Looking to give a gift from the heart that won’t break the budget? Consider going homemade this holiday season..
Homemade gifts are becoming an increasingly rare breed, likely because they offer a little extra time and effort on your part. But consider this: it’s probably nicer to spend your hours in the kitchen with a holiday movie playing in the background, than it is to pass time in line at the mall.
Another perk to offering homemade goodies is that you can make batches in bulk, tackling your entire Christmas gift recipient list at once. If this all sounds pretty good to you, then check out these ides for homemade gifts that are sure to please.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
‘Tis the season to sip on a hot drink, so gift your loved ones with some homemade hot chocolate mix. Fill a jar with 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ cup of semisweet chocolate chips, and crushed candy canes (about 3 canes worth)—layer the ingredients for a visually pleasing effect. Instruct recipients to melt the ingredients into a quart of milk in a saucepan and voila—hot chocolate for a family of four!
Take this gift to the next level by pairing it with homemade marshmallows, or kick it up a notch by pairing it with a mini-bottle of liquor, like Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Whether soothing sore muscles from the ski slope or warming up frozen feet at night, “magic” bags are a universally pleasing gift that aren’t too tricky to make. Sew small square sachets together by stitching two squares of fabric together. Leave an opening, and fill the sachet with filler like uncooked rice, beans, or flax seeds. Mix in some essential oils, dried lavender, cinnamon, or another aromatic of your choice, and sew the top seam together.
You simply can’t go wrong with a batch of fresh Christmas cookies. Choose a tried-and-true recipe—this is a great time to call your mom and ask her how she made those ginger snaps that you grew up on. You can also check out some traditional cookies from areas around the world—Estonian gingerbread is a great example.
If you like the idea of giving something from the kitchen but don’t quite trust your baking skills, granola is relatively easy to whip together. Health-conscious recipients will probably welcome a break from sweets. Check out an easy, healthy recipe here.
Jams and Jellies
Store-bought jams and jellies never taste as good as the homemade stuff, so pull out your jars and get ready to spend a day in the kitchen. Most jam and jelly recipes make huge patches, making it relatively easy to prepare in bulk. They also last awhile: next year, when you’re trying to figure out what to do with all those end-of-summer blueberries, whip up some jam and save them for the Christmas season.
Dough ornaments are a great idea for those hoping to get their kids involved. They can be a sweet personal add-on to a teacher gift or a gift to the grandparents. Consider personalizing the ornament with the recipient’s name, and use it in lieu of a gift tag. Let your kids help with the mixing, rolling, cookie cutting, and decorating. Find an easy recipe, like this one.