50 Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas | Make Personalized Gifts 2012

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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.100_0150
  • 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.100_0152
  • 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  tomyfavoritemom@gmail.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.

3. Creativity

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.

What are some of your favorite personalized gift ideas?  What are some of your favorite homemade Christmas gift ideas?


    • Craig says

      Exactly. Kids love the simplest things so why spend a lot of money on them? When they get older they will appreciate the personalized gifts from their parents.

  1. says

    I love the silhouette idea. I have four little girls all under six and I know that my wife would love something like that. I’ve seen it before but it’s nice to be reminded when your stuck for ideas. I despise spending good money on useless stuff for presents so when you have everything you need a personal hand made gift is often the best. The girls will also enjoy doing this one with me as well so thanks.

    • Craig says

      The silhouette is an awsome gift. My wife gave me one for Father’s Day and it is one of my favorite gifts.
      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Beth in Texas says

    Just be careful if you make a CD that you buy new downloads of all the songs you are including so as to not violate copyrights. My children receive physical therapy and every year the physical therapists give CDs that are of songs they just copied from other CDs. I have to throw them out every year since that is an illegal use of the CDs and every year, they are sad.

    • Craig says

      Thanks so much for your comment about the importance of ‘purchasing’ the songs. Yes, illegal products make bad Christmas gifts!

    • Leah says

      It is also important that if you buy the songs (say off iTunes) and burn them onto a CD, you then delete the song off your computer as you’ve given away the bought song and to keep it on your computer would still be illegal.

      Note though that in some countries (for example Australia) it’s perfectly legal to burn copies of songs you own onto other media (eg, CDs) for your own use (say to play in the car), but once you give it away that’s where it becomes illegal.

    • Bob says

      Haha… You throw Cd’s out. How do you tell if they downloaded it fresh for you?… sounds like your just one of those poeple who have nothing better to do than follow ridiculous rules. …. must be nice

  3. says

    Making gifts certainly comes in handy… when I didn’t know what to get my girlfriend one year, I took the time to learn, play, and record 8 of her favorite songs on guitar for her. Not only did it save money, but it was one of those “wow” gifts that you never really forget about.
    .-= Travis´s last blog ..Understanding the Minds of Stupid People =-.

    • Craig says

      @ Travis. What a great gift idea. That is exactly what I think more of us should be doing for gifts this year. Personalized gifts are the best!

  4. Nicole Whaley says

    Enjoyed your list of ideas…really wanting to revamp Christmas – at least for our family. Homemade Christmas ornaments are a great idea, too. I went to an ornament exchange last year and was amazed at what people made simply from things like shells or paper (origami). They make great memories and each tell a story….

  5. says

    My daughter is a school teacher and is looking for some great craft ideas for her children to do for Christmas. I am going to tell her about your page . I know she will be very excited. I am. Thanks.

  6. says

    I like the recipe book idea. My children are always asking, how to cook something I use to cook when they were at home. I would not have thought of that if you had not suggested it. Thanks so much and have a happy holiday.

    • Craig says

      The great thing about the cook book is that there is so much of the giver included in the gift. Thanks for the comment.

  7. says

    I think gifts are source of happiness to both – provider and recipien. Selecting a Chiristmas gift may be a very tough job as it’s not always easy to find a gift that is romantic and unique. On this Christmas i have recieve a photo frame having pic of mine with my son, that is really a great gift from my son.

  8. Stone Art says

    Do not leave out materials such as stones and pieces of wood! Simple painting of natural materials, and them gluing them in a shadow box is an awesome personalized gift. Thanks for the ideas!

  9. nirmal says

    Nice article being posted here i really enjoyed alot while reading this article really nice ideas been discussed here i am looking for this and got much more information from here whatever i wud need thanx

  10. victoria says

    Thanks for the great ideas, I was looking for something a bit more personal this year to give to family! Also if you are quite handy with a needle and thread, sock monkeys are a great cheap idea to give to kids! I also got my son to paint a picture when he was about 4 and I put a picture of him on it and framed it, cost me about £2 for the entire thing and his granny still has hanging (7yrs later) on her wall..

  11. Margaret says

    I guess I’m a bit weird … I have been making all my Christmas presents for years! I can’t remember when it started but I’m sure it was in the midst of a budget crisis! Then, I did it again the next year, and so on.

    Some of my ideas: Scrapbook of photos of my sister’s family and her children; a “lucky fishing shirt” for my mom: I bought I hooded sweatshirt (only color I could find in her size was RED) and free-hand embroidered a fishing pole on it with a long line that went to the other side of the shirt where on the end of the line was a…. a FISH! She wore it for years!

    Only thing I could ever think of that I could make for my father was hand-knitted “slippers,” which he never wore until he was in his 80s and dying of cancer but …

    When I began to get more skills, such as sewing, cross-stitch and hardanger, Christmas gift-giving became a bit harder and more time-consuming but much more meaningful and more welcomed by the recipients: a funky angel with a “Wish Upon A Star” cross-stitch wall hanging; quilts; hand-knit wrist warmers for men (great for hunters …); hand-knitted socks (Who wouldn’t love that! We’ve gotten so far away from our roots we don’t even know how much warmer they are … and FUN to wear!).

    When I learned hardanger, I made a table-topper for my mom, who always insisted upon having a table-topper after cleaning up the supper dishes. I recall how long it took to tie the knots that went around the edges because I had not figured out that that task alone could take hours! But it was completed, in time and was a beautiful gift.

    My mom had a recipe for fruit-cake cookies, which were made with the fruit that goes into fruitcakes, but much more delicious. We gave those to our mechanics one year. They turned up their noses when my husband said the word “fruitcake,” but he quickly added, “You better try them … They’re pretty good!”

    The thing has so little to do with our feelings that I think a bit of “getting back to basics” will do us all good in 2010!

    Hope I gave you some ideas … or at least a bit of encouragement!

  12. says

    Everyone likes to be spoilt at Christmas. Just a little. When you’re making your homemade Christmas gifts make sure you give them a big finish. Nothing lets down a heartfelf gift that you’ve put hours of your love and effort into than poor presentation.

    - Drawings, poems and photos need to go into a gorgeous frame.
    - Goodies from your kitchen should be presented in a pretty box or bottle.
    - Clothing or fabric items should be folded in tissue paper and boxed.

    You get the idea. A gift rich in effort and time deserves to be packaged like the most expensive gift from an upmarket boutique.

    Don’t forget some lovely wrapping paper and a gift tag.

    Of course, this all sounds more complicated than it actually is. If you have the imagination and motivation to make your own Christmas gifts, then you’ll have no trouble presenting them beautifully as well.

  13. says

    What I just did was take a piece of fabric from my grandma, who has passed away. I cut it into a tiny frame…on the back I wrote this is a gift from Me and Grandma either hang it or put on a Christmas tree.
    I also have taken a photo of my sisters and blown it up and Framed it nice and gave as a gift. I also give away my books…and make ornaments all the time. Great ideas.

  14. 12jave says

    I was looking for something to make my 10 year old brother. These are great for the other ages but not him. Thanks 4 the ideas anyway.

  15. says

    We love these ideas. We featured an idea about making your own vanilla extract that makes a great gift too. Its great to get back to the meaning of CHRISTmas and focus on that rather then on gifts/money.

  16. Arlene says

    Great gift ideas. I really like the one about a recipe book full of family recipes.

    One Christmas my son gave us a gift I will never forget. It cost him nothing but it meant so much to us. He was in his teens and had long hair at that time and he knew we didn’t like his long hair. On Christmas eve he went to his best friends house and his mother cut his hair for him, nice and short, blocked at the back and no longer hanging in his eyes. In the morning when it came time to open our gifts he said he had to give mum and dad’s gift first and he whipped off his baseball cap to reveal his short hair and has kept it that way since then (he is now 37 years old). That was the best gift and it cost him nothing.

  17. Rachel says

    These are some really great ideas! Another idea is a memory jar. Create 365 notecards with your favorite things and/or memories about a person, decorate them if you want to, fold them, and put them into a big jar which you could also decorate. My family and I did this for my grandfather recently and he absolutely loved it, especially because he had specifically asked for nothing that cost money. It’s a lot of memories to come up with, but it worked well for my family because we have a lot of people.

    • Sandy says

      Maybe you didn’t get what most people were trying to get by reading this article. Focusing on what “might” be a negative was the only comment you could make? I for one am extremely grateful for this article. ESPECIALLY number 9 since I have done this several times and it is always wonderfully received. Christmas is about GIVING – NOT BUYING. I suggest you reevaluate why you even clicked this link to begin with, then re-read the suggestions……..because that’s all they are… a suggestion on how to give something of yourself to someone else. This is in response to everyone else who only commented on NUMBER 9.

      THANK YOU CRAIG for this wonderful heartfelt article! CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS to you and your family!!!!

  18. says

    There are a lot of gifts that we can give without spending much. Crafts and other homemade stuff make great gifts. Personally, I love receiving personally made handcrafted items because I can feel their love for me. The effort and time spent in constructing the handmade gift is more appreciated than store-bought items.

  19. says

    I just wrote an abbreviated article to a similar topic and shared your article with our readers. Great ideas, some I shared are similar to yours. I love all the individual ideas and will be looking around your website in the future!

  20. says

    Hey there. Um, i’m currently searching for a suitable gift to give to my dad. He’s not that old actually just somewhere round 55. He’s practically my family’s handyman, he likes a little of gardening and doesn’t really go to the modern part of this generation. He likes to go jogging with some of his friends. My mother told me he already got me a gift which is like over $5 (i told my mom that i was setting that price as a minimum for my gifts so yeah) so i think i really need to get him something special. Please help tell me what i should give him.. thanks!

    • says

      I’m not sure how much help I can give, but let me try …
      If there’s nothing on this list of 50 homemade gifts then you may head over to Amazon.com and search for ‘best sellers’ in different categories. That’s how I usually brain storm gifts I plan to buy.

  21. Rob says

    Just come across your site – it’s excellent, thanks.
    My apologies if this idea is on your list somewhere as I haven’t had chance to read it all yet.
    My wife and kids gave me a hand decorated T shirt last Christmas. The plain white T cost about £2 ($3?) and they used coloured fabric pens. They decorated it with drawings, poems, doodles all about things I like or that mean something to me. There were funny drawings, silly doodles and also some heartfelt words. It’s a really personal thing so I wear mine as a bed shirt.

  22. says

    Oh, this is surprise! I’m not sure what to prepare for my dad, husband at Chrismtas. Gifts for men are really of troubles. Some inspiration comes for yours here. YOU save me yet!

  23. Susie says

    For my sisters wedding I knitted 150 squares and made it into a massive patchwork blanket of all their favourite colours. They had just bought a new house, and it was pretty empty, so this brightly coloured blanket on the couch really made the place more homely. 10 years later and it’s still on the couch, a bit faded but still great for cuddling when it’s cold and your sick. I’ve knitted lots of other gifts for my sister and her family, but that is still her favourite. I was only 14 when I knitted it but ;luckily I’d knitted before so I didn’t drop many stitches. But I think, (and my sis agrees :D ) that those little flaws made it all the more personal. It was a practical, but very sentimental gift which had taken me a whole year, but it was worth it.

  24. Jen says

    Beth in Texas,

    you are making your children sad, not the people NICE ENOUGH TO MAKE A CUSTOM CD FOR YOUR CHILDREN. It is NOT illegal to give, only to sell. That is redicilous that you throw away hand made items that people put thought into.

  25. Tae says

    This is a wonderful site – Thanks for sharing!
    It’s crunch time for me!
    May you and your family have a blessed Christmas!

  26. says

    I gave my best friend a coupon for one night of free babysitting. She said it was a great gift and worth at least $50. :) In the process of gift giving, think about what services people may be paying for you that you can provide for free as a gift. (ie. washing car, cleaning someone’s house, dog walking, pet sitting, babysitting). Love this list! Thanks!

  27. Maci Deshane says

    Hey! Great site! thank you so much! im only 17 but absolutly hate christmas shopping, not so much the spending money on people but spending money unnecessarily, i love the idea of going shopping for the little bits and pieces that you can put together into personalised gifts!!! some great ideas on here so thank you again! Maci

  28. says

    Homemade Christmas gifts are a great way to teach your family the real spirit of Christmas! Check out these ideas for homemade Christmas gifts and start a new tradition in your family.

  29. says

    What a great collection of ideas– Thank you!
    Some other ideas would be to make your own spice/seasoning mixes for a cook, or simple salt soaks and sugar scrubs as a spa type gift. (And I just have to note, I love the Why I Do What I Do parts of your posts…so adorable!)

  30. Kiki says

    Worst gifts to possible imagine. I mean yeah, some of them are a last minute possibility, but seriously? Give someone a PowerPointPresentation? For real?

  31. Claire says

    you are missing the point my dear! what has been illustrated beautifully here is something that is getting much more rare -time and creativity – in a world of fast everything. well done i love your suggestions and actually unless you have a gentle kind soul and a giver this Will ride above most takers heads. i also think these gift ideas are far more effective for those with families and who have had children so can identify with the sentiment at a phase in life where money is tight. can i suggest painting a pot or t shirt and supporting your local village xmas fairs etc-you can pick up some wonderful hand made pickles jams cakes etc that you can make hampers with. pressing flowers from a lovely walk together or a diary or photo album for the one you love? i do the xmas cd every xmas with songs that remind me of every friend to send in a card. they love it-i mean most end up in cd player in cars! time and special family time is something money really cannot buy. wishing you all well x

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