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8 Handmade and Homemade Gift Ideas

The holiday season is approaching quickly, and, well, I have to admit that I feel like I’m a little behind already. I usually like to make most of my gifts, but I may not have left enough time to plan ahead this year.

If, like me, you need some ideas for handmade and homemade gifts that won’t take months of preparation, here are a few ideas based on gifts we have given in the past, or plan to try this year. I hope you can find some inspiration in the following suggestions.

8 Handmade and Homemade Gift Ideas

1. Baked goods

Everyone loves to get baked goods as gifts – but think outside the cookie jar.  We often give out mini-loaves of apricot-cranberry breadHomemade granola is a good option, too.   Even better, you can package your gift in a reusable snack bag, such as the bags from Eco Lunch Gear, and give two gifts in one.

2.  Treasure boxes

One of our favorite gifts to give and get are homemade treasure boxes.  You can go to an arts and crafts store and purchase plain wooden boxes, or re-purpose boxes you already have, such as shoes boxes or other packaging.  Paint them, decoupage them, add poetry or song lyrics – the options for personalization are endless.

3.  Homemade notebooks

One of the best ways to repurpose scrap paper is in making your own blank notebooks.  My husband taught himself to make notebooks from a book called Indie Publishing and now he gets frequent requests from friends for personalized notebooks.

4. Magnets

We’ve made magnets from old Scrabble tiles, which is fun because people can rearrange them on their fridge to spell out different words. Another fun option would be to use bottle caps; you could glue the magnet to either side and add a photo, a picture from a magazine, or a letter or number to the other side. Magnets and glue are easily available at craft stores.

5.  Mix CDs

Ah, yes, the old stand-by.  Who hasn’t made or received a mix tape or mix CD at some point?  But mix CDs are tried and true for a reason: there is no better way to recreate those captured memories, or create new memories, than with the perfect soundtrack.

6.  Homemade cards

Beautiful cards can be made with scrapbooking supplies, but one of our favorite ways to make cards now is with a scanner.  Scan in illustrations from books, photographs of people or places, or found objects, and print out onto cardstock.  Fold.  Voila!  It’s a card.  Purchase a box of envelopes from an office supply or paper supply store, and you can put together sets of blank cards as gifts.

7.  Jewelry

If you haven’t tried your hand at making your own jewelry, you should!  It’s almost therapeutic; the process of threading beads on a strand can be a good way to slow down and enjoy conversation with a friend, while designing a set of earrings or a bracelet is a great creative outlet.  There are plenty of options to choose from at craft stores, but if there is a specialty bead shop in your town, you will find higher quality goods.  Alternatively, you can re-string old jewelry into new items, or make your own paper beads.

Photo by Go Make Something

8.  Homemade Lotions, Soaps, and Perfumes

Putting together homemade body care products is simpler than you might think. I plan on concocting a few perfumes from a basic mixture of half vodka and half essential oils. Pure vanilla extract can also be used in place of vodka to add a warm, sweet-scented base, and the alcohol in the vanilla acts as a preservative, just as the vodka does. You can find instructions for making soap here, and a lotion tutorial here.

I hope this list has given a jump-start to your creative juices!

We love handmade and homemade gifts in our family.  And actually, almost any of these gifts could be packaged in a reusable cloth snack bag.  You can also find other ideas for eco-friendly gift wrappings on Simple Mom.

Happy crafting!

This post on homemade and handmade gift ideas was brought to you by Eco Lunch Gear. Eco Lunch Gear offers reusable cloth sandwich wraps and snack bags  for the whole family in various sizes and fabrics. You can see their products and find out more about the company at their website.

Are you planning on giving homemade and handmade gifts this season? What suggestions do you have up your sleeve?

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  1. Trudy G.

    I just got a wonderful idea from suggestion No. 6.! Why not make gift tags using people’s pictures. With 5 younger grandchildren this would allow for them to help pass out presents by giving them to the person whose picture is on the tag. I’m really liking this idea – thanks for the nudge that allowed me to come up with it!

  2. abbie

    what a great post! Thanks for these wonderful ideas to add to our holiday-to-make list!

  3. priest's wife

    I’m printing up book plates for the cousins (16 of them!) and will try to get to either lemon curd or marmalade

  4. Kara

    We love making homemade gifts! I always enjoy making lip balms for my “mama friends” as an inexpensive way to say thanks for being there this year!

    We just did a big fall clean this weekend and we came across so many of the kids’ drawings and paintings. We sorted them and labeled and stored the special ones, but the kids agreed that some of the others we can use to wrap gifts this year, so we are excited about not having to purchase as much wrapping paper, and they are excited about sharing their artwork with family and friends!

  5. Sandra Lee

    Thanks for these great ideas. I haven’t even thought about gifts yet. I love the idea of making personal notebooks and will definitely follow the link to find out how it’s done.

  6. Cindy

    What a great list of ideas! I have done homemade gifts for kids in the past but haven’t tried any for adults – this is going to be the year! For kids, I recommend making an arts & crafts kit with homemade playdough, homemade watercolor paints, homemade sidewalk chalk and maybe some leftover paper (newspaper, scrapbook paper, packing paper, etc).

  7. Rex

    great information. lots of ideas here, especially for the holiday season.

  8. lynn

    Fun ideas for handmade gifts, which in my opinion are always the best 🙂 This year I’m planning on giving some molasses-whole wheat bread that I blogged about recently. I have a bread machine, which makes this a super simple option. And people who don’t do a lot of baking seem to really appreciate home-baked goods. I have been wanting to try making some homemade lotions and soaps, so will check out some of your links. Thanks so much for all the inspiration.

  9. Nic

    Homemade gifts are the best kind, there can’t be any doubt about that. All the cards I get that are homemade, I keep, just because they’re so beautiful and I couldn’t bear to throw them out. I always think that someone’s put real effort into it and it shouldn’t just end up in a landfill.

    I’ve not got a creative bone in my body but my sister lives and breaths it. The best present she ever made for me was a load of my favourite fanfictions printed off and bound together, so I could read them on the train without murdering my eyes. I think she’s looking into making notebooks this year but it’s not a comb binding machine that she has, so I think she’s going to try stitching them. Rather her than me but hopefully she’ll do one for me. 🙂

  10. Tradeshow giveaways

    I agree, that homemade gifts are the best things to give on special occasions. This leaves an impression that you worked hard in order to give something unlike those that are just ready to buy in the malls.

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  12. Lrich

    …this year I’m going to try my hand again at coconut flavored liquor and homemade cookies……

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