While there are so many stores to choose from with holiday sales galore, a great alternative to buying a gift for your loved ones is making one – homemade Holiday gifts can be the best kind of gift. They can especially help take some of the holiday shopping stress out of your way. Not to mention, a lot of love goes into the creation of homemade gifts, making the experience that much better for the giver and receiver of the gift. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to create something special. There are plenty of unique yet easy homemade gift ideas for every person on your list. Here are just a few you can try out.

Ideas:

1. Homemade Playdough –

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Food coloring by drops

Directions:
1. Place all contents in a pan and stir.
2. Cook over low heat, stirring until a ball forms.
3. Add food coloring and mix thoroughly until desired color.
4. Cool on foil then store in a covered container.

2. Recipe Book –
Items:
Favorite recipes of yours, friends & family
Colored construction paper
Paper hole puncher
String
Glue
Index cards

Directions:
1. Write out your favorite recipes on index cards (1 recipe per index card), or type them up on your computer and print
2. Glue index card onto sheet of colored construction paper
3. (repeat steps 1 & 2, depending on how many recipes you would like in the book)
4. Stacked together, punch 3 holes at the edge of the construction paper
5. Cut 3 short pieces of string/yarn and put 1 through each hole
6. Tie each string so your recipe book is now bound together
[Optional: include a photo with each recipe]

3. Festive Homemade Fudge –

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of butter
1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
3 cups of semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red & green decorative sugar
Red Twizzlers Pull-n-Peel cherry licorice
PAM Cooking Spray

Directions:

1. Coat an 8-inch square pan with PAM cooking spray. Then line the pan with waxed paper, letting it hang several inches over opposite sides.

2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir in condensed milk and heat briefly. Then add the chocolate morsels, letting the mixture stand over very low heat for several minutes until morsels are melted, stirring only 2 or 3 times.

3. Remove the fudge from the heat and add the walnuts and spice drops, vanilla extract, and salt.  Stir briefly to blend. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan then spread evenly with a spoon, smoothing the top.

4. Cool the fudge on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Then transfer the pan into the fridge.  Chill the fudge, uncovered, until it is firm (3 hours or overnight).

5. Remove fudge from pan, peel wax paper and cut fudge into squares (sizes can be varied).

6. Cover each side of the fudge square with decorative sugar.  Cut long piece of red licorice and wrap it around the square.  Tie the licorice ends in a small bow on top of the square.

7. Transfer the mini fudge gift boxes to a tin or container.  Keep them chilled until given to gift recipient. [Recipe makes approx. 2 dozen pieces]

While these are only 3 ideas, the internet has a vast pool of resources where you can find many homemade gift ideas. I have listed a few below.  Or, if you’re up for it, try to think of some creative ideas on your own. The best part about homemade gifts is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money if you already have the tools and ingredients you need at home.  And if you don’t, bargain stores like Wal-Mart, Michael’s, and Marshalls, are great places to find affordable items you could use to make the perfect gift.  Putting a lot of thought and time into something for someone you love radiates a very giving spirit, and should be embedded in all of us this holiday season as well as all year round.

Online Sources:

  1. http://www.marthastewart.com/275134/handmade-gifts-for-her/@center/307035/santas-workshop (with links to Handmade Gifts For: Him, Baby, Kids & Pets/Pet lovers)
  2. http://instoresnow.walmart.com/article.aspx?center=decorating&id=80790
  3. http://www.michaels.com/Handmade-Christmas-Ornaments/e07341,default,pd.html