- Scarves- If you crochet or knit, these are really easy to make. Since I've been crocheting for about 6 years now, I can crank out a scarf in a couple hours. Even if you've never crocheted or knitted before, it's fairly simple to learn. There are countless online videos that can show you the simple stiches. Another option is to purchase a knitting loom. These are inexpensive alternatives to knitting with needles and are typically much easier to work with faster results. Scarves make perfect gifts year after year since they easily become worn and wearers crave the change in color and texture. (Tip: use a larger needle if you're just starting out)
- Drink Mixes. These are fast and easy to throw together in a mason jar, and make the perfect inexpensive gift for a friend or coworker. Add a decorative ribbon and attach a card with instructions. Try layering the ingredients for a festive look.
- Personalized Totes. Plain canvas totes are incredibly cheap at craft stores, and they make perfect gifts when decorated with your special touch. I like to applique the recipient's name or initial in a decorative fabric (think fabric scraps!). Sew on rickrack, buttons and flowers with the recipient in mind, and they will have a sturdy, personalized tote to accompany on their shopping trips.
- Jewelry. Think button necklaces. Many people are actually surprized to discover how easy it is to make their own jewelry. Get creative and put those long forgotten beads to good use.
- Candles. Make your own by melting together the leftover wax in your own. One idea is to put the new wax in a decorative tea-cup (think thrift store). For women, you really can't go wrong with candles.
- Framed puzzles. We did this one last year, and it was a big hit. All you need is a dollar store puzzle assembled(the funnest part by far)and glued with puzzle glue. Then go to the thrift store and find a matching frame from an old print.
The possibilities for homemade gifts really are endless when you use your imagination and creativity. Last year, I wrote a cookbook for my older sister who was clueless in the kitchen, and that gift meant more to her than any store bought item. Christmas is a time for giving, and when you give homemade gifts, you give not only a little of your money but also a little of your time. The people you give to will appreciate and see the love in the things you make for them more so than the things you buy for them. It really highlights the true spirit of Christmas when your focus is on each other, rather than on the malls and your unpaid credit card bill.