Our favorite homemade gifts don’t have to take forever to make, and they don’t have to cost a fortune. We have actually given or received all of these, and you don’t have to have a lot of talent to create them. So as the clock ticks toward Christmas and your shopping budget dwindles, consider making one or more of these:
* Christmas ornaments—Tiny green handprints in a circle make a pretty “wreath.” Cut out the inside and insert a picture of the little artist. Or you can stack green buttons on a string, largest to smallest, and top with a star. If you’re not creative, you can find lots of other ornament ideas on Pinterest.
*Meals in a jar–Make some from storage ingredients; include a rehydration recipe attached with ribbon. These are even perfect for expectant mothers at baby showers.
*Baked goods—Does anyone else have shredded zucchini in the deep freeze? Wrap specialty breads or cookies in plastic wrap and tie with a bow. I often include the recipes, as well.
*Coupon books—I know, it’s cheesy, but my kids are more likely to give me a few minutes of quiet time if I’m cashing in a “coupon.” They also LOVE redeeming coupons for “eat dessert first,” when they don’t love dinner or “free room cleaning” when they’re feeling overwhelmed. (Don’t squeal, but it gives me a free pass to ditch broken toys and incomplete puzzles.) Be creative! Print on cardstock and slip into stockings. Your husband might even think he’s getting a treat when he cashes in on “date night.”
*Stepping stones—One plastic mold and some fine grain cement made lasting gifts for all the grandparents and great-grandparents one year. Add a kiddo handprint or painted artwork.
*Recipe collection—At my bridal shower my mother-in-law presented me with a card file full of my husband’s favorite meal recipes. She even photocopied the ones in her mother’s handwriting! And while some of them aren’t my favorites, I cherish being able to carry on family traditions—especially using recipes and methods that may otherwise have been lost to posterity.
*Flower pots—Kiddo thumbprints and a sharpie make bumblebees, ladybugs, and flower petals. With or without a plant already inside, these pots were really “thumb-thing” special.
*Photo mats—We bought a 16×20 frame and a mat with an 8×10 opening, then put all the grandkids’ handprints directly on the mat. A cousin wrote their names in calligraphy, but kids old enough to write can contribute their own precious penmanship.
Other gifts you might have the time or talent for by next Christmas:
*Quilts—After her sister passed, Grandma found several quilt tops in a cedar chest. She and her remaining sister hand-quilted one of them and gave to me as a wedding gift. It has embroidered blocks of the states and their state birds. The catch? When Aunt Barbara made the top, there were only 48 states. I admire those of you with this skill!
*Cross-stitch—My sister has a lot more patience and talent than I do. Several beautiful pieces adorn our walls. (As a side note, one year she made minty hot chocolate mix in jars and put a cross-stitched snowman just under the lip of the band. We later turned that into an ornament for the tree.)
*Family tree—Grandma copied all her research (including photographs!) in her own beautiful script. Simply priceless.
*Paintings—Mom took a class at the local college and gave her paintings away. My daughter still hopes she might inherit or develop that ability (and insists on having one in her own room).
*Step stool—One year the family’s handiest man built one for my 3-year-old to reach the bathroom sink. At 7, she still uses it to help in the kitchen. (I even use it to reach Tupperware on the top shelf.)
*Scrapbooks—I scrapbook for my own kids, but I also made a book that just needed photos for each niece and nephew. They were perfect shower gifts! They have a way to display photos through that precious first year of life without all the time and expense (neither of which a busy mom has in excess). It’s neither quick nor easy, but those books were pretty special gifts.
I don’t do Pinterest because of my obsessive personality. I’m afraid I’d never get anything else done. But I’d love to hear your quick and easy ideas for thoughtful, homemade gifts!