When I was a kid, my parents would take us to the dollar store and give us $1 to spend on each family member’s Christmas presents. While it wasn’t much – and I’m pretty sure my grandfather got a big box of Q-tips for several years in a row – it taught us the joy of giving and the pride that comes from presenting a loved one a gift just from you.
I remember one year wrapping my gifts in notebook paper because I was so anxious to get them under the tree! I couldn’t wait on my mom to get real wrapping paper because I was so excited.
While you may not be operating on a $1 budget, finances can be tight when it comes to the holidays! And if you’d like to get something a *little* nicer than Q-tips for your loved ones, DIY gifts are often the perfect option – not to mention, often received with extra gratitude for the time & effort you spent in creating a homemade gift. 🙂
Over the years, I’ve curated my own list of these 8 great DIY gifts – ones that are both practical for the recipient and inexpensive for the giver! I hope you find something that is the perfect fit for someone on your list.
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1. Assorted spices
One very practical gift, that is also SO easy to make for larger groups – like extended family, close friends, coworkers, or teachers – are spice mixes. You can buy plastic containers like the ones I used several years ago from Amazon* or glass spice containers like these*, depending on the size desired and number of gifts you’re making at one time. Some of my favorite, easy recipes include:
2. Glass pebble magnets
Making magnets out of clear, glass pebbles from the Dollar Tree is such a fun gift with a million ways to customize! This tutorial from Mod Podge Rocks Blog shows you how to put them together step-by-step, and she specifically uses fun photos of family for each magnet. When making your own, you can use photos, printed text, or a mixture of both for so many combinations:
- Use holiday-themed clip-art to make a set for any time of the year!
- Simple monograms for an individual or married couple
- Make a post-wedding set that includes one magnet with the couple’s wedding date and others with photos or words like “love”, etc.
- Use words like faith, hope, love, family, etc. for a generic set (this is perfect for extended family!)
Glass pebbles are fairly cheap at any craft or dollar store. If you’re making a larger batch, you could order in bulk at Dollar Tree online*!
3. Seashell candles
These DIY candles are so easy and are especially sentimental if your family takes a summer beach trip together! Pick up shells on your next trip and you already have most of the materials on hand!
This video breaks down the project so well:
Lazy Tip – when we made them, I didn’t want to buy a massive amount of wicks or candle wax. Instead, I melted tea light candles* on my stove top, carefully emptied them into the seashell, and re-positioned the wick! For the best results, I recommend following the video but you can try this method if you’re really in a creative pinch 🙂
4. Cozy mug kits
One year, we gave a round of gifts inspired by our trip to Ireland. In love with Irish coffee, we gifted our friends with a “make-your-own” set. Using these $1 glass mugs from Dollar Tree*, we filled it with a mini-bottle of Jameson, a mini-bottle of Baileys, and this adorable printed recipe. They all loved it!
For a non-alcoholic spin, we also gave some of our family the same mugs filled with hot chocolate packets. Starbucks offers fancier flavors- like Salted Caramel, Double Chocolate, Peppermint, or Toasted Marshmellow* – which made it feel more unique and out of the ordinary 🙂
5. Family calendars
As I’ve mentioned before, wooden hanging birthday calendars are such a fun, meaningful gift. Although it can be a little more expensive and time-consuming than others mentioned so far, it is perfect for that special someone like a parent or grandparent. You can follow DIY instructions here, or you can pay to have one made through Etsy*!
6. Hand-painted coasters
Similar to the photo magnets, the options are endless using simple ceramic or stone tiles to make coasters! This tutorial gives a great overview, and if I may add – I also add a few pieces of crafting felt* to the back to make it easier on furniture!
7. Tea Bag Christmas trees or wreaths
If your family members or friends love a hot drink, these crafty tea gifts are so cute! I’ve been wanting to make these for years now. You can either fashion them into wreaths for a larger amount, or make “trees” as smaller gifts. Check out these great tutorials below:
- Learn how to make tea bag wreaths (for your home or for gifting!)
- Learn how to make a tea bag Christmas tree
(Another tip – Did you know you can buy bulk tea on Amazon? We do this with our favorite black tea* because it’s so much cheaper than small boxes in store!)
8. Sugar hand scrub
One of the very first DIY gifts I made for my friends & family was this hand scrub! It is the easiest project to throw together, and I got so many requests for the “recipe” or second batches 🙂 Check out how to make it here!
If you save & clean candle jars, it can be a “free” but classy way to package the scrub! If you don’t have those on hand, you can easily pick up glass containers from Dollar Tree or order a set from Amazon*.
Other Gift Guides & Resources:
- Your Guide to Meaningful Gifts Without The Stress (+ free planners)
- 10 Practical & Meaningful Gift Ideas for Grandparents
- Housewarming Gifts for Any Budget
- 25 Postpartum Self-Care Gift Ideas for New Moms (+ printable coupons)
- 8 Mix-&-Match Engagement Gift Ideas (that Aren’t Bridal Magazines!)
- Best Gifts on Amazon – recommendations according to interest & personality
- 6 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas to Give More With Less