With two weeks until Christmas, we’ve got plenty of ideas for presents to get our two girls.
Ideas for what we can get them, ideas we’ve given to grandparents – so many ideas we’ve already got enough for next Christmas. And the list? All store-bought. No handmade, heartfelt DIY Christmas gifts to speak of. Oops.
Then this morning while I was putting away our 6-year-old Abby’slaundry, I noticed Christmas presents from last year neatly stacked inthe corner of her closet. They haven’t been touched since last December.
Not because Abby didn’t enjoy last year’s presents. She did.
It’s just too much for a kid. I know because a few weeks ago, Abbytold me. She said when she goes into her room, she doesn’t know what toplay with because there’s too much to choose from.
What’s the point of spending all this time and money on buying more and more stuff, only to have it sit in a closet for a year (or more) until we get fed up with the clutter and donate it all to charity?
Call me Scrooge if you want, but the whole situation has me yearning for something a little more meaningful this holiday season.
But Here’s the Problem
When I search Pinterest for “DIY Christmas gifts,” I’m confronted with a harsh reality.
You, too, can make this precious personalized coffee mug for your loved one! All you need is a Sharpie, some glitter, and the penmanship of a professional wedding invitation calligrapher.
Okay, how about this cozy blanket you can knit in 45 minutes using only your ARMS?
I can barely walk 20 yards without tripping over my own feet.Hand-eye coordination (or arm-eye coordination as the case may be) isnot my friend.
All these adorable, handmade holiday gifts are beyond me. My crafting ability lies somewhere between lighting a candle andsuccessfully cutting coupons – and you’d be surprised by how often Ifind myself cutting right into the barcode.
15 Handmade Christmas Gifts Anyone Can DIY
Here are 15 ideas for you, my non-craftybrethren. You can handle every gift on this list, I promise. Plus, themajority of these ideas are super frugal, so they’ll work if you’re on a tight budget.
But the best part? Your loved ones will adore these meaningful gifts that came straight from the heart, not a shopping cart.
Gifts for Everyone
- Write a letter. One of the most thoughtful giftsI’ve ever received was a simple letter from a friend, telling me thatshe appreciated me and why. Get some nice festive paper like this adorable snowman letterhead, grab a pen, and write from the heart. Or if you’re feeling super creative, write a poem.
- Give clippings. Just snip them from your favorite house or garden plants.
- Make an emergency kit. Your loved one can keep this handy kit in the car in case they break down. Add a blanket, these magical hand warmers, and maybe an LED flashlight. For bonus points, include supplies to help get the car back in running order, like a gas can or jumper cables.
- Sign them up for a class. Do you have a friendwho’s been talking about learning how to sew or the art of canning?Honing their photography skills? Find a class and sign them up! Evenbetter, sign up both of you together so it’s an experience you’ll share. For example, Clickin Moms offers online photography workshops covering everything from abeginner’s guide to using a DSLR to newborn photography to thefoundations of composition. (Fancy!)
- Give an inspiring quote. Search for “quote freeprintable” and scroll until you find a quotation that reminds you ofyour loved one. Double-check that the page includes a free printable,then print it and throw it in a frame like this one that’s available in a gabazillion colors. Or if you have the perfect quote in mind, make your own printable quote.
Gifts for Families
- Give dinner. Make your best lasagna, soup, oranother dinner you can freeze, and give it to your loved one to use at a later date when they don’t feel like cooking dinner. This works greatfor families with small children! (Goodness knows my little familyresorts to pizza way too often.)
- Record interviews. Sit down with family members and use an app like Super Notes to record the interview. Ask parents, grandparents, cousins, or auntsand uncles to share memories of the loved one the gift is for. Or theymight appreciate a simple effort at recording some of the best storiesfrom your family history. (My 6-year-old is constantly asking for us to tell stories from when we were younger!)
- Capture a family’s joy together. Purchase a session with a family photographer as a gift to a family in your life. (You can search the CMPro directory here for a photographer.) Or if you’re a skilled photographer yourself,offer to take an afternoon at the park with them to snap a few shots. We had a family session soon after our youngest was born, and I’m soincredibly happy we have a record of that time together as a family!
- Compile a book. This makes a great gift forgrandparents. Get all the kids in your extended family to draw a picture or write a story of their favorite memory of Grandma and/or Grandpa,then take all the creations to an office services store to have thembound into a book. Priceless!
- Put together a family movie night in a box. Grab your favorite family DVD off your shelf, like Shrek or The Goonies, or give an Amazon gift card for $5 so they can rent one. Then add some popcorn (Parmesan and rosemary?), soda or juice, and a cozy blanket for everyone to snuggle up under.(Note: I’m totally NOT suggesting you make that blanket yourself, but if you’re feeling adventurous maybe try arm-knitting and let me know how it goes?)
Gifts for Kids
- Make the box the gift. Infants and toddlers don’t need store-bought toys to be happy. In fact, if you watch any kid this age on Christmasmorning, you’ll see that they’re more interested in the steady stream of colorful paper to crumple and tear and eat, not to mention the boxes.So many boxes! Just save up a bunch of differently sized cardboardboxes, then sit down together and construct a cardboard city on Christmas morning. When you’re done, the tot will have double the fun pretending to be Godzilla.
- Put together an art gift basket. Just gather random supplies you already have around the house, like washi tape, festive stickers, and colorful Sharpies, and throw in a brand new sketch book like this mixed media journal. (Check out this former art teacher’s recommendations for what every art gift basket needs!)
- Make a play dough gift set. Check out the instructions here. You’ll just need homemade dough and accessories like toothpicks andbuttons. (If my zero-craftiness self can make homemade dough, youtotally can!)
- Invite the child on a nature walk scavenger hunt. This works great when you need to walk off a big Christmas dinner and the kids are feeling cooped up. Print a scavenger hunt map, add a note explaining that you’ll take the child exploring, and wrap it up.
- Subscribe the child to a magazine. They’ll love getting mail addressed just to them, and you’ll be building their reading skills too. A few ideas: Highlights, National Geographic Kids, or Cricket.