No matter how you observed the holidays last year, there’s a good chance your celebrations were made smaller, and a bit less festive, by the global pandemic. As plans form around this year’s gatherings, you’re probably thinking about making them extra special—particularly for the friends and family you missed seeing last year.
With that in mind, we curated a few great DIY ideas below. Although not all of the edible treats are ideal for a healthy lifestyle, treating yourself and your loved ones this time of year is expected.
You don’t have to be Martha Stewart
There’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to DIY ideas. Whether you learned how to knit, took up photography or baking during the pandemic, or anything else, you can let your creativity run wild in making memories for those you love. Homemade gifts hold a special meaning for friends and family who are lucky enough to be on the receiving end. Not only that, but there are plenty of options for getting the kids involved.
- Citrus marmalade with star anise is perfect for loved ones who enjoy dips and spreads. Put it in a basket with some beautiful homemade or bakery biscuits.
- Homemade vanilla extract is a super-easy DIY gift, but it involves some planning. Pick up a bottle of quality rum or bourbon, toss in 5-10 whole vanilla beans sliced lengthwise, and steep in a cool, dark place for a few months. Then, pour into cute individual jars and add some festive ribbon or a tag.
- Gingerbread fudge will have everyone on your list licking their lips. Easy to make and fun to give away (after taste testing, of course), this special treat might become a new holiday tradition.
Got some little helpers?
- Hot chocolate stirrers are a great gift for kids to help make for relatives or friends who love a hot mug of cocoa. Just melt your chocolate of choice and carefully dip the straight ends of candy canes into it. Add sprinkles and set out to cool on a tray. Kids can have fun creating gifts to go along with these, like homemade marshmallows or hot chocolate mixes.
- Stick gnomes are easy to make, and they create a great keepsake for grandparents. Putting them together also involves heading outdoors for supplies, so your littles can breathe fresh air and get some exercise, too.
- Task your child with finding a stick about an inch thick. Use a saw to cut it into segments at an angle, so that the cut side becomes the oval face of the gnome. Use the saw to cut a flat bottom to make sure your stick gnome can stand upright. Paint the face in whatever fun colors you like, making sure to include a gnome hat at the top of your oval.
- Salt dough ornaments are another great gift for children to create. These classic keepsakes are easy to make with ingredients you probably have on hand. Cut them into any shape and decorate with paint, markers, or even glitter. Check out this link for a ton of ideas for making use of salt dough.
Wrap it up
- Even purchased gifts can have a bit of homemade flair if you personalize the wrapping paper. For a dose of earth friendliness, wrap gifts in fabric scraps or repurpose items like baskets to present gifts to loved ones. If you want to make your own wrapping paper, purchase your preferred paper type from a supply store and adorn it with stamps, drawings, or handwritten messages. Brown paper grocery bags cut apart and turned inside out can also be a great—and cost-free—option, especially if you ask your kids to decorate them. For more ideas and instructions for hand-decorating, click here and here. If you love the idea of designing your own paper but just don’t have the time, try designing it online. You can even turn your year of photos into collages for wrapping paper.
We hope you’ll enjoy adding your own personal touch to the gifts you give your friends and loved ones this season. Whether you’re putting new hobbies to use, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, or simply enjoying a moment or two of creativity with your family, handmade gifts make a lasting memory for friends and family alike.