’Tis the season for brands to excitedly email you with all their offerings and gift ideas.
In fact, everywhere you turn you see notices to shop, shop, shop for the perfect presents for your friends and family. It can be a little overwhelming, especially if gift giving isn’t your love language or you don’t have a lot of extra money.
In this sea of options, the art of homemade gifts can be a life raft. Whether it’s a handcrafted candle or a tin of freshly baked cookies, the effort you put into creating such a gift demonstrates an inherent care and thoughtfulness that will go a long way. Follow these tips on all things homemade gifting to help you come up with the best way to celebrate the ones you love.
Assess what you have to offer
You don’t have to take up knitting just so you can make custom scarves for your friends. A homemade gift can be anything you create with another person in mind, whether you bake them something, curate a mixtape based on their musical taste, write them a poem, or even repot a cutting of a beloved plant.
Gifting also doesn’t have to be restricted to a concrete item. Some of the best gifts are born from people using their skills to help someone else. Perhaps you are great with a camera and could offer a portrait session, or maybe you have perfected meal prep and could write down easy recipes and a food shopping list for a busy friend. Are you handy? Offer to change light bulbs, fix that stubborn doorknob, or hang a chandelier. If you have access to a hose and a portable vacuum, pick up a loved one’s car to wash and detail. Though certain tasks may not feel like a lot to you, they can go a long way toward giving a boost to someone you care about.
Consider your recipient
Another important step of homemade gifting is spending some time thinking about the other person and what they enjoy. Do they have a sweet tooth? Are they a devoted plant parent? Imagine their home in your head, and notice any themes that arise. The more details you can remember, the easier it will be to identify an idea that might make a meaningful gift for them.
It’s also important to factor in the lifestyle and limitations of your loved ones. Some people curate the art and objects in their home carefully, so a surprise gift they are meant to display might not go over well. For this type of person, something edible would likely be a better choice. Conversely, if your giftee has a lot of food allergies and you are not 100 percent clear on them, stick with a gift that’s not meant to be eaten.
Now that you have a sense of your skill set and what your giftee might appreciate, it’s time to figure out how to match the two. Here are some examples to help get you started.
Gifts for a foodie
If your recipient loves a good baked good, fire up the oven and channel your inner Paul Hollywood. To craft multiple gifts, buy a few metal tins and bake batches of several different types of cookies to include. You can even get ambitious and try your hand at macarons, which can be made in a variety of flavors and colors that make your gift box pop.
Thanks to the popularity of charcuterie boards, little dips and spreads are also a great option for gifts, like this whiskey bacon jam that won an award from Taste of Home. Or whip up this mustard pretzel dip and package it with soft pretzel nuggets for a delightful snack gift.
For the chocoholics on your list, choose an assortment of finger foods like pretzel rods, nuts, graham crackers, and strawberries and coat them in melted chocolate. Use sprinkles or drizzles of white chocolate to give them a finished look.
Gifts for self-care
There is a reason DIY body scrubs are so popular—they are easy to make, they smell wonderful, and who doesn’t love smooth skin? Try this customizable recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, which includes a PDF of cute labels you can print out. To be kinder to plumbing, use jojoba or olive oil, as these two oils are more likely than others to remain in liquid form as they go down the drain. And opt out of coffee grounds and oatmeal unless you know your giftee has a drain cover that will keep those particles from going into their pipes.
Bath bombs are another great gift idea, and they’re very cost-effective if you’re planning to make a batch of them for several people. Find detailed instructions here on how to make ones that successfully stick together and fizz. Use lavender and chamomile oils for a relaxing end-of-the-day soak. For eco-friendly packaging, you can buy small paperboard boxes or wrap them individually with brown kraft paper.
When it comes to deciding on the right gift, don’t overthink the process too much. At the end of the day, it’s not the cost or even the result that will matter most—it’s the time, effort, and care you put into it.