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7 Creative Homemade Holiday Gifts

cookie jar

NerdWallet strikes again with some DIY gift ideas to keep us out of the red this season!

Creative Homemade Holiday Gifts

Let’s face it: the holidays are expensive. Between paying for travel, hosting parties for family and friends, and buying festive décor, things can get pricey rather quickly. One way you can offset these expenses is with a special holiday savings account. But if you’re having trouble fitting gifts into the budget, don’t fret. There are many ways to give great gifts without entering into debt, for millenials and older generations alike. In fact, sometimes the best gifts don’t even come from the store, they’re the ones handcrafted with love.

Try out one, two or all seven of these do-it-yourself holiday gifts this year:

Recipe Frame

Did you and your grandmother always make a special kind of cookie together each holiday season when you were a kid? Or maybe your best friend has been begging you for your famous stuffing recipe since last year. In either case, handwrite the recipe and frame it. Simply get a picture frame with room for two pictures: one for the recipe and the other for a picture of you and the recipient together. Not only is it inexpensive, it’s much more meaningful than a generic off-the-shelf item.

Book Plates

Instead of getting a new novel for your bibliophile best friend, make them a set of bookplates—the stylish labels you put into a book. Veer away from the “This Book Belongs to [blank]” template and use clip art or maybe put in your own drawings to add a personal touch and help the bookplates stand out.

Monogrammed Serving Tray

Give your favorite hostess another reason to throw a party by gifting her with a hand-painted monogrammed serving tray this holiday. Use colors and patterns that match her home, of course incorporating her initials into the design mix. This one-of-a-kind piece can easily become a conversation starter at parties to come.

Holiday Beverage Sleeve

Give the gift of staying warm without burning your hands this holiday season. Why not take part of a holiday sock or other fabric and make a reusable sleeve for coffee mugs or cups? Cutting a 3-inch section from the garment should work, then embellish with buttons or holiday items and you’re set! The recipient can take it everywhere with them and think of you each time they use it.

Cookie Mix in a Jar

While baked goods are typically a much-appreciated DIY holiday gift, that idea has been a bit outdone. Go beyond giving the cookies—give the cookie jar. And instead of putting ready-made cookies, give just the dry ingredients so the recipient can make the cookies at their leisure—after all the other holiday sweets have gone. Finish off with a ribbon or bow instead of wrapping, to help reduce on paper waste.

Printed Candles

Giving generic candles is a tired idea, but when you add a personal touch, it’s a great way to create a memorable, yet inexpensive gift. Just purchase plain white candles, a washable black inkpad, and a few stamps with meaningful messages. Simply ink the stamps up and roll the candles over them to create unique, budget-friendly holiday gifts.

Fabric Covered Wooden Boxes

Everyone has a use for a good decorative storage container and they’re surprisingly cheap and easy to make! You’ll need wooden boxes, fabric, and spray-on adhesive to make a useful and much-appreciated holiday gift. All you have to do is cut the fabric to fit the box, spray the adhesive on and attach the fabric. So many holiday gifts fall out of use after the season is over, but this is one that will keep on giving throughout the year!

Don’t Break the Bank

You don’t have to go into credit card debt to get amazing holiday gifts for everyone on your list. Homemade holiday gifts are a refreshing alternative to generic store-bought items. They’re special, unique, and no one else has them! Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly crafty, there’s countless DIY holiday gifts that are secretly easy to make ─ even if they don’t look it. You might even be able to treat yourself to a post-holiday vacation with your savings (as well as helpful discounts from your local credit union).

What homemade gifts have you given in the past or tried this year? What is your favorite kind of homemade gift to receive?

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