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5 Last-minute, homemade Christmas gift ideas



Calah Alexander - published on 12/21/17

These gift ideas can help you create something thoughtful and useful -- even if you're down to 2 days till Christmas!

If you’re anything like me, you might have just realized that you only have two days left to order anything from Amazon Prime in time for Christmas. And if you’re anything like me in years past, you might not realize that until December 22. Ahem.

Never fear! As the past mistress of forgetting Christmas gifts for everyone except my kids (because really, there’s only so many times you can be desperately asked for Pokémon Sun and Moon cards before you remember to put them in your Amazon cart), I have much experience with last-minute gift ideas. But not of the gift card variety … I prefer gifts that reflect thought and effort, rather than a debit card transaction.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my top 5 last-minute, homemade gift ideas.

1.  A favorite recipe book

In my early cooking “gustatory” phase when I first discovered the joys of pairing food with wine, I spent six months trying out various recipes and matching them with wines. I compiled the results of my experiments into two empty cookbook binders, which I gave to my mom and mother-in-law for Christmas.

This was a fun gift, but it’s one I’d kind of like a do-over on. I haven’t made any of those recipes in years, but in the 10-year interim I’ve developed a treasure trove of well-loved recipes that don’t depend on wine pairings to be delicious. This is a super easy gift idea, too — just type up and print out your recipes, find a cute binder and a bunch of laminated page protectors at Hobby Lobby, write a personalized note for the first page, and put it all together. This is an especially great Christmas gift for daughters going off to college or getting married, or friends starting their own families.

2. A treasure box/shadow box

This is more for the niece and nephew in your life whom you adore too much for an Amazon click-and-buy. Go find a neat box and fill it with a few keepsakes they can add to over the years. My parents did this for my son last year and included a silver dollar from the year he was born, a few special pictures of the three of them, a special matchbox car, and a handwritten poem that my mom made up. He absolutely adores his treasure box, and often asks to get it down and look through it or add something special. Way better than Pokémon cards any day.

3.  Sugar scrub

This sounds stupid but it’s not. Most women I know love luxurious bath items like sugar scrubs but rarely buy them for ourselves, so gifting someone with this is already thoughtfully indulgent. But it’s even more thoughtful if you make it yourself, using organic ingredients you might already have in your kitchen (coconut oil and sugar, anyone?). The only real out-of-pocket cost would be some essential oils to aid in relaxation and skin-soothing benefits, and some pretty jars and printable labels.

4.  Personalized cutting board

Unless you’re a wood-burning artist, this one isn’t quite so DIY. But if you hurry, you can still get on Etsy and find someone to wood-burn a message into a cutting board.

It might sound weird, but imagine the possibilities! Does your mom have a favorite recipe that she knows by heart but always looks at anyway, and is always losing? Have it burned into a cutting board for her! Does your sister cook all the time and constantly have to google “how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?” Put it on a cutting board!

It might not be something you made yourself, but it’s still an incredibly thoughtful gift to give someone you love who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.

5.  Homemade rosary or chaplet

Wait, hear me out! This is not at all as difficult as it sounds, trust me. I am the least crafty person I have ever met, and one year I decided to make chaplets for everyone in my husband’s family. Because I had no idea what I was doing, I bought a chaplet-making kit that included instructions. And then I followed the instructions.

You guys, it was so easy that it was actually fun. I really enjoyed making the gifts, and I loved that I had made my in-laws gifts with my own two hands that they would actually use. Do not be intimidated! If I (the person who cannot draw a symmetrical stick figure) can do this, so can you.

That goes for all these ideas, actually! As a card-carrying non-scrapbooker who can’t sew and is allergic to ironing, let me assure you that these are 100 percent doable. Go forth and create, and Merry Christmas!


Read more:
7 musical Christmas gifts for kids of all ages

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