Handmade gifts are a great way to spread holiday cheer while also saving money during the holidays. But let’s be honest — we’ve all received a handmade gift that only clutters up our closets. While the old adage “it’s the thought that counts” is true, whether or not the recipients will be able to use the gift is also important. With a bit of creativity, you can make gifts that are as thoughtful as they are practical.

Homemade Salt Scrubs


Salt scrubs have powerful cleansing and calming properties. Because of this, store-bought scrubs can be expensive. Luckily, you can give the spa lover in your life an affordable alternative with homemade salt scrubs. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Epsom salt, sea salt or ice cream salt
  • Essential oils
  • Food coloring
  • Mason jar

Simply mix the salt, essential oils, and food coloring until you get the hue you want. Choose a color that matches the scent, such as yellow for lemon, pink for rose, or green for mint. A mason jar is ideal for storing the salt scrubs, but any container that protects it from moisture will do just fine. Add a ribbon in a complementary hue and you’re good to go!

Baked Goods


Biscotti and Cookie Box. Photo by Jen Lutz

Stand out from the avalanche of store-bought sweets by giving out home-baked biscotti, cookies, or candies. For a Christmas gift your friends will want to eat rather than keep, here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Your favorite baked goods recipe
  • Cardboard box
  • Cardboard divider or inserts

Bake a batch of your favorite seasonal sweets and then package them in a cute box outfitted with cardboard dividers or inserts. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, make a few different recipes to create a variety pack of desserts for your friends. Give your gift box the finishing touch with a personalized card and a bow. If it’s not top-secret, you may even want to share the recipe!

Baked Clay Ornaments


Salt Dough Ornaments. Photo by Jen Lutz

Ornaments are always appreciated this time of year, and these baked clay beauties look a lot more difficult than they really are. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Salt, flour, and warm water
  • Rubber stamps
  • Cookie cutters
  • Yarn or twine for ribbons

Combine the flour, salt, and warm water to create a dough, and then flatten it with a rolling pin. Cut the dough with a cookie cutter to form different shapes and poke a hole in each of the cutouts for the ribbons. For the decoration, use different colored rubber stamps with seasonal images, like cardinals and snowflakes. Finish up by baking the ornaments and packaging them. These baked clay ornaments are perfect for any type of Christmas tree theme, so you may end up seeing them hanging on your friend’s home year after year.

Homemade Jam or Salsa


Homemade jams and salsas are an amazing way to capture the bounty of summer and fall, and they’re never more appreciated than in the dead of winter! Whether your specialty is raspberry jam, jalapeno jelly, or mango salsa, your recipients will appreciate the addition to their winter pantry. Pretty packaging goes a long way, so take the time to add a special touch to your offering with a piece of burlap or printed fabric, twine, and a personalized label.

Sharpie Mug


Make morning coffee and afternoon tea much more meaningful with these DIY Sharpie mugs. You can sketch intricate patterns, write simple one-liners, or simply put your friend’s name on the mug. Here are the items you’ll need:

  • White coffee mugs
  • Sharpies (different colors)
  • An oven

Once you settle on your design, carefully use the Sharpie to start drawing. When you’re finished, put the mugs in a 375 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.

DIY presents can be less expensive than store-bought items, but that doesn’t mean they should have less value. Make sure that you’re giving out gifts that are truly appreciated with these simple and practical ideas. Are there homemade gifts that you love receiving? Tell us what they are in the comments!

Jennifer Lutz is the home décor expert at www.christmastreemarket.com. Keep the holiday spirit bustling in your home with Jennifer’s ideas on tree decoration here.