Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: bebemochi on December 02, 2011, 02:34:18 PM

Title: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: bebemochi on December 02, 2011, 02:34:18 PM
Every year I struggle a little bit with my hand/homemade gifts -- I'm always hoping I don't come off cheap or chintzy, but, tbh, I really DON'T have much money to spend. This year is even worse than usual -- long story short, my husband now makes $300 less a month, and this happened after we'd bought a fixer - upper house and had a baby last year. It doesn't help that I have no time, really -- my busy 11 month old is learning to walk and I'm an events coordinator who is gearing up for a December full of parties. Admittedly, on the best of days I'm a little Grinchy about Christmas due to the stress factor, but this year I'm feeling like a downright Scrooge!

So now I'm struggling even more, trying to figure out if my ideas are good ones or sound cheap. I really, really want honest feedback. I could also combine some of these ideas, if just one seems too small.

1. A homemade seasoned salt mix in this cute little jar:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Glass-Salt-and-Pepper-Shaker-Set/16213462 (hold 4 oz)
(Pros -- I have a lot of some spices, and the jars are only about $1 apiece. Cons -- looks so tiny! But would people really want more of a seasoned salt?)

2. A covered matchbook and a little candle:
I was thinking about how most people have matches in their house, and they covet ones from cool restaurants or where ever because they're much better than plain ones. So I was thinking of covering those heavy cardboard matchboxes with pretty paper or fabric, even, and pairing it with a little inexpensive candle.
Like one of these guys: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-3-oz-Candle-Hazelnut/16780322
If I remember correctly they're only a buck or two.
(Pros -- fun to do! Cons -- would people recognize how cheap it was, or, maybe even worse, recognize the candles as being Wal-Mart candles?)

3. A cardholder:
I have a slew of wooden clothespins, even some very cool vintage ones. I could dye them using Rit and attach a fuzzy pipecleaner so that you could clip a card and have it either stand on its own, or hook the pipe cleaner through / around something. Am I making sense with this one?
With the vintage ones, I could even get some dark wire and create something sort of rustic.
(Pros -- fun to do! Very inexpensive. Cons -- would people get it? I would probably clip a card or tag to sort of "show" how it works, but... I just worry it's the sort of thing someone would just throw away or throw in a junk drawer to throw away later.)

4. Chocolate-dipped spoons / forks:
I was thinking about those chocolate-dipped spoons you can get to stir into hot cocoa or coffee. I was thinking of making some -- either a spoon with mini marshmallows in the bowl, or a fork stabbed into a big marshmallow and rolled in chocolate. I wanted to do it with colored plastic utensils, probably pair them up.
(Pros -- People like chocolate! They probably wouldn't just trash it. Cons -- I've never done this before, so the learning curve might be unexpected. And would plastic utensils just look trashy, despite being colorful?)

Your opinions are really welcome. And if you have other ideas, please, by all means, share!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on December 02, 2011, 02:41:47 PM
Bebemochi, I think it's really hard to gauge -- at least for me -- over the web homemade gifts without seeing them in person, or pictures of them. For me, it is a no-win situation because whatever I answer I give could easily be wrong given one small detail change.

I think if I were in your shoes, I would do a trial run creating 1 of each item and then ask a few trusted people for their honest opinions. As for other ideas, there are LOADS of them on the internet; I am subscribed to several RSS feeds that deliver them to me every day. I get Martha Stewarts' "Living" magazine for free and it also is a good source for homemade but elegant ideas.

Hope this helps in some way. Hopefully others can answer you better!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: WillyNilly on December 02, 2011, 02:45:43 PM
If you are going the home made route, I say, consumables (so no to the cardholder).  I might not love a chocolate spoon (or I might, sounds good!) but either way its used up and out of my home.  The cardholder though... yeah I would not use that.  I have no use for something like that and would just see it as clutter because it would just sit there.  Personally I'm not a huge fan of candles but many people are, and they count as consumables as do the matches, so I say those are fine too.

I do think these are all "know your audience" things though.  Like the seasoned salt for someone with hypertension or bloating or any other "avoid salt" conditions would be no good, as would the sweet spoons for a diabetic or someone trying to loose weight.  Candles aren't good for people with small kids, kittens, or bad memory (aging, etc).  But you could do a few of each idea and that way you have an assortment of things to give out to various people.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: MindsEye on December 02, 2011, 02:46:19 PM
I would go with handmade consumables.  Disclaimer, I say this because I love handmade goodies!  :)

The seasoned salt is something I would use myself... I like cooking and a selection of seasoned salts would be really fun to play with.

The chocolate spoons sound great, and would make neat stocking stuffers.  And you can do all kinds of cool stuff with the presentation... put a bunch in different colors in a bouquet like flowers, tuck them into little holiday patterned socks... all kinds of stuff. 

Here is another chocolate related idea, since you asked for more ideas.  Get some of those big stick pretzels (they are usually really cheap in bulk at the supermarket), dip them in chocolate (white, milk, or dark) and then roll them in sprinkles.  Easy, pretty, and totally yummy!

If you are really crafty, you could also make personalized ornaments for people.  Doesn't have to be fancy.... go to a craft store and buy some simple wooden shapes, and then you can paint them or glue collages of pretty pictures to them, attach some ribbon to the top for hangers, and viola! 

I think that your project ideas sound neat.  You will have to share some pictures of your finished products!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on December 02, 2011, 03:03:53 PM
I'd go with consumables. I love homemade gifts, and would hate for someone to spend outside their means for me. I think it's a great idea. I can't have chocolate so I'd be all about the seasoned salt, but the spoons sound good, too.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Miss Marple on December 02, 2011, 03:14:18 PM
I agree with the consumables, in fact thanks to you my daughter and I are going to make some chocolate dipping spoons for my office.

One idea I had if anyone you are making gifts for reads, is personalized book marks. If you have an artistic bent you could make something gorgeous, with a witty quotations.

I would use the salts, as I like to cook.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: gramma dishes on December 02, 2011, 03:26:32 PM
Obviously I can't speak for those on your gift list.  But I can tell you that for me, homemade gifts are by far the most precious and treasured of all.  I know they take thought and time and effort and I always feel like I must be really special to that person for them to go to all that trouble to make a gift personalized just for me. 

The cost doesn't matter in the least.  I think most of us have at times had to stretch things very thin to just survive, much less give to others.  It's an old saying that is often maligned, but the truth is in terms of receiving gifts, it truly IS the thought that counts.

All your ideas sound great.  I'm joining those who support the "consumables" idea, but the others are good too and would be put to use in my house.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: heathert on December 02, 2011, 04:02:22 PM
I don't know if this helps but this year I am giving homemade canned soup. Last year, I gave homemade preserves and salsa.  If you are a good cook/baker, you could also make some different kinds of breads or muffins. You could also make homemade hot chocolate mix in a tin from the dollar store. You could also make up a soup mix and put that in a jar.

There's lots of things you can do.  ;)
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: otterwoman on December 02, 2011, 04:12:08 PM
I like the chocolate spoon/fork idea. If you're concerned that plastic spoons would look cheap, check out the thrift stores for used silverplate pieces. The Salvation Army here only charges 35 cents per piece.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Bookgirl on December 02, 2011, 06:19:15 PM
As for the clothespins, I make and sell paper covered clips.  I sell a lot of them so there are definitely people out there who use them.  I use them myself in the kitchen a lot, for keeping chip bags closed and the bread bag as well.  I also use them to clip up our Christmas cards to the curtains in the living room.

If you think some of your giftees would use them for those same purposes, I say go for it!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Arrynne on December 02, 2011, 06:23:18 PM
The spoons sound nifty.  I don't think plastic would look cheap.  Plus the recipient won't have a random utensil lying around.

For the seasoned salt, you might try buying your herbs and spices in bulk if you need more.  The year we made bbq rubs we bought a lot of spices from Atlantic Spice Company. I found it amazing that I could buy a POUND of some herbs and spices for less than I would pay for a teeny bottle at the grocery store. 

One year my husband and I did homemade barbeque sauce and small bottles of bbq rubs for everyone.  I packaged everything nicely and printed specialty labels.  We also included a "newsletter" with recipe ideas using the spices, a family picture, and some holiday jokes/stories. 

Another year we did brownie mix and beer bread mix.  I packaged these with a bottle of Christmas beer.  The only "problem" with this gift is a lot of my husband's friends immediately opened the beer!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: lilfox on December 02, 2011, 06:49:09 PM
I'd go with consumables too.  I like the idea of the chocolate covered spoons (is caramel an option too?  Or toffee, mmm, or white or dark chocolate...).  Maybe a set with one of each flavor, tied up with Christmas ribbon?  Or get Mason jars, fill 1/3 to 1/2 with mini marshmallows and rest the spoons in that?

I've done Mason jars of layered hot chocolate mix before, and decorated the lids with decoupaged wrapping paper.  The personalized labels are a really nice touch, you can list out the ingredients and serving size directions.

There are great recipes for roast chicken or turkey spice rubs, perhaps a small jar of that to go with the seasoning salt - most people have the individual ingredients at home but it's really handy to have a premade batch to use instead of breaking out the measuring spoons.

Outside of the food options, I've also done jars of homemade bath salts, but that's even more of a know-your-audience thing if you add scented oils (or even know if the recipient likes to take baths!).
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Mikayla on December 02, 2011, 06:53:48 PM
A lot of this is personal reaction, but I love love love those Walmart jars in #1.  But you don't have to limit yourself to seasoned salt.  This link has some yummy basic dry dip recipes.  You just get the spices (most are $1 or less at the dollar store), mix together per her instructions, then put in the jar along with a little card giving instructions on how to make the dip.  I've tried a couple of these as part of Christmas baskets, especially the fiesta dip, but I never thought to put the dip in those jars.  And then you could tie the card and jar together with raffia or red checked ribbon, etc. 

If people like to entertain, you could give them several of these along with an assortment of crackers and nuts.

Here's what I did one year when I was really broke.  I made my own "secret" hot chocolate using 2 tins of generic (Kroger's basic value stuff is really good) and then I got a small think of Ghirardelli just for grins.  I mixed it all together and I put it in these really nice containers I found.  Then I got one or 2 unique coffee mugs for each basket, and stuck in some peppermint candy cones (my family loves dipping these in hot choco).

Finally, another great food item that is cheap and easy is peppermint bark.  Here's the closest to what I make, but I don't manually crush the candy cones - I dump in a food processor:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/peppermint-bark-recipe/index.html

Also, it's uber festive if you use the red and green candy.  But there's a million recipes for this stuff out there.  It's addictive and fun.

Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: kudeebee on December 02, 2011, 11:37:02 PM
I like the gift ideas that you have--other than the card holder.  But. . . to me they seem small on their own and more of a stocking stuffer or something that would accompany another gift. 

For example, the chocolate covered spoons are great when they accompany hot chocolate packets--or you could make a mix and put it in a quart canning jar.

Spices would be good if they accompany another cooking related item.

I use lighters in my house, not matches as do most of my friends.  The candle seems small as a gift by itself but added perhaps with bubble bath and chocoates it would be a nice gift.

I know money is tight, but I would look some more for gifts you can make.  You can buy quart canning jars fairly cheap and make mixes up with the recipe attached.  I have done cookie mixes, brownie mixes, cocoa mixes.  Chocolate covered pretzel sticks are a great add on to any gift.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: weschicky on December 03, 2011, 08:19:34 AM
What i wouldn't give for more relatives who gave consumable gifts!  I hate getting "stuff" because i have no use for it.  I frequently give the tangible gifts to charity or post to freecycle in early January.  I feel badly that people spent time and money on something I never once used.  Something that can be consumed without being consumed right away is great.  Maybe run with the cooking theme and put some sprigs of herbs in vinegar and make some lemon scented oil to go with the salt?  Homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate mix to go with the spoons?  Or, go bath themed and make bath salts, soap, and a candle (although I'm allergic to fragrance so I'm hesitant to recommend this unless they're fragrance-free!).  The baking mixes are also a great idea, because they can be layered in jars and look pretty--make a set of three and a stocking stuffer becomes a gift.  Pretzel rods dipped in melted chocolates and then rolled in various toppings are cheap and easy.  There are a couple thrift stores in my city that are repositories for sets of china for whatever reason, so you can get really nice tea cups for $1 or less to go with tea, the spoons, or hot chocolate mix.  You can buy tea and other spices in bulk from Frontier Co op--a pound of tea is a LOT of tea.

Happy holidays!  Good luck!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: cicero on December 03, 2011, 10:42:28 AM
i also agree with the consumables.

i've made the dipped spoons a few times - i used good clear plastic spoons (not the el cheapo ones).

you can also go with classics like homemade bread, bread and homemade jam, cookies, biscotti, etc.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Tai on December 03, 2011, 11:53:16 AM
Consumables are fantastic!

Two that I'm doing this year, both a know your audience type thing:

1. Beer bread mix.  Costs about $5 to make 4 batches! 

2. Coconut sugar scrub.  This is awesome!  I've been using it for about 2 weeks now, and it has kept my hands from getting dried out, cracked and peeling at the cuticles.  Mix 2 cups sugar into 1 cup of coconut oil (coconut oil can get expensive, but check walmart to get a jar of it for under $5) until the lumps of coconut oil are incorporated, then jar it up.  You can use repurposed jars, and if your little one eats baby food from the jar, the 6 oz sizes are perfect for this!  decorate the jar, and voila! 

A 5lb bag of sugar and coconut oil from Walmart cost about $7, and there's enough raw material there to make at least 6-8 jars if you buy the Louana brand (31.5 oz jar).   

Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: gramma dishes on December 03, 2011, 11:56:58 AM
I keep reading all this wonderful food stuff, especially all the different bread things which I LOVE.

Is there any possibility any of you are looking for an additional mother?  I'm open to adopting adults who make bread.   ;D
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: QueenofAllThings on December 03, 2011, 12:48:33 PM
Another good consumable idea is dry cookie mix in a jar - layer the makings for chocolate chip cookies in a jar and tie with a ribbon. Inexpensive to make (I'm sure there are instructions on the web somewhere) and who doesn't like cookies?

Skip the card holders - pipe cleaners just remind me of kids' crafts (ymmv).

Candles are nice - you can peel the labels off if you're worried about it looking 'Walmart'.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: shhh its me on December 04, 2011, 02:35:20 AM
  I like the chocolat spoons best , I'd probally look for some Xmas mugs and hot coco packs to make a"set" .  I love Christmas mugs; You can find OK ones for a dollar or less almost everywhere drug stores, supermarkets , Walmart , Targets ect.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: WhirlyBird on December 04, 2011, 10:52:43 PM
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Tai on December 04, 2011, 11:15:48 PM
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!

I'm doing those too!  Just be careful, the paper doesn't like to lay nice!  I cheated and Xacto knifed the edges on mine so that I didn't have to center the paper...
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Wonderflonium on December 05, 2011, 08:17:14 AM
I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

I think the bolded is especially brillant! Popcorn is cheap and a fairly typical Christmas gift (or so the massive quantities of tins at Walmart would have me believe). You could make a whole mess of it and package it prettily and then give some extra seasoned salt on the side.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Athos_000 on December 05, 2011, 08:27:00 AM
I like the seasoned salt and spoons ideas, I would use and enjoy both of them. For the spoons/forks I would actually prefer plastic because I could just throw it away when it was used instead of having to bother with some random spoon or fork.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Carotte on December 05, 2011, 09:29:06 AM
As a stocking stuffer this year I made button-magnets for my mom ( who quilt and sew, etc..), with colorful buttons (wood, but you can use plastic, new or vintage..) and little powerful magnets. That way our fridge will have coordinated magnets to hold stuff. I'm doing the same thing but with lego tiles for my brother.

You could attach the magnets to some clothes-pin, they'll probably see more use out of them than placeholder that are nor used everyday.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Snooks on December 05, 2011, 12:01:47 PM
I think the spoons idea is great, maybe you could pair them with a nice mug and some of the tile coasters PP mentioned.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: rose red on December 05, 2011, 12:46:30 PM
Chocolate spoon and fork is a really cute gift.  A red spoon with a green fork would be cute.  Also, you can add a chocolate covered pretzel rod and a peppermint candy stick. 

I also love the idea of the seasoned salt with popcorn and/or pretzels.

One idea of making inexpensive gifts look nice is creative packaging.  In the past, I've baked cookies and put them in "Chinese food take-out boxes" that had a Christmas print and tied with curling ribbons on the handle (all brought at the dollar store).  Very cheap but the care and effort was appreciated  :).
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: bebemochi on December 05, 2011, 03:20:51 PM
Everyone, I wanted to thank you for all the input. I am definitely considering everything. As much as I'd like to tackle them, I'm still a little wary of the chocolate dipped spoons... I've never done them before...

Btw, I tried out covering the little match boxes, just mostly for my own edification because, if nothing else, I wanted something nicer looking for around my house. Well, maybe I should just start looking for cute little boxes to hide them in, because my attempts were disaster! I had a really hard time making it look nice, and the box was really just too small to make an impact. Reality was definitely different from what I had in my head! :D
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Coruscation on December 05, 2011, 03:30:10 PM
This is probably a bit late for this year but an idea I have heard of is to make your own vanilla essence using vanilla pods and vodka. I think it takes three months? You buy the vodka and pods in bulk and repackage them in smaller jars. If I ever locate some vanilla bean pods, I'm going to try it, apparently it's much better than the commercial stuff.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Lynnv on December 05, 2011, 07:10:13 PM
This is probably a bit late for this year but an idea I have heard of is to make your own vanilla essence using vanilla pods and vodka. I think it takes three months? You buy the vodka and pods in bulk and repackage them in smaller jars. If I ever locate some vanilla bean pods, I'm going to try it, apparently it's much better than the commercial stuff.

I am sure there are other places, but I know that you can get them mail order at www.penzeys.com (or at a store if you have one local to you).
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Wonderflonium on December 05, 2011, 07:11:44 PM
Someone on this board made Skittles-infused vodka.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: POF on December 05, 2011, 07:40:24 PM
I've made homemade caramel corn..... its easy , yummy and fun..... ( also cheap )

Cracker candy is inexpensive as well. ( and addictive )

Another great present is to get dollar store mugs , and fill with homemade hot cocoa mix.

Great ideas !
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Bijou on December 05, 2011, 10:50:49 PM
I've made homemade caramel corn..... its easy , yummy and fun..... ( also cheap )

Cracker candy is inexpensive as well. ( and addictive )

Another great present is to get dollar store mugs , and fill with homemade hot cocoa mix.

Great ideas !
I looked up a recipe for cracker candy online and it uses 2 sticks of butter.  Does yours use less butter?
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: #borecore on December 06, 2011, 12:14:28 AM
OK, I did spice/salt blends for gifts today, inspired by this thread. It took several hours to find all the spices (Walmart for basics + gourmet grocery for fancier seeds and pods) and two other stores to find appropriate bottles (Walmart near me had nothing remotely appropriate for under $4 a jar, by the way -- I even waited in line at customer service for 20 minutes for the chance to ask if I'd missed anything); Hobby Lobby had 50% off glassware so I got nice hermetic jars for 75 cents each.

I made an Italian seasoning, a potato seasoning, a barbecue/all-purpose blend and a curry (garam masala). Four sets of four jars ended up being about $1 each (including obviously nonessential but cute ribbon accents and custom labels), with significant leftovers of a few cheaper spices and a set of extra jars -- I was aiming for 5 full sets but only got fifth jars of two of the blends because I wasn't sure about estimating how much I'd need ahead of time.

You could buy nice chocolates or premade spice blends or a couple of candles for people with a lot less effort and the same appreciation from recipients, I'm sure of it.

Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: POF on December 06, 2011, 06:26:19 AM
I've made homemade caramel corn..... its easy , yummy and fun..... ( also cheap )

Cracker candy is inexpensive as well. ( and addictive )

Another great present is to get dollar store mugs , and fill with homemade hot cocoa mix.

Great ideas !
I looked up a recipe for cracker candy online and it uses 2 sticks of butter.  Does yours use less butter?

Mine uses one cup of butter ( 2 sticks ) and one cup of sugar. It makes a big pan and its rich ... so you don't need big pieces
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: faithlessone on December 06, 2011, 06:52:15 AM
Someone on this board made Skittles-infused vodka.

Ooh, how? I did a search, but I couldn't find the post.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Wonderflonium on December 06, 2011, 08:38:26 AM
Skittles vodka: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=102077.msg2522890#msg2522890
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: faithlessone on December 06, 2011, 08:41:27 AM
Skittles vodka: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=102077.msg2522890#msg2522890

Thank you!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Bijou on December 06, 2011, 08:56:42 AM
I've made homemade caramel corn..... its easy , yummy and fun..... ( also cheap )

Cracker candy is inexpensive as well. ( and addictive )

Another great present is to get dollar store mugs , and fill with homemade hot cocoa mix.

Great ideas !
I looked up a recipe for cracker candy online and it uses 2 sticks of butter.  Does yours use less butter?

Mine uses one cup of butter ( 2 sticks ) and one cup of sugar. It makes a big pan and its rich ... so you don't need big pieces

It sounds so good!  I've never heard of it before.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Wonderflonium on December 06, 2011, 12:48:10 PM
Someone I know pinned this on Pinterest: http://deliciousdeliciousdelicious.blogspot.com/2010/02/chocolate-party-spoons.html

I've never seen them as a treat you eat as opposed to something you melt in coffee or hot chocolate, but it could be fun.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: bebemochi on December 06, 2011, 08:34:53 PM
I have done caramel popcorn (Martha's rosemary caramel, to be exact, and I added spanish peanuts), and mug cakes. I also did spiced pecans, cowboy caviar, and mustard. I think I'm just running out of foodie ideas! I really do prefer making something savory as opposed to something sweet.

I bought a special little kit for dipping chocolate at Winn Dixie. It's in a reusable, microwavable little tray. It cost about $3.75 so depending on how the chocolate tastes I may be saved! (Thank you for the link, Wonderflonium, that is almost exactly what I want to do! Just with mini marshmallows instead! Yay!)

I've made infused vodka for myself before. I did nectarines and kumquat rinds. It was great. That was sort of expensive though -- you have to buy vodka you'd be willing to drink, haha.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Isometric on December 06, 2011, 08:55:45 PM
I really like the seasonsing idea myself. (Although caramel popcorn - hello!) I love homemade seasonings, relishes, jams, something about homemade just says love! (Ya, corny I know!) I paid nearly $10 for "gourmet" seasoning - it's great for all sorts of potato dishes, vegetables, fries etc.

I know you're not into the sweet stuff, but honeycomb is super easy and cheap to make, and looks great in cellophane with pretty ribbon.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Namárië on December 07, 2011, 10:25:03 AM
2. Coconut sugar scrub.  This is awesome!  I've been using it for about 2 weeks now, and it has kept my hands from getting dried out, cracked and peeling at the cuticles.  Mix 2 cups sugar into 1 cup of coconut oil (coconut oil can get expensive, but check walmart to get a jar of it for under $5) until the lumps of coconut oil are incorporated, then jar it up.  You can use repurposed jars, and if your little one eats baby food from the jar, the 6 oz sizes are perfect for this!  decorate the jar, and voila! 

This sounds awesome! But how do you use it?  ??? I have almost a gallon of coconut oil sitting in her bathroom and I would love to use it up for presents before it reaches its two-year expiration date in a year. Would warming the coconut oil up a bit to make it liquid and then letting it cool work?
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: rose red on December 07, 2011, 10:32:44 AM
I know you're not into the sweet stuff, but honeycomb is super easy and cheap to make, and looks great in cellophane with pretty ribbon.

What's honeycomb?  Sounds interesting.  I'm assuming it's not the stuff bees make?
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: ilrag on December 07, 2011, 10:43:45 AM
I have done caramel popcorn (Martha's rosemary caramel, to be exact, and I added spanish peanuts), and mug cakes. I also did spiced pecans, cowboy caviar, and mustard. I think I'm just running out of foodie ideas! I really do prefer making something savory as opposed to something sweet.

I bought a special little kit for dipping chocolate at Winn Dixie. It's in a reusable, microwavable little tray. It cost about $3.75 so depending on how the chocolate tastes I may be saved! (Thank you for the link, Wonderflonium, that is almost exactly what I want to do! Just with mini marshmallows instead! Yay!)

I've made infused vodka for myself before. I did nectarines and kumquat rinds. It was great. That was sort of expensive though -- you have to buy vodka you'd be willing to drink, haha.

If you have a brita jug/filter you can just run cheap vodka through it 2-3 times and make a world of difference in the taste. If you're going to infuse it anyway there's no need to go higher end. 
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Isometric on December 07, 2011, 03:55:06 PM
I know you're not into the sweet stuff, but honeycomb is super easy and cheap to make, and looks great in cellophane with pretty ribbon.

What's honeycomb?  Sounds interesting.  I'm assuming it's not the stuff bees make?

Ohhh, you're missing out! It's so yummy! It's a honey flavored confectionary, made with bi carb, honey, water etc, ingredients you mostly already have in the pantry.  Basically you heat & mix it all together, it goes frothy, you put it on a tray, wait for it to set then smash it into chunks. It's great on it's own but even more wonderful dipped in chocolate.

I don't have my recipe with me, but here's one to give you an idea (haven't tried this one), there's a few different ways to make it though.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/25583/homemade+honeycomb
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Moray on December 07, 2011, 04:00:14 PM
I know you're not into the sweet stuff, but honeycomb is super easy and cheap to make, and looks great in cellophane with pretty ribbon.

What's honeycomb?  Sounds interesting.  I'm assuming it's not the stuff bees make?

Ohhh, you're missing out! It's so yummy! It's a honey flavored confectionary, made with bi carb, honey, water etc, ingredients you mostly already have in the pantry.  Basically you heat & mix it all together, it goes frothy, you put it on a tray, wait for it to set then smash it into chunks. It's great on it's own but even more wonderful dipped in chocolate.

I don't have my recipe with me, but here's one to give you an idea (haven't tried this one), there's a few different ways to make it though.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/25583/homemade+honeycomb

That sounds fantastic!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: O'Dell on December 07, 2011, 04:04:36 PM
2. Coconut sugar scrub.  This is awesome!  I've been using it for about 2 weeks now, and it has kept my hands from getting dried out, cracked and peeling at the cuticles.  Mix 2 cups sugar into 1 cup of coconut oil (coconut oil can get expensive, but check walmart to get a jar of it for under $5) until the lumps of coconut oil are incorporated, then jar it up.  You can use repurposed jars, and if your little one eats baby food from the jar, the 6 oz sizes are perfect for this!  decorate the jar, and voila! 

This sounds awesome! But how do you use it?  ??? I have almost a gallon of coconut oil sitting in her bathroom and I would love to use it up for presents before it reaches its two-year expiration date in a year. Would warming the coconut oil up a bit to make it liquid and then letting it cool work?

Yeah. I use coconut oil for lots of skincare uses. It sometimes melts when it's warm and resolidifies and still works fine. Just scoop out a bit of the mixture and rub it into wet hands. Then rinse off with warm water and pat dry. You can use it on other parts of body and face. Other plant-based oils will work as well...olive, almond, etc.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Tai on December 07, 2011, 04:51:02 PM
On the coconut oil sugar scrub- when you make it, you don't have to heat it up if you don't want to- it melts at like 77F.  I don't, I just use my hands to mush it all up together until its incorporated.  When I go to use it, I just scoop some out of the jar I have it in then rub in.  It is great stuff!

On the vanilla- I used New Amsterdam vodka and beans from Saffron.com.  Amazing!  Shake it once a day- mine lives in the same spot that the coffee lives in, so when I set up tomorrow's coffee, I give it a shake.  I started mine about 6 weeks ago, and its ready to use now if I wanted to, or it can keep on steeping if you want.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Xallanthia on December 07, 2011, 05:03:44 PM
Make truffles.  They are amazing and so easy.  There are a ton of recipes online, but the simplest one I've ever found is:

Take equal WEIGHTS dark chocolate and heavy cream (it helps to have a scale).  Break chocolate up into little bits (if you start with chips, that's fine).  Heat cream until it is warm, being careful not to burn.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand 2-3 min.  Stir until smooth, then refridgerate until solid.  Use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out little balls, and roll them in cocoa powder.  For a little more spice, roll them in cocoa powder with a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper.

These were a HUGE hit with my family last year.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Delia DeLyons on December 07, 2011, 07:23:26 PM
Love this thread!! Ive been agonizing over what to buy BFs mom, not knowing her very long... But making her a little basket of homemade goodies like these sounds perfect!! Particularly being consummables (I was dreading getting her something she wouldnt like/use and seeing it collecting dust everytime I come over, which is alot..) thank you all! 'Specially you OP, for starting thread :-)
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: WhirlyBird on December 07, 2011, 09:52:54 PM
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!

I'm doing those too!  Just be careful, the paper doesn't like to lay nice!  I cheated and Xacto knifed the edges on mine so that I didn't have to center the paper...

You xacto'd the tile, or the paper?

 I made a couple of mock ups, and they turned out really well. Except that I am putting on a second later of paper with printed words on it, and it smeared a bit. So I think I need to use a different printer...
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: WhirlyBird on December 07, 2011, 09:54:21 PM
This is probably a bit late for this year but an idea I have heard of is to make your own vanilla essence using vanilla pods and vodka. I think it takes three months? You buy the vodka and pods in bulk and repackage them in smaller jars. If I ever locate some vanilla bean pods, I'm going to try it, apparently it's much better than the commercial stuff.

I am sure there are other places, but I know that you can get them mail order at www.penzeys.com (or at a store if you have one local to you).

I do that for my own vanilla, the big giant bottles. You can get extract grade vanilla beans on e-bay for about $15 for a quarter pound. Best deal ever!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: amylouky on December 08, 2011, 10:05:31 AM
I've done the chocolate-dipped spoons before, they're really not hard, and they can look very pretty. What I did was, I got the red and green saran wrap, and wrapped the end of each spoon, tied with curling ribbon. I put 6 of them in a holiday coffee mug with a couple of single-serve packs of gourmet cocoa. I think they were received well. :)

I've also done the layered cookie mix in a mason jar, that was fun! I wrapped the tops of the mason jars in christmas fabric, tied with curly ribbon, and printed out the instructions on cardstock, punched a hole, and threaded it through the ribbon. They were inexpensive and cute, too. I think I paid more for the mason jars than anything else.

I'd definitely go with consumables. Even a plate of homemade cookies/candy/fudge is usually very appreciated.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Miss Misha on December 08, 2011, 01:18:09 PM
I thought of this thread yesterday when I took my gifts to my office team.  I made a variety of simple cookies and chocolates, wrapped them up and gave them out to all.  They were a big hit.  Lots of compliments and ooos and ahhhs, even though it was really not that fancy.

Amusing side note: Two team members had gotten up uber-early to catch their flight and arrived famished.  Since I had an extra box, I gave it to them to nosh on.  The one guy went, well, nuts over the spiced nuts.  He said I should package them and sell them.  Nice compliment, but hardly my chosen career path.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: magicdomino on December 08, 2011, 01:38:57 PM
Last year I made homemade vanilla extract, using beans from here:  http://www.beanilla.com/
One batch, I added some orange and lemon zest to the vanilla.  That came out pretty good. Another batch used gold rum instead of vodka.  I still have some Bourbon vanilla beans left, and I'm tempted to soak those in Bourbon Whiskey.   :D  Bottles came from another supplier, whom I found via Google.

This year, the co-workers are getting hot chocolate mix:  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/monster-hot-chocolate-mix-recipe  Since it's for Christmas, I'm leaving out the googly eyes.  Yesterday, I made both dark and milk chocolate versions, and oh-my-diety, are they good!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Bookgirl on December 08, 2011, 05:06:44 PM
I made these cookies last weekend and will be making them again next weekend as one of the cookies I'll be giving to people at work.  They were super yummy and she's right, they are really best warm.

http://scrambledhenfruit.blogspot.com/2010/11/caramel-stuffed-apple-cider-cookies.html
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Lady Snowdon on December 08, 2011, 06:13:24 PM
For my friends this year, I made a variety of infused vodkas.  The hardest was the chocolate vodka...there's two distinct stages to it, and it took a full 8 weeks to make!  However, the impressed comments I got more than made up for the time I spent!  I also did pepper vodka for my one friend who likes hot stuff, and lemon vodka for my other friend.  Both of those were well-received too! 

I'm making some soaps and candles to add into Christmas presents this year for family.  I usually try and do at least one homemade thing, and so far these aren't proving hard at all.  I'm trying to focus on colors and scents that a wide variety of people would like, so that nothing is too objectionable. 
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Tai on December 08, 2011, 08:54:49 PM
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!

I'm doing those too!  Just be careful, the paper doesn't like to lay nice!  I cheated and Xacto knifed the edges on mine so that I didn't have to center the paper...

You xacto'd the tile, or the paper?

 I made a couple of mock ups, and they turned out really well. Except that I am putting on a second later of paper with printed words on it, and it smeared a bit. So I think I need to use a different printer...

The tiles.  Less bubbles and less likely to suffer the not so steady hands of mine...

Have you considered printing what you want directly onto the paper, maybe using a waterproof ink?  I bet there's a way to do that by just swapping out cartridges. 
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Syfygeek on December 09, 2011, 11:08:28 AM
Skittles vodka: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=102077.msg2522890#msg2522890

Thank you!  I was wondering what to get my DS (he's 23)- he's recently decided he likes vodka, and he loves Skittles!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Miss Unleaded on December 09, 2011, 05:44:58 PM
Coming late to the thread, but... I'm sorry but most of the things you listed wouldn't appeal to me because they seem pretty impersonal and not very useful.    :-\ I don't like it when people give gifts like candles and card holders and other dust collectors because I don't feel like I can throw them out but they really aren't something I want to keep either.  As so many others have said, stick with something that can be consumed fairly quickly:  biscuits, cake, your chocolate spoon idea is good, lollies, flavoured alcohol, roasted nuts mixes flavoured with different spices, etc.  Personally I would not give cake or biscuit (cookie) mix because anyone I know who bakes makes them from scratch anyway, and everyone else wouldn't use it. 

I personally always make up batches of five or six different biscuits/cookies, put them in cellophane bags tied with green and red ribbon, and give them away to people specifically because I know not everyone like little crafty things and if they're on a diet or whatever they won't feel bad throwing them away.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Fleur-de-Lis on December 09, 2011, 06:34:20 PM
I have a pattern for a small catch-all bag which zips shut and has a square base, allowing the bag to remain upright (if it's small enough; 12 inches is about the largest I can make before the bag loses significant structural integrity.) 

I'm making them in recipients' favorite colors, or in fabric which meets a certain theme (crossword puzzles, fabric imprinted with pictures of favorite animals, etc.) 

For some of my friends/family, I will put additional gift items inside the bags - crossword puzzles, art kits, aromatherapy sets, etc.

For "mass transit survival kits", I am putting an aromatherapy vial (a small vial with a cotton ball onto which I have dripped a drop or two of essential oil), a pair of earplugs, and a book or puzzle all into a 7 or 9 inch pyramid bag. I was going to make an earbud holder but found one commercially that's better and less expensive than one I could make. 
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: mbbored on December 11, 2011, 03:56:36 PM
Being relatively crafty and broke, I often do homemade Christmas gifts.

In the liquor department, I'm known for my pomegranate gin & limoncello. I also can year round and distribute jars of marmalade, preserves, jams and fruit butters. In the past I've done soup mixes with dried beans and herb pouches. This year I'm experimenting with candles, scented bath salts (epson salts + sea salt + essential oils) and those neck rolls filled with rice & lavender that you can heat up in the microwave.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: blarg314 on December 12, 2011, 09:15:11 PM

I agree that consumables are better than knick-knacks, unless you know the person will like and use a particular items. At Christmas time, stuff that doesn't go bad quickly is a good idea, because people can overwhelmed with edibles during that season.

Flavoured salt would be good, particularly if you add instructions for use for particular flavours (popcorn seasoning, or using it to rim glasses for drinks, or for fried foods, etc).

You can make up packets of mulling spices that can be used for making mulled wine or apple juice (eg. cinnamon sticks, cloves, dried orange and lemon peel, dried cranberries) with instructions, or something similar for homemade chai tea (cardamon, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger). If you want to be fancier, make an infused spiced syrup that can be added to tea, by steeping spices and cooking them up into a syrup with sugar. This sort of gift is good for someone who likes food but isn't much of a cook.

For a consumable non-food item, I find cards quite useful. My sister does lovely flower photo cards, and I use them as thank-you or birthday cards. So if you're artistic or good at photography, you can make up sets of cards.

Bath/cosmetic items have the same caveats as buying (allergies and personal preferences). I've seen instructions for home-made bath bombs which look pretty cool, and salt or sugar scrubs are extremely inexpensive to make compared to what is charged in the store. Include a list of ingredients for allergies.

I find that things like jams and jellies aren't necessarily all that cheap, unless you already have canning equipment, and you have access to free or very cheap fruit. If you have to buy good quality fruit to make it with, it'll cost as much or more as a good quality jam at the store. 

For other food items that aren't too expensive but keep a while and taste better than store bought - for someone who likes breakfast, give them a pack of home-made granola, particularly if you have access to a bulk foods section to keep the cost of ingredients down.  I've got a couple of amazingly good granola recipes if you want them - they keep at least 2-3 weeks in a sealed container (holiday spice flavour, and cranberry lemon almond flavour). Homemade hot sauce is quite easy to make, and keeps for months - for home use, I do a green chile vodka lime one, and a roasted hot pepper one.

Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Fleur-de-Lis on December 12, 2011, 11:53:09 PM
Vanilla sugar, especially for friends who abstain from alcohol infused substances. I have yet to manage it, but this is one of my intended gifts for a friend who is comparatively strict in her observation of Jewish dietary customs.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: WhirlyBird on December 13, 2011, 12:11:50 AM
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!

I'm doing those too!  Just be careful, the paper doesn't like to lay nice!  I cheated and Xacto knifed the edges on mine so that I didn't have to center the paper...

You xacto'd the tile, or the paper?

 I made a couple of mock ups, and they turned out really well. Except that I am putting on a second later of paper with printed words on it, and it smeared a bit. So I think I need to use a different printer...

The tiles.  Less bubbles and less likely to suffer the not so steady hands of mine...

Have you considered printing what you want directly onto the paper, maybe using a waterproof ink?  I bet there's a way to do that by just swapping out cartridges.

I'm using scrapbook paper, which I could print directly on, but I would have to cut it up to get it to fit the printer, which I don't want to do. I have a couple friends with laser printers, we tried those and the laser printed quotes worked great!

I'll have to try cutting the tiles. Thanks for the tip!
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Namárië on December 13, 2011, 08:31:10 AM
Vanilla sugar, especially for friends who abstain from alcohol infused substances. I have yet to manage it, but this is one of my intended gifts for a friend who is comparatively strict in her observation of Jewish dietary customs.

Vanilla sugar is very easy—I always have a jar of it going. I use vanilla beans that I have already taken the seeds from, and just toss them in the jar with the sugar. If you want it to go faster, just cutting the beans in half and letting the seeds come out on their own into the sugar would probably work. Just don't forget to shake, cause it can get sticky on the bottom! :)
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Fleur-de-Lis on December 13, 2011, 11:18:00 AM
Vanilla sugar, especially for friends who abstain from alcohol infused substances. I have yet to manage it, but this is one of my intended gifts for a friend who is comparatively strict in her observation of Jewish dietary customs.

Vanilla sugar is very easy—I always have a jar of it going. I use vanilla beans that I have already taken the seeds from, and just toss them in the jar with the sugar. If you want it to go faster, just cutting the beans in half and letting the seeds come out on their own into the sugar would probably work. Just don't forget to shake, cause it can get sticky on the bottom! :)

It's not the making it that's hard - it's the committing to buying the vanilla beans that's the problem! Are they good enough? Is that a good enough price for the number of beans? Can I use that number of beans? etc.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Xallanthia on December 13, 2011, 06:34:01 PM
I just made some coconut oil sugar scrub for Christmas gifts!  My KitchenAid Mixer did a great job incorporating it.  I put a little bit of vanilla extract in the batch and it smells great too.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: bebemochi on December 21, 2011, 02:19:25 PM
There are some really great ideas on this thread. Thank you all for sharing! Bookmarking for later.

Here is what I personally ended up doing:
S'mores bars in a mason jar
Guiness gingerbread cupcakes
"Sugar and spice" -- a packet of chocolate sugar and a packet of spicy salt together
Instant potato soup in a mug
Hollow books

Almost all food, as y'all recommended! I also did 3 hollow books for teenage cousins. They are sort of a bear so I probably won't be doing those again.
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: yokozbornak on December 21, 2011, 04:54:45 PM
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!

I'm doing those too!  Just be careful, the paper doesn't like to lay nice!  I cheated and Xacto knifed the edges on mine so that I didn't have to center the paper...

You xacto'd the tile, or the paper?

 I made a couple of mock ups, and they turned out really well. Except that I am putting on a second later of paper with printed words on it, and it smeared a bit. So I think I need to use a different printer...

The tiles.  Less bubbles and less likely to suffer the not so steady hands of mine...

Have you considered printing what you want directly onto the paper, maybe using a waterproof ink?  I bet there's a way to do that by just swapping out cartridges.

I'm using scrapbook paper, which I could print directly on, but I would have to cut it up to get it to fit the printer, which I don't want to do. I have a couple friends with laser printers, we tried those and the laser printed quotes worked great!

I'll have to try cutting the tiles. Thanks for the tip!

I've done the tiles, but I used decorative paper napkins instead of scrapbook paper.  It gives a different effect that I thought was pretty, and it was very inexpensive. 
Title: Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
Post by: Tai on December 22, 2011, 03:34:48 PM
I make homemade caramels for the family every year. The first year I made them, I was hold I was never going to be able to stop. So that's what the extended family gets every year. Oh, and friends too.

I also like the idea of a consumable. I like the seasoned salt idea, because it's not sweet. Most people do sweets for the holidays, and that would be something different. If you're concerned about the size of the gift, use some of the seasoned salt to make some popcorn or pretzel treats with it, and give a little bag of it along with the salt. Then people know what they're getting as well.

If you want more, inexpensive and FABULOUS ideas, try pinterest.com. Lots of great ideas on there, many of which I have done myself. For this holiday season, I am making tile coasters for a bunch of people. All it takes is tiles (sixteen cents apiece), scrapbook paper, mod podge and a little felt for the bottom. And they are gorgeous!

I'm doing those too!  Just be careful, the paper doesn't like to lay nice!  I cheated and Xacto knifed the edges on mine so that I didn't have to center the paper...

You xacto'd the tile, or the paper?

 I made a couple of mock ups, and they turned out really well. Except that I am putting on a second later of paper with printed words on it, and it smeared a bit. So I think I need to use a different printer...

The tiles.  Less bubbles and less likely to suffer the not so steady hands of mine...

Have you considered printing what you want directly onto the paper, maybe using a waterproof ink?  I bet there's a way to do that by just swapping out cartridges.

I'm using scrapbook paper, which I could print directly on, but I would have to cut it up to get it to fit the printer, which I don't want to do. I have a couple friends with laser printers, we tried those and the laser printed quotes worked great!

I'll have to try cutting the tiles. Thanks for the tip!

I've done the tiles, but I used decorative paper napkins instead of scrapbook paper.  It gives a different effect that I thought was pretty, and it was very inexpensive. 


LOVE this idea!