle in trying to find a gift for the person who has everything. How many times do you ask a friend or loved one what they would like for Christmas or a birthday and their response is: “I don’t need anything”? Well, of course they don’t NEED anything. When you become an adult, if you really need something, you go out and buy it yourself. This is why I now tend to lean toward investing in experiences or homemade gifts. I’ve included 6 quick reasons to DIY for a memorable gift as well as 3 gifts I’ve made in the past.

  1. They are one of a kind - just like no two snowflakes are alike…no two gifts are the same.
  2. They are personal - you can tailor this specifically to one person making it unique to the individual.
  3. They are crafted with love - you can’t put a price on your time and energy.
  4. They can be fun to make - they can be a great holiday de-stressing activity.
  5. They are stash-able - you can create in bulk so that you have a few extra for birthdays/anniversaries/housewarming parties/etc.
  6. They may save you money - depending on what you make, you may be able to save some money if your supplies are not pricey. 

***A word of warning: My Grandma told me not to give anyone something I wouldn't like to receive myself. I think this is a great rule of thumb with handmade gifts. If it's not something you would truly enjoy receiving, then you shouldn't gift it to someone.

Below are 3 holiday gifts that I have made in the past that were hits! I’ll share this year’s craft…but you’ll have to wait until January.

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Gingerbread Ornaments

These smell heavenly and are pretty fool-proof. You don’t have to be an artist if you purchase cutouts. Get creative! You can make angels, candy canes, mittens, reindeer, Santa’s, stars, Christmas trees, gingerbread (wo)men — the sky is the limit!

Supply List:

  • 1/2 cup of glue
  • 2 cups of applesauce
  • 2 cups of cinnamon
  • Puff Paint
  • Rolling Pin
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Parchment Paper
  • Straw
  • String

Instructions:

  • Mix the wet glue and applesauce together
  • Add cinnamon until you have most of the ingredients mixed into a dough
  • Roll dough onto parchment paper (if dough is sticky, add more cinnamon on top)
  • Place your cookie cutters on the flat dough and set cookies to the side
  • Pierce a hole in each cookie using a straw
  • Allow ornaments to dry (you will know they are dry when they have a uniform color, and are dry to the touch)
  • Decorate using paint and thread a string through the hole to make a loop for a hook
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Limoncello

My mom is Italian and every Christmas Eve she outdoes herself and makes a HUGE Italian feast. Every year we have limoncello with our dessert. Last year, my husband and I surprised my mom and made a big batch of homemade limoncello for the whole family. You can steal our tradition….

Ingredients: 

  • 10 lemons
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka (use good vodka…a lot of recipes call for Everclear. I would advise against using that). 
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

Instructions: 

  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). 
  • Trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. 
  • Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. 
  • Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. 
  • Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.
  • Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. 
  • Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. 
  • Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. 
  • Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. 
  • Transfer the limoncello to bottles. 
  • Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.
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Terrarium

A terrarium is the perfect gift for space-starved folks craving a patch of greenery in their homes or offices who do not want to pick up a hoe. These low-maintenance, tidy little gardens in jars are great reminders to remain present and connect with your living space.

Step 1: Gather your materials. Wide-mouth glass jars or jars with removable lids are easy to work with. Choose whatever materials you want: rocks, charcoal, potting soil, sand, succulents, small plants, moss, etc. to name a few. 

Step 2: Place rocks at the bottom of the glass container for drainage. The larger the container, the thicker the rock layer. Leave enough space at the top so the terrarium appears spacious.

Step 3: Add a layer of charcoal to absorb moisture and excess water. The charcoal layer also helps to keep plants from rotting.

Step 4: Layer the potting soil deep enough to cover the plant roots. Call your local nursery for soil recommendations.

Step 5: Start adding plants! Begin with larger succulents and then tuck smaller ones in to fill in the gaps.

Happy Gifting!

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Meghan Ann Martin