Do you have neighbors? Teachers? Music instructors, coaches, church friends, a mail lady? Co-workers or a boss? We love to reach out in love to all these outside-our-family-but-still-precious-in-our-lives folks at Christmas time. But this can get so expensive and overwhelming so quickly!
So this is where I love to pull out the craft supplies and get gluey! Here’s a few simple and handmade gift ideas to get you going!
Baking is the easiest way to spread a lot of love and joy quickly and inexpensively. And it’s something that everyone in the family can get involved with!
A few suggestions:
- If you put nuts in it, put nuts on it.We just make sure to sprinkle the top of the finished product with a few chopped nuts to clue people in without writing danger signs all over the package.
- Think outside the cookie. Some of our easy favorites are microwave peanut brittle (quadruple the recipe, trust me!), homemade Chex mix (recipe is on the box), and any kind of “bark”. (Our favorite is to melt white chocolate and mix with dried cranberries, apricots, and chopped nuts.)
- Use local products. If you’re not into baking yourself, consider focusing on local specialties. We have an ah-mazing local bakery that makes these delicious, feed-a-family-of-five muffins. For quick gifts at Thanksgiving, I picked up one for each of the kids teachers’, stuck one of the shop’s business cards on the bottom, and wrapped it in cellophane with a lovely gift tag. Voila, lovely, tasty, under $5.
- It’s all about the package. The key to making a real gift out of food, is the wrapping. Use lovely ribbon, rustic twine, or glittery pipe cleaners to twist around brown paper, tissue, or plastic wrap. Attach a beautiful, handmade gift tag and folks might just leave it on their counter just to look at!
The simplest, least expensive gift becomes something special when you take the time to make it pretty. Your time becomes the gift!
A few simple ideas:
- Recycle for packaging. One, recycling is great for the environment. Two, it saves money. Three, there’s awesome stuff out there just going to waste! (Look at all these ways to take trash to treasure!) Some of my favorite ideas are to save Christmas cards to make gift tags, use leftover or thrifted seam binding and lace rather than new ribbon for tying, use book pages or sheet music for bags and envelopes, and use spare clothing buttons or miscellaneous jewelry as trim. I also reuse glass jars–everything from simple canning jars to recycled salsa jars–and refresh them with paper, mod-podge, ribbon, and trim.
- Buy large, cut small. I pick up cellophane gift basket wraps at our dollar store, 2/$1, and then cut them up into smaller pieces to wrap individual servings of baked goods. I can get 8 mega-muffins wrapped by cutting up 2 “gift basket” wrappers.
- Buy plain and decorate. I buy plain white or kraft-colored gift bags at the dollar store 3/$1 and then decorate them up with stamps, ink, ribbons, scrapbook paper, or old card fronts. (Like these baby gifts!)
- Make simple, reusable gift bags. Again, reusable is good for the environment, and it’s a gift that keeps giving. My kids still have their little party bags from Ruby’s birthday last year that they use in their dresser drawers to hide “treasures.” Here’s a really simple tutorial for smaller drawstring bags (this will be our party favor bag pattern in the future!) and one for larger bags. (BTW, these are absolutely beginner sewing projects, don’t be afraid to try them–or offer them to the littler seamstresses of your household!)
I enjoy sewing and paper-crafting more than baking, so I tend to want to create gifts at Christmas time and using baking for smaller, quicker holidays. Here’s a few of my favorite creative ideas for gifts. These are a little more involved time and resources wise, but still at a beginner’s level (Because let’s be honest, I’m still a beginner myself, not to mention a working, farming, momma. Everything I do has to be easy and fairly quick!)
- Fabric or paper-covered journals. I love doing mod-podge journals, but the fabric ones are also a great gift because they are re-usable. (Check out my Journaling board for tutorials on both.)
- Fun gift card holders. Instead of an envelope, how about a simple fabric stocking? Or tuck a fabric store gift card into a cute little owl pincushion! Or how about putting that Starbucks gift card in a latte! Here’s another lovely gift card holder–made from an old cereal box! (There’s a bunch more fun ideas pinned to my Handmade Gifts board.)
- Tote bags. Any size, any shape, these are easy and fun to make and it’s all about the fabric! This is one of my favorite gifts to give. Perfect alone, or with a special gift inside, like the tote I made for my sister.
- Wallets, clutches, and card holders. These are one-step up in difficulty, but not that hard, and they’re a good way to use smaller pieces of fabric. Here’s a simple mini-organizer with a little pen loop. Here’s an easy credit card holder, and an easy ladies wallet/clutch tutorial.
- Aprons, dish towels, and pot holders. These can be as easy or difficult as you’d like. Here’s a super simple classic apron pattern from Michael Miller Fabrics. (I’ve got a bunch of sites with 100s of free patterns pinned to my Sewing board!)
These are all projects that I keep on my to-go list for gift giving. And this Christmas, the Ladybug and I will be working together to knock out our “sharing the love” gift list.
What are your favorite from the heart and home gifts?