Who’s on your gift list this year? Between your significant other, your kids, your parents, your co-workers, and everyone else who might be on your list, you’ve probably got quite the shopping list, but all of these presents can add up to a significant hit to your checking account. Thankfully, it really is the thought that counts, not the amount of money you spent on the gift: Homemade gifts are incredibly charming, and they’re usually much less expensive, too. Be warned, though, that the cost of craft supplies can add up fast, so it’s a good idea to lean toward ones that use materials you already have on hand or can easily get at the dollar store. Also, look for projects that use skills in your wheelhouse. For instance, if you’re not great at knitting but are a genius in the kitchen, stick with cookies, not scarves.
- Chocolate Toffee:
Edible gifts are always a great idea. A lot of people just don’t need more stuff cluttering up their house, but holiday treats can be enjoyed without adding to the stash! Also, if you make something super-yummy, it can become a holiday staple and solve a lot of gift-giving dilemmas year after year. The biggest trick to successfully making this toffee is constant whisking to help the sugar and butter meld together. Other than your time, this recipe calls for butter, sugar, vanilla extract, kosher salt, semisweet chocolate chips, toasted chopped almonds, toasted chopped pecans, and sea salt. When you’re done, make your homemade treats seem even more special with festive packaging. Hit up the dollar store for great tins, boxes, and other containers to make your gifts look as delectable as they taste.
- DIY Animal Memo-Holders:
Need a gift for your coworkers? These fantastic memo-holders make for stylish desk decor and are an excellent gift. Hit up the dollar store for a collection of plastic animals. You’ll also need a drill, a small dowel, alligator clips, super glue, and paint. Drill a small hole in the animal’s back, drop in some super glue, and insert the dowel. Then, glue the alligator clip to the dowel. Next, spray-paint them! White or gold fits the current aesthetic, but use whatever color you prefer. It’s that easy.
- DIY Mint Sugar Scrub:
A simple DIY sugar scrub gets an easy holiday upgrade that turns into the perfect gift. You’ll need air-tight jars, coconut oil, sugar, peppermint extract, and green food coloring. Warm the coconut oil up in the microwave for 20 seconds, and add a cup and a half of sugar, a few drops of peppermint extract, and a few drops of green food coloring. Stir until the mix is evenly green and appears well-mixed. If your scrub is still wet, add sugar until you achieve the consistency you want. Then, spoon it into a jar! Add a festive ribbon or label for an extra-special touch.
- Fabric-Covered Christmas Tree Ornaments:
Ornaments are a lovely Christmas gift, and homemade ornaments are even more special. These ornaments are incredibly easy to make, too! You’ll need cardboard Christmas ornaments (carried at craft stores), fabric, Mod Podge (or similar glue), a pencil, a sponge brush, and scissors. Place your fabric upside-down on a table, and then place an ornament on top. Trace the shape of the ornament onto the fabric. Cut the fabric. Paint the Mod Podge or glue onto the ornament, and press the material into the glue. Once the fabric is attached, go over the edges of the fabric with more adhesive to prevent fraying.
- Gingerbread Body Butter:
Here’s an easy gift that doesn’t require any special skills and will be an excellent gift for a variety of people on your list (family members, teachers, friends, etc.). Even better, you probably already have most of the items to make this holiday-scented body butter on hand. You’ll need shea butter, coconut oil, ground ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Heat the shea butter and coconut oil together in a saucepan on low heat, and then refrigerate it for about 20 minutes. After removing the pan from the fridge, use a hand mixer to add in the ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla and whip the butter into a delightful texture. Divide it into air-tight jars. Mason jars are great for this. Want to level up this gift? Make cute labels.
- Hot Cocoa Party Favors:
Not a crafty person? Not to worry! Hot cocoa party favors are a super-easy, fast, inexpensive gift. Finding test tubes will be the most challenging part of this craft! Get plastic tubes to avoid breakage and make this a super-kid-friendly craft. The only other supplies you’ll need are decorative twine, a tablespoon, hot chocolate mix, a funnel, and mini-marshmallows. Use a funnel to add three tablespoons of cocoa mix to the test tube, then top with the marshmallows, put in the stopper, and tie the twine around the top of the test tube. Want to make the gift even more special? Put a couple of tubes in a Christmas mug.
- Simple DIY Scarf:
Have a sewing machine? Put it to good (and quick and easy) use with this great, simple, cheap scarf that’s perfect for the fashionistas in your life. You’ll need two yards of gauzy fabric, lace trim, and pins and thread. Cut your fabric into a 3-foot-by-1-foot rectangle. Pin the trim to the edge of the material. Attach it permanently using the top-stitch function of your sewing machine. Add more trim throughout the scarf to personalize the design.
- Sugar Cookie Sack:
Want to give Christmas cookies without the hassle of baking? Try these cookie sacks! Assembling this gift is even easier if you buy a cookie mix. Then, it’s as simple as creating a bag out of inexpensive fabric with simple straight-stitching, printing out baking instructions, and decoratively tying the bag. Tying a wooden spoon, cinnamon sticks, or sprigs of mistletoe to the bag can add a special touch to the gift.
- Watercolor Planters:
Houseplants are more popular than they’ve been since the 1970s, so capitalize on the trend with a gift that’s perfect for your friends and family with a green thumb. Fancy planters are costly, but these planters look like they came straight from a plant influencer’s Instagram account (yes, that’s a thing). Key to saving money on this pricey-looking craft is using unwanted bottles of nail polish as the paint. Grab some inexpensive terra-cotta pots, a sponge paintbrush, bonding primer, white acrylic paint, a bucket, nail polish, and a stirrer. You’ll start by priming the outside and inner rim of your pots. Follow with two coats of white paint. Let your pots dry for a day or so. Then, fill the bucket with enough water to cover one of your pots and pour about a quarter of a bottle of nail polish onto the surface of the water. Use your stirrer to stir the paint film around. Dip your pot into the paint film at an angle and rotate it. Then, set the pot upside-down to dry. After a day or so, coat it with water seal to protect the paint.
During the holidays, every penny counts, and sticking to one’s budget is incredibly important. When budgeting, though, it is very difficult to account for unexpected emergencies. To help make ends meet, there are many different lending solutions that may be available to you. Personal loans and title secured loans are only a few of the options that may be helpful to you when trying to cover the expenses of an unexpected emergency during this holiday season.