I don’t know about you all, but I LOVE a good handmade Christmas gift. They are so thoughtful, sentimental, and they warm my little heart to the core. Unfortunately for me, when it comes to making those types of gifts for others I am afraid that I somehow missed out on a couple of the creative genes necessary for making cutesy things. I kind of like to imagine that if I tried my hand, I could be the queen of Pinterest fails.
Why am I telling you this? Because today I’m going to share a few creative homemade gift ideas that even I can manage! So, if you’re like me and are lacking in the creative-artsy-amazingness genes, this one’s for you. And, honestly, if you are the creative genius who can make Pinterest look like child’s play, this one’s for you too. Because even the creative geniuses sometimes need a little inspiration.
1. Homemade Candy Bags
My husband and I have discovered in the past that it’s easy to go a little crazy with this idea…
There are SO many different types of candies that are actually fairly easy to make from home. One that we did for Timothy’s co-workers for Valentine’s Day was chocolate-covered caramels. And in the past we’ve also done chocolate-covered pretzels for Christmas. Both are simple and you can get “fancy” dressing them up by using food coloring in white almond bark and drizzling it over the finished product.
For the pretzels, simply buy an assortment of small pretzels and large pretzel sticks, melt some almond bark, chocolate chips, or melting chocolate (Ghirardelli’s melting chips are the best!), dip them and lay them out on a wax-paper lined baking sheet to harden. Then refrigerate them until hard, and package as desired.
Caramels are also simpler than they seem. Once you have your chocolate melted, unwrap some individually wrapped caramels and microwave them for about 15 seconds so that they are warm and moldable, but not melting.
Then cut them in half (or leave them whole), mold them into little balls and dip in chocolate! Lay them out on a wax paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate until hard.
2. Apple Butter
If you have a crockpot, this isn’t actually that hard to make. And honestly, you can even cheat a little bit and save time by starting with applesauce instead of apples, because that way you literally just dump the applesauce, sugar, and spices in the crockpot and let it cook, stirring it every few hours. It does however take many hours (likely between 7 and 10), but they are mostly passive hours.
For my apple butter, I use applesauce, brown and white sugar (though less than most recipes call for), cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. When cooking it, I actually cook it on high for the first 4 or 5 hours and I have it mostly covered, but cracked a little bit to allow some of the water to cook off so you get a nice thick apple butter. Then you can cook the remaining few hours on low. If you want an actual recipe to follow for ideas of how much of each spice to add, here are a few: One, two, or three. If you want to can them in a water bath so they last longer, you can do that, or if you don’t have time, you can just refrigerate the jars. To make them look a little more holiday-ish, you can take some thin Christmas ribbon and use a hot-glue gun to attach it around the ring of the mason jar lid. You can also get some holiday fabric and cut small circles to cover the lid; attach it by simply screwing the ring over it while it’s covering the lid.
3. Mini Books
You guys, I saved the best for last… These are amazingly wonderful little creations and I LOVE them.
My friend has an Etsy shop where she sells beautiful digital prints and mini book kits. If you have no idea what a mini book is, you’re not alone. I had never heard of them before either. But your life will be better now because I’m going to tell you what they are. Basically, they are pre-made mini scrapbooks for the creative-at-heart that you fill in with your own pictures and words. These are great, first of all because they are small, and therefore manageable to create.
They can also easily be themed since they are so small; like you could do one of your summer vacation, the first year of marriage/dating, your pregnancy memories for one of your children, or a book of encouragement and hope. In addition, they are super affordable, and they have lots of texture and shape. If that doesn’t sound amazing to you, let me help you by showing you some more pictures.
I hope this has been helpful in giving you some good ideas for homemade Christmas gifts, or maybe it has at least gotten the creative juices going for you to make something else. Either way, I wish you well in your gifting ventures this holiday season. May you find many ways to warm the hearts of those you love!