Editor’s Note: Tanya from Eat Laugh Purr is back to share some more great holiday gift ideas with us.
It will be nine years since I moved to LA (thanks Shannon!) in just a couple of weeks. I’ve accepted the fact that the 405 is always a parking lot, the high cost-of-living near the beach and that the Terminator was once our governor, but I still struggle with celebrating Christmas in Southern California. It’s warm. It’s green. And Santa wears shorts and surfs. It’s weird.
To be fair, I always go back home to Minnesota and enjoy snow and sub-artic temps for the holidays. And yes, I whine constantly about the snow and freezing cold temperatures while fussing over wearing closed toe shoes, instead of my beloved flip flops. After all, being contradictory can be a lot of fun and makes it easier for my parents to bid adieu to me at the end of my stay. 🙂
The other adjustment I’ve made is with my Christmas presents. I used to arrive home with beautifully wrapped presents that were topped with big, shiny bows. Since airport security frowns upon traveling with wrapped presents these days, I wait to purchase gifts until I get home. Last year, I took it another step further and started making homemade gifts. Most of the people in my life have what they need, so they appreciate gifts with meaning that are wrapped in sentimentality.
Because homemade gifts require a little elbow grease and time, I’m sharing these ideas now, so you can be done by Christmas, without breaking a sweat. So when December rolls around and everyone is fighting for parking spots at the mall, you can kick back, sip some eggnog and laugh your way through National Lampoons Christmas Vacation again.
I’m a big fan of giving food as holiday gifts. Granola is a great choice because it is very versatile, has a long shelf life and transports well. Some holiday treats, like cookies, can be very delicate, and a box full of broken cookies isn’t very impressive. Granola is also less of a sweet treat and more healthy, which is an added bonus too and one the recipient will appreciate. Check out this delicious vanilla almond granola from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Do you have someone in your life who is a foodie? This is a great gift for them. Infused olive oils can add such depth to marinades and dressings or even when lightly drizzled over a finished entree, like pasta or grilled fish. The Kitchn shares how to make infused olive oils and tips on storage.
This is another easy-to-make gift and a bit unexpected. You can up the curb appeal by putting them in a mason jar with a fancy bow. Or in a plastic bag placed in a nice ceramic coffee mug. Get Greatist’s recipe for cocoa almonds, here. I also made a version of those cinnamon roasted almonds you can find at the mall every holiday season on my blog as an alternative option.
Photo courtesy of Eat Laugh Purr.
The men in your life would certainly appreciate this homemade aftershave. It has vodka and rum in it, so if they don’t want to use it to keep their faces smooth, they could drink it instead as it contains all edible ingredients. 🙂 You can find out how to make this rum-tastic aftershave on Art of Manliness.
If you spend any time on Pinterest, you have likely seen this crafty and fun idea floating around and maybe even pinned it yourself. Men can be difficult to buy gifts for, especially if they already have most everything they need. Since everyone enjoys a good beverage, this is a simple and cute way to dress up some root beer, craft beer or even a bottle of wine. You can find directions on how to make the reindeer ears at Crafty Sisters.
Photo courtesy of Crafty Sisters
This makes a great gift for a co-worker or one of your children’s teachers. You can add a thank you message, which makes it even more personal. Include some chalk, so they can put their own message on it later, like warning others to keep their mitts off their mug! You can find out how to make your own chalkboard mug at Wit and Whistle.
This is the perfect gift for someone who loves to be pampered or needs some pampering. It takes just a few ingredients to make (and you likely have all the ingredients in your pantry) and smells so good. I love this stuff and know you and your friends will too. You can find the recipe for pumpkin spice sugar scrub on my blog, Eat Laugh Purr.
Candles add so much ambiance to a room. I have a ton of candle lanterns and holders that I no longer use, since my cat, Max, likes to nudge anything not glued down onto the floor. 🙂 These homemade aluminum lanterns from Ruffled Blog are gorgeous and will certainly impress your friends and family members.
Since my love of Max is greater than my love of candles, I gave away most of my candles, but I still want my apartment to smell good. Reed diffusers are the perfect alternative. They smell great, but pose no fire hazard to a mischievous cat. They also make an easy and elegant gift that you can personalize with the recipient’s favorite aroma. The Happy Housewife shares how to make an inexpensive reed diffuser that costs less than 50 cents.
I cannot sew, but if I could, I would make these pillowcases. They are unique and adorable and would make a great gift for any couple in your life. A Beautiful Mess has step-by-step instructions on how to make these original his and her pillowcases.
Photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess
This is an oldie but a goodie. Some people are just plain hard to buy for. You ask them what they want and they just shrug their shoulders. This is the perfect gift for them because they likely don’t want (or possibly even need) anything tangible. But a gift certificate for a night of free babysitting or a back massage or a get-out-of-a-chore coupon is something they will value and appreciate.
We are all so busy these days and recording family recipes, passed down from generation-to-generation, is something many of us neglect to do. We have all the time in the world, until we don’t. Send out an email blast to your family members and ask them to send you their favorite family recipes. You can be fancy and have the recipes professionally bound and printed or keep it simple with a nice Word or Pages document. I’d would also suggest having your relatives share photos and memories that could be included in the book as well, turning it into a truly treasured keepsake.
This is the gift I gave my parents and grandparents last year. My parents helped me find old pictures from my childhood (Yes, I know. It’s kind of tacky to have the recipient help make their present, but I don’t have old photos and they do!). I scanned the photos into my computer, added a personalized message, printed it on photo paper and framed it. Easy peasy and very low cost with a high impact.
Hopefully these ideas inspired you to take on the challenge of making some great DIY gifts for family and friends this holiday season. Remember — a great gift doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be enjoyed. Your own two hands can make some of the best gifts of the season. If you want more ideas, check out 7 DIY Holiday Gifts Your Friends and Family Will Love from last year. And for those who still need to create their holiday budget, Shannon has some great tips to help you.
Do you prefer to buy gifts or make them? What is your favorite DIY holiday gift – either made or received?
On another note, I try to forget that the Terminator was our governor at one point. ;)
All my friends teased me about the Terminator being Governor of California when I moved here. Of course, Jesse Ventura was also the Governor of Minnesota, so ... glass house. And both he and Arnold were in the movie, Predator, so at some point or another, I'll live somewhere that another actor from Predator will become Governor! LOL!