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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

Nov 28, 2017 11:00AM ● By Kendra Kaiserman

Made with Love

December 2017
Story by Kendra Kaiserman

We all have those people in our lives that seem impossible to shop for. Instead of shopping for a gift, try making a personalized gift for your loved ones. Here are some easy gift ideas that you can make at home, using items that you can find around the house or that are easily accessible at your local grocery store, craft store or value store.


Salsa and chips, jerky, peppermint bark, cookies, candies or any type of sweets are all delectable choices to give as gifts. To package your food items, Mason jars can be filled with pretty much anything from dry ingredients to make cookies to hot cocoa mix. Other ideas include pancake mix, jams, chai tea mix, chocolate sauce, muffin mix, caramel corn, chocolate-dipped pretzels or brownie mix. For a more savory option, try a ranch dressing mix, a dry rub for meat, barbecue sauce or a pasta fagioli soup mix. Attach a tablespoon or teaspoon to the jar with a ribbon.

Other creative ways to package your food items could be stacked on coasters, wrapped in individual serving dishes such as ramekins, mugs or old-fashioned glasses, wrapped like candy with the ends tied or placed in an egg carton lined with cupcake wrappers. Use cellophane and lots of ribbon.


Mason jar lid coasters: For once, the Mason jar isn’t the star of the DIY hack—it’s the lid we are focused on, instead. Place four lids upside down on top of an adhesive cork shelf liner. Trace around the lids with a pen, then cut out the circles. Stamp an image into the center of each cork circle, using solvent-based ink, which won’t smear when wet. Let the ink dry at least one minute, then peel the backing off the cork circles and affix within the lids.

Bent spoon recipe box: All you need is a small box, which you can find at a craft store for a few dollars, or pick up a recipe box from Enjoy the Store for $20, an old spoon and some Glass, Metal & More glue. You can paint or stain your box or leave as-is. Bend your spoon at a 90-degree angle. Lightly sand the widest point of the handle’s back side. Apply Glass, Metal & More glue along the sanded area. Center the spoon atop the box, press and hold for one minute, then let set overnight. For extra flourish, include a set of recipe cards in your recipe box.

Candles: Scour your pantry, flea markets and antique shops for items that would make containers for candles, such as teacups, sugar bowls or jelly jars. Choose pieces solid enough to withstand hot wax. To make your candle, you will need wax, wicks, putty, a pencil and a candy thermometer, all of which can be found at a craft store. Use soy or beeswax to make your candle. Most waxes adhere well to porcelain, ceramic and glass containers. To make clear candles, use gel wax in glass. Wax is sold in blocks, sheets and shavings that can be melted on a stove or in a microwave.

Personalized pillows: We used a freezer paper stencil method for these pillows. Print out your design and cut it out. Tape freezer paper onto your print out, shiny side down. After you cut out the freezer paper onto your print out, iron it onto the material for your pillow. Then use acrylic paint to paint on your design to your pillow. After the paint dries, peel the freezer paper off.


Photo album or photo book: Gather old photos or print out new ones to make your own photo album or photo book. You can grab an album or book from your local craft store or department store.

Picture frames: You can find frames at the dollar store or a craft store, print your pictures at home and use any kind of paint or craft items to decorate the frame. You can also use words or quotes to decorate the frame.

Frame your child’s artwork: Grandparents love to receive masterpieces from their grandchildren.

Souvenir boxes: Have you gone on a family vacation or a trip with friends recently? Keep those memories forever by making a souvenir box.  Cut your destination out of a map and use a glue stick to paste it onto the box’s lid. Affix a label on the lid and write in the location and dates of your journey.

Bookmarks: Cut velvet ribbon into nine-inch lengths. Purchase ribbon clamps the same width as your ribbon, then use flat-nose jewelry pliers to affix clamps to both ends of each ribbon. Finish by attaching charms, trinkets or vintage earrings to the clamps with jump rings.

Jewelry magnets: You can turn any piece of jewelry into a refrigerator magnet by using a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the pin hardware from the back of each piece of jewelry, then affix a strong magnet with a small bead of instant glue. Let dry overnight.


Capes are easy to make and can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Make them using whatever color or pattern you want. You can even put a superhero logo on the back.

Aprons are the perfect gift for those special chefs in your life. Personalize them for an added touch.

Sweater sleeves can go on wine bottles and make for great host/hostess gifts. You will need an old or thrifted sweater, scissors, a sewing machine and thread, ribbon and a pen or marker. Cut 12 inches of the sleeve off. Then, using a marker, outline the bottom of a wine bottle (adding a bit for seam allowance) and cut a circle out of the sweater. Turn the sleeve inside out so the wrong side is facing outward. Match the circle to the cut edge of the sleeve and sew together around the circle. If your sweater sleeve is larger than your circle, you might have to make a small dart for the extra. Turn right side out and add a bottle of wine and a ribbon.

Quilts: A standard quilt or a T-shirt quilt is always a winner. It may be too late in the game to make a quilt, but you can always start to think about making one for next year’s holiday gifts.