The holidays are my favorite time of year. I liked December as a kid, but as an adult…well, you can ask my husband: I am almost more excited about the Christmas holiday than the kids are.
We have a DIY holiday tradition in our house. For almost 10 years, we have made everything from truffles to etched glass items for Christmas gifts. Once Pinterest came into the picture, it was much easier to find and organize ideas for what to make for family members young and old.
Why do we make gifts every year instead of joining the buying frenzy? Well, it’s the Christmas spirit. It’s the act of doing for others instead of just buying for others. Even if it is a well thought out purchase, a hand-made gift means more in the long run. Plus, it is a way to do something nice for all of those close to us instead of going broke buying presents for a select few. Now that I have children, I am trying to reinforce the idea of doing for others and that it is better to give than receive. Both hard lessons are easier to understand when you are making cool things to give to others.
If you are thinking about handmade gifts for this year or years to come, these are some gifts that were hits in our family.
Crochet Animals: One year all of the kids in the family received a crochet-stuffed-bear. The kids loved them. I used these instructions, but you can find just about anything on Ravelry as far as patterns.
Freezer-Paper-Stenciled shirts: Another gift we have made for kids. Again, since you can personalize them with pretty much any design you can draw or print off of the internet, the sky is the limit.
Canned Goods: Jams, soups, pickles, and more can be big hits. Our biggest hit seemed to be pickles and barbecue sauce.
Etched Glass: Thanks to purchasing a huge container of glass-etching compound, we have enough acidic goo to make glass etched items for several years. Last year we made name-etched casserole pans.
Ornaments: You can even use the ornaments as name tags on gifts. This year we are making melted snowmen. This tradition actually goes back to when I was a kid when the dad of a family friend made wood ornaments for all of the grandkids every year.
Magnets: I like this tutorial and template for making fake Polaroid magnets. These make a great gift for in-laws and grandparents.
Notebooks: One of the gifts I am putting together for all of the kids this year is little cereal box notebooks. It doesn’t matter if the kid is 1 or 18, they are getting a notebook this year. Some of them will come with stickers, some have notebook paper in them and come with a nice pen. Either way, it was the gift I came up with that all of the kids would enjoy this year.
What else are we making this year? Well, I could tell you, but it would ruin the surprise.