View Full Version : DIY Christmas!

K.L. Bennett
11-23-2012, 06:52 PM
Every Christmas, my goal is to make as many of the gifts I give to others by hand as possible. I've been going strong for a few years now, and half the fun is doing the research and trying to decide how many awesome projects I can comfortably cram into the first few weeks of December. I'm sure there are a few of you out there like me, so I thought it would be fun to have a thread with ideas, in case anyone is still waffling over what to make their own friends and family this year. :)

For some of the ladies in my life, I'm going to make a few different varieties of sugar scrubs and packag them in some adorable little jars I collected. I purchased an ebook a while back from the blog In Between Laundry that has a 28 different recipes, like Chai Spice Scrub and Orange Dreamsicle. There are even a few salt scrubs that are a little less girly, and I'm giving one to my brother-in-law as a foot scrub, because he's an ER doctor and is on his feet all day, almost every day!

For most others, I'm making these ingenious little goodies called Hot Chocolate on a Stick! ( www.thekitchn.com/recipe-review-hot-chocolate-on-101625) Basically, little blocks of fudge that you stir into cups of streaming milk for the richest, most decadent hot chocolate. I'm so excited to give these to all my friends and family! Especially the little ones, like my nieces and godson. :D I know they'll love the novelty!

So that's my plan for this year, as long as I don't get sidetracked by other equally amazing projects, which admittedly does usually happen. What's everyone else planning on making this year? Do you have a traditional gift you make every year, or are you like me, do you like to try new projects and crafts?

11-23-2012, 06:56 PM
DIY Christmas

See, right away I thought that's a brilliant idea! I know a shepherd, he has a donkey; I can get frankincense, myrrh on ebay - oh: Hang on - a wise man might be tricky (never mind three... )

And where the hell will I find a virgin?

11-25-2012, 08:44 AM
The scrubs sound lovely!

I always bake shortbread and fudge to give away and sometimes whiskey marmalade. I often bead necklaces or earrings to give as gifts, and last year I made scarves (the fancy frilly ones) several years ago I made decopage plates which turned out really well. This year I'm thinking that something paper mache might be fun. We'll see what happens.

K.L. Bennett
11-25-2012, 06:55 PM
Edible gifts are the best! :) Whiskey marmalade sounds amazing.

11-25-2012, 09:52 PM
Edible gifts are the best! :) Whiskey marmalade sounds amazing.

It's very easy and it give the marmalade an extra "something." Just follow the recipe for marmalade on the pectin box (I use Certo brand) and add 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of whiskey to the basic recipe and follow normally as directed.

11-25-2012, 10:30 PM
One year my daughter and I made cookie and cake mixes and put them in decorative kitchen jars with recipes - those were very well recieved as well.

11-26-2012, 03:50 AM
Pound cake croutons or cinnamon-sugar pecans seem to go over well, too. Nice to receive something you can use as a garnish to fancy-up your holiday desserts and get rid of quickly :)

11-26-2012, 07:36 AM
This is our first year in a house. I've been so busy with school that I haven't been able to do as much with my kids as I like. Such as bed time stories, because I'm in night school.

So we're making all our own ornaments, and we're reading a christmas based story every day starting Dec 1st until Christmas. The kids are very excited. They've already painted their wooden bows for the tree. It's going to be a memorable year which is exactly what I want.

K.L. Bennett
11-26-2012, 06:23 PM
Thanks for playing along, everyone! :) For some reason, the multi-quote function isn't working for me, so...

Thanks for the recipe, kikazura! I'm going to try making that after the holidays. I'm a sucker for anything whiskey.

I've done the cookie-mix-in-a-jar before, and yes, they were a huge hit. More so on my husband's side, since my side of the family gets a gigantic cookie platter every year for the holidays from one of my aunts, so they are all kind of cookied out.

Clovia, the pound cake croutons sound fun! I'm assuming they are exactly what they sound like?

Icerose, that is a wonderful tradition. My husband and I don't have kids yet, but we've just started trying, so the wheels have been turning in my head regarding the holidays with children (getting a little ahead of myself, as always). It's our first year in a house of our own too, so I'm making him put up outside lights for the first time. He's a big grump, and not really into Christmas but I'm working on changing that. :)

11-26-2012, 07:07 PM
I sew and have done home-made gifts in the past, although not as much in recent years.

Throughout the year I'll scoop up a few yards of special-interest cotton, printed with something which reminds me of a person, and make pillow cases or shams from it--computer keyboards, skeletons, antique books, like that. I may give a few of those this year if I can find time to make them. It doesn't take a lot of sewing skill, just a commercially-manufactured pillow case to serve as your pattern and the ability to sew a straight line and finish seams in some way.

I've also tried hot-coffee holders made of felt, with a velcro closure so they fit any take-out cup in a pretty broad range of sizes. I wasn't pleased with how well they blocked heat, though, so I didn't give them to anybody. There's probably some substance I need to line them with, huh?

I've sewn Christmas, Hannukkah, or general winter-themed cloth napkins (snowmen, snow flakes, red-and-white stripes), which is just cutting squares and hemming them. You can even do it by hand in front of the TV.

Or you can buy two yards of Polartec or similar fleece and fringe the edges to the depth of your scissors' blades. This is fast and easy, and who can't use a throw? No sewing involved, and no tying, either. The stuff does not fray.

Maryn, not all that handy

11-26-2012, 09:58 PM
Clovia, the pound cake croutons sound fun! I'm assuming they are exactly what they sound like?

They are indeed :) Just like regular croutons, but cubes of pound cake. omnomnom.

K.L. Bennett
11-28-2012, 02:06 AM
Maryn, don't sell yourself short, you sound pretty handy to me!

I made blankets like those one you describe before, too. So easy, and most of my friends still have theirs, almost 8 years later.

11-28-2012, 08:45 AM
I bake for people. It's about time to start trying some new-to-me recipes to see which ones I should add to the tins/boxes/whatever I put the goodies in this year. A few taste testers have already volunteered but, sadly, nobody wants to wash my bakeware, mixing bowls, etc. :)

K.L. Bennett
11-29-2012, 06:15 PM
That's what my Aunt does. She spends several days baking right before Christmas, then packages everything in individual tins, on plates, in baskets, something different every year. She might try one or two new recipes, but she has her cookie staples, too. It's just not Christmas without Aunt LoLee's cookie platter!

Belated reppies to everyone. :)

11-29-2012, 07:13 PM
One year, long ago, I made four kinds of fudge as my gifts. It took a bit of practice, and I gained so much weight I vowed never to do it again.

So far, so good. Man, I love fudge.

Maryn, fatty-fatty two-by-four

Kitty Pryde
12-08-2013, 09:45 PM
Bumping for new season!

I made some scarfs last year for family and work peeps. Scarves? Then the work peeps who I thought would be too cool for cartoon printed flannel scarves were all offended they didn't get any, so I am making even more this year! Science lab print for the science teacher, hipster audio tape print for the history teacher, blue and gold beer mugs for the ucla tailgating 6th grade teacher, family guy for the surly special needs 7th grader, rock and roll monsters for his little brother, and cartoon penguins or zebras for everyone else.

I also got some Star Wars print cotton fabric but I'm not sure what to make with it yet...pillow? Notebook cover? Something else manly?

Maggie Maxwell
12-09-2013, 09:03 AM
I make candies every year. Simple things, not a whole lot of ingredients, but tasty all the same. Last year, it was oreo truffles, peppermint bark, andes mint fudge, and buckeye pretzel bites for the humans, and peanut butter dog treats for the puppies. This year, gah, I haven't even started to plan my candy list! Peppermint bark and oreo truffles are annual, but what new things should I make? Off to pinterest...

12-10-2013, 06:00 AM
Sewing is my thing, so I'll be making handmade ornaments for a few people this year. My stepmother is into that country style (where everything looks old and shabby), so I'm going to make her some shabby-looking felt ornaments. Or try to at least...it feels weird making something deliberately crappy, lol.

One of my sisters makes those cookie mixes in a jar. I love them!

12-10-2013, 06:09 AM
I'm a sewing person, too. I'm debating making lounge pajamas for our daughter, but I'm not sure there's time, even though there's fabric. There ought to be more time than there actually is, you know?

The other kid's girlfriend could really use a new robe, which is a fast project, but I'm not sure I'd finish in time to mail. Sigh...

Maryn, fabric hoarder