CHS Blog

Holiday Homemade Gift Ideas

Holiday Homemade Gift Ideas
Posted on December 21, 2016 by CHS

As the holidays rapidly approach, people will be shopping for gifts at malls or stores for friends and loved ones. Before you make those purchases, consider the many gifts that you and your children can make for others. Homemade gifts are treasured not just for the beauty of the gifts, but for the time and thought it took to make them.

Below are several ideas for homemade gifts that you can make with your child. All the crafts listed are appropriate for ages three and up. Toddlers can help with painting projects if you are using nontoxic paints, and even infants can put their hand and foot prints on the ornament dough.

Craft Projects

You can use a variety of craft materials to make gifts such as cards, ornaments, or keepsakes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Ornament Dough: You will need 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and between a ½ cup and 1 cup of water. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the water slowly until you have a dough consistency. Knead the dough with your hands. Use cookie-cutters or hands to shape the dough into stars, animals, or other shapes. Use the end of a pen to poke a hole through the ornament. Dry them overnight, or bake them in the oven at 300 F° until they are firm. Paint them and string them on yarn or ribbon. You can also use this dough to cast handprint or footprint ornaments.
  • Memory Book: If you have pictures of family members or friends you can make them a memory book. For family members you can scan/copy pictures and write/type information or stories about the people and bind them into a book using a binder, rings, or yarn. For friends you can write/type funny stories that go with the pictures. You can see more information about making memory books by clicking here.
  • Family Recipe Book: The cooks in your family will enjoy a family recipe book. You can either purchase a blank journal and write in the recipes or scan original recipes and bind them into a book with rings or yarn. If you have original recipes that are in the handwriting of family members, you can scan or photocopy them and add a picture of each person to their recipe page. This is a great way to share family traditions!
  • Poetry: Write a poem for a family member or friend, or you can find a poem on the Poetry Foundation website. Type the poem on quality paper and then personalize it with a picture you draw or photos you have taken. Once you have completed the artwork you can frame it.
  • Music: Everybody loves music! You can make a CD of favorite songs and make a decorative insert for the case, type up the lyrics of the person’s favorite song and turn it into a piece of art (see “Poetry” above), or you can write a song and present your loved one with the sheet music and a live performance.
  • Message Jars: You will need a mason jar, or any empty container with a lid. Decorate your jar and give it a name. For example: Reasons Why I Love You, You are Special Because…, or Let’s Have Fun! Cut slips of paper and on each one write a message, then fold the slips of paper and place them in the jar. Examples of messages include: I love you because you make me laugh, You are special because you are thoughtful, or Let’s make plans to go on a picnic. You can also make an Inspiration Jar filled with inspiring quotes or messages.
  • Sachets and Potpourri: Potpourri can be placed in decorative bowls or baskets around the home to scent the air. Sachets are potpourri in small drawstring bags made out of netting (you can usually find them at dollar stores). They can be placed in drawers to scent clothing. To learn how to make sachets and potpourri, click here.
  • Bird Feeders: The nature lover in your life can enjoy watching birds in their backyard with one of these easily made bird feeders.

Found in Nature Gifts

Found in nature gifts are natural objects such as rocks and seashells that you find during walks outside or when visiting parks and beaches. Nature items can be transformed into inexpensive pieces of art or decorations. Natural items can also be purchased for crafts, but if you find them outdoors, you can also share how and where you found them.

  • Rocks: Rocks can be painted with a beautiful picture or inspirational word. You can even make two different sets of rocks for playing tic-tac-toe, make them into checkers for a checkerboard, or decorate one side only so they can be turned upside down to play a memory game. If you need some painting tips and inspiration, click here.
  • Seashells: You can glue seashells on picture frames, terracotta pots for plants, create a beach scene by decorating a piece of cardstock paper with sand, seashells, and blue paint, make a wind chime by hanging seashells from a stick with yarn, attach them to a sticky magnet dot (you can purchase a small pack at craft stores), or even make little animal figures by gluing them together. Click here for more ideas.
  • Sticks, Branches, or Driftwood: You can glue sticks to cardstock paper, or a painted piece of cardboard to make a tic-tac-toe board for the painted rocks. They can be trimmed and glued to heavy paper or cardboard to make different shapes such as a heart, star, or Christmas tree. For more ideas, click here.
  • Flowers and Leaves: After you gather dry flowers and leaves, snip the stems close to their base, or leave the stems on. Place the flowers face down in between the pages of a telephone book or between newspaper pages, and put something heavy on top. Leave it there for 7-10 days. When you open the phone book your flower or leaf will be pressed. You can frame it, or use it to create a work of art. Kids can also try flower pounding to make bookmarks or pictures.

Gifts to Cook or Bake

Special food treats like cookies and cakes are fun to make with kids and make wonderful gifts. You can wrap treats in plastic wrap and decorate it with a bow, or decorate a basket for larger items. Click on the links below to see recipes.

Additional Resources

Sign up for CHS updates
Areas of Interest