Author Topic: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts  (Read 8943 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Miss Unleaded

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1724
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #60 on: December 09, 2011, 06:44:58 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.

Fleur-de-Lis

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
  • Dum Vivimus, Vivamus!
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #61 on: December 09, 2011, 07:34:20 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. 
•   Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe.


mbbored

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5315
    • Budget Grad Student
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #62 on: December 11, 2011, 04:56:36 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.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8503
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #63 on: December 12, 2011, 10:15:11 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.


Fleur-de-Lis

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
  • Dum Vivimus, Vivamus!
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #64 on: December 13, 2011, 12:53:09 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.
•   Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe.


WhirlyBird

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 38
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #65 on: December 13, 2011, 01:11:50 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!

Namárië

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1997
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #66 on: December 13, 2011, 09:31:10 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! :)
Competence is a trap!
I mostly don't make stuff, but sometimes I do: http://initiationcreation.blogspot.com

Fleur-de-Lis

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
  • Dum Vivimus, Vivamus!
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #67 on: December 13, 2011, 12:18:00 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.

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.
•   Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe.


Xallanthia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5371
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #68 on: December 13, 2011, 07:34:01 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.

bebemochi

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #69 on: December 21, 2011, 03:19:25 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.

yokozbornak

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1224
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #70 on: December 21, 2011, 05:54:45 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. 

Tai

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2430
Re: Hand/Homemade Christmas Gifts
« Reply #71 on: December 22, 2011, 04:34:48 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!