It happened accidentally.
I guess it really happened by circumstances. Our family (my wife and kids) started giving only personalized homemade Christmas gifts to each other. When I explained how to cut cost by being resourceful, the truth is that some places require resourcefulness. We live in one of those places. As such, for the last three years we have had to make homemade and personalized gifts.
The unexpected blessing is that each of the homemade Christmas gifts I have received are now some of my favorite Christmas gifts. I believe personalized gifts will be appreciated more than store bought gifts, and your appreciation for personalized gifts will only increase over time.
50 Do It Yourself (DIY) Homemade Christmas and Personalized Gifts
- Make a piece of furniture.
If you are not proficient with tools and things, this might be an even greater reason to build – surprise someone with your new found hobby. While the options are limitless, the best ideas are usually items for organizing or storing knickknacks. There is probably a closet in your home that could use a little organizing. Why not build a customized storage/organization center.
- Coupon book. This is an oldie, but still a great personalized gift. Depending on what the recipient enjoys you can customize the book. Include service things like breakfast in bed, a day of help, and a night off. I suggest you put an expiration date to help motivate the recipient to use the coupons. If they have not used the coupon in a few weeks, give them a call and (lovingly) force them to use one.
- Surprise them with yourself! Take advantage of on of the best airmiles credit card offers and you can even travel free. For example, Chase is offering $500 worth of flights for being approved for their credit card. Nothing says homemade like giving someone a hug for Christmas.
- Make a silhouette picture. One year my wife gave me silhouette pictures of my kids. It is still a favorite gift I have received. Get a picture of the kids and cut out the shape of the head. Use that pattern to cut out a silhouette on black construction paper. Just glue the picture to a piece of colored construction paper and throw it in a frame. This is an awesome gift idea for family.
- Scrapbook/scrapbook calendar. Find some picture that have special meaning for you and the gift recipient. Neatly and creatively compile those pictures into a scrapbook. You could even go to your nearest Hobby Lobby and for about $10 buy a blank calendar. Use your scrapbook skills to custom design your own calendar.
- Baked goods. Your neighbor or boss might just enjoy some cookies from Grandma’s famous recipe. They will probably enjoy it more than a gift basket you bought from somewhere.
- Homemade gift basket. For just a few dollars you can buy a basket. Fill the basket with several of the items listed here.
- Paint or draw a picture. The picture could be of a favorite memory, favorite place, or anything sentimental. If you specialize in a type of drawing or painting, make some personalized pictures for friends and family.
- Create a CD mix with some of the recipient’s favorite songs. You could even put a group of CDs together with favorites from different decades or stages of your relationship.
- Sew something. Kids think it is so cool to have a matching outfit with a parent. Sew mother and daughter a matching outfit. One year my wife sewed me an organizing sheet for my tools. Fix up a favorite piece of clothes for someone.
- Search high and low for a rare item. Using resources like the internet – can anyone say ebay?- you can get your hands on some rare items. This does not necessarily mean expensive items. Your grandfather might be amazed if you tracked down that spinner top he always used to play with when he was a kid. I guess you’ll have to do more than search high and low – a letter explaining why searching is all someone gets is not going to cut it . Search high and low and FIND a rare item.
- Organize a family experience. Take the family somewhere extra special. I’m not necessarily talking about a trip to Disney. It could even be to take the family for a day of sledding or skiing. How about a trip to the farm for a sleigh ride? Consider substituting gifts with a vacation or family activity. I know one family (grown kids) that does not do any Christmas gifts anymore, but once every couple of years they use that money saved to all get together for a week vacation.
- Make a hand mould with your children’s hands.
The nice thing about having kids is you can completely exploit their cuteness for a ton of awesome gifts. Just buy a little clay and let junior shove his hand in the mold. Any aunt, uncle, or grandparent will treasure your gift.
- Homemade recipe book. Collect all your favorite recipes or even the recipes of friends and relatives and give the book to someone who loves to cook.
- Homemade Christmas card. Here is another one that uses kids’ cuteness to your advantage. Take a piece of paper and have your kids leave hand prints (just use a little paint for them to dip their hands into). Position the prints in such a way that the hand prints can be reindeer antlers. Write a heartfelt hand written note to accompany the letter.
- Make a video. If you don’t get to go home for Christmas this year, make a video of the kids playing and saying hello to everyone.
- Get friends of the gift recipient to help make a book of memories. Ask each friend to write one page of memories. Encourage them to add a picture. Take all the pages and creatively combine them into a book.
- Write your story for adult kids with unknown facts. If you have adult children or family members, spend an afternoon writing down your memories as a kid. Include mundane events, the happy events, and yes, even the sad times.
- Write a poem. While roses are red, you might be better off breaking the mould and writing something a little more original. Don’t write poetry? Get a book on how to write poetry (from the library) and follow the format. Some nice paper really helps compliment kind words.
- Send 12 consecutive cards (or small gifts) for 12 days of Christmas. While it might be hard to time this one every day for 12 days, put a card or item in the mail for someone. Let them enjoy your gift over a period of days.
- Compile a book of pictures, archive, and journals notes from a deceased family member. Gift the book to that person’s closest relatives.
- Get a newspaper advertisement honoring someone. You might need call them to be sure they see it.
- Make a PowerPoint presentation that includes pictures and old memories.
- Start a blog in honor of someone. Blogspot lets you start a free blog. Just call the blog – Best Dad Ever. Post a few entries and send the web address to the recipient.
- Recreate a Christmas past. Share something, do something, or give something that someone said was always their favorite thing about Christmas. This might be especially meaningful (and emotional) especially after the loss of a loved one over the last year.
- Customize an email address and send a heartfelt email from the new address. For example open email@example.com and send mom an email.
- Donation to charity on behalf of someone.
- Give yourself or your time for a day to someone.
- Check out my list of 101 ways to give.
- Plan a surprise visit to see someone you have not visited in a long time.
- Go on an exotic flower hunt. Find that person’s favorite flower and give it to them.
- Make a meal. You probably have a recipe that others love. Bake up a batch and take it to them during the busy holidays.
- Write a fictional / children’s story based on your family. When you write the story use your actual family names (nicknames are great too). If you don’t draw, ask a friend to illustrate the book.
- Write a song or drama for someone.
- Meet some childhood dream.
- Buy a favorite book or movie from someone’s childhood. To make the gift extra special ask their dad to read the book to them. Perhaps with a favorite movie recreate the atmosphere they used to describe when they watched the movie.
- Break a bad habit for someone. Throw out something someone hates. Use Christmas as a motivation to finally kick a habit for someone.
- Make a special dinner for two somewhere unique – by the fireplace, on the roof, or under a tree.
- Have your children make their own wrapping paper – family won’t care what is inside.
- Give a homemade Christmas ornament.
- Pictures of your kids.
- Buy a blank puzzle and make your own puzzle. You could even take a poster board and make your own. Use the back of a puzzle you already have. Draw a personalized picture on the puzzle.
- Write a list of your favorite Bible verses. Use some fancy paper and a nice frame and the item will be something that younger generations cherish.
- Handwritten favorite Bible verse. Put it in a frame.
- Create a T-shirt design and have it screen printed.
- Teach a skill – piano or dance lessons.
- Write a ‘ways you’ve blessed me’ list. On homemade paper or special paper, just write all the ways that a person has blessed you. Give them the list for Christmas.
- Get a phone card for someone so you can talk to them instead of a gift card in the mail.
- Make your own candles. This really is not a very difficult thing to do. Just get on google and type “make your own candles” and you will have a million guides.
- Homemade cider or grape juice. My parents make their own apple cider and grape juice. These jars would make excellent Christmas gifts.
- Pray for someone. If you just don’t have the money to spend gifts for people, make them a card and explain your situation. Let them know that each day for the next week you are going to be praying for them so if they have any specific requests they can let you know.
How to Make Personalized Gifts As a Homemade Christmas Gift
There are three necessary ingredients for the “perfect Christmas gift”.
Truly personalized gifts is an idea that is seen in the heart and finished with the hands.
1. A Skill
You have hundreds of skills, just think about how that skill can be used to focus on or honor someone else.
2. Spare Time
This is this is the main reason people do not do homemade gifts. The gift card is so much easier. How often have you come up with a great idea, and then just simply didn’t have the time to get your act together? By deciding what you are going to give for Christmas now, you will have the necessary time to get it ready.
Anyone can buy a gift card. Who really needs another basket of soaps? Creativity helps you get the perfect gift. However, many people claim they are not creative enough to come up with a good idea. But, now you have no excuses.
What are you waiting for? There must be a least one great Christmas gift idea for you. Don’t delay or else you are going to be heading out on December 24th for a gift card.