Make Your Own Holiday Gifts

Make Your Own Holiday Gifts

Frugality seems to be making a comeback these days; saving money is hot, especially now that Christmas is right around the corner. We've brought you some ideas on buying gifts that are cheap (and some that don't cost a penny!), and now we add a few make-your-own ideas to the table.

Making your own Christmas gifts need not be daunting or dismissed as too chintzy or cheap. It's a way to give something that you've crafted with your own hands specifically for someone; the fact that it traditionally doesn't cost a whole lot is just a bonus.

Bake or Cook a Gift

If you have a flair for baking or cooking, whipping up a batch of your famous Christmas cookies or putting together a pan of homemade lasagna can be the perfect gift for someone on your list. The gift of a meal or a yummy dessert is almost always appreciated and takes just some of your time in the kitchen to make it happen. Whatever your speciality may be, whip up an extra batch some evening (while you're already making some for your family) as a gift for a neighbor or teacher.

Jar Treats

If your kitchen prowess doesn't lend itself to making/baking/cooking a gift, there's the gift-in-a-jar option. I know you've seen these: they're some form of mix, be it dessert or soup or bread, layered artfully in a jar or some sort of sturdy container. The giver also provides instructions on how the treat can be prepared. It's a practical gift that says you're thinking about the person you made it for.

Here is a casserole-in-a-jar idea to get you started:

Chicken & Rice Casserole

¾ cup powdered coffee creamer
1 (1 oz.) package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
½ cup Parmesan cheese
¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled completely*
¼ cup real bacon bits
1 ¾ cup white rice

Layer the ingredients in the order given into a wide-mouth 1-quart canning jar. Pack each layer into place before adding the next ingredient.

Attach a gift tag to the cooking instructions.

*To toast almonds, place nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degress F for approximately 10 minutes or until nuts are golden brown.

Instructions on Gift Tag

1 Jar Chicken & Rice Casserole Mix
1-1 ½ lbs. chicken breasts, diced

Empty contents of jar into slow cooker, stirring to combine. In a saucepan, bring 4 ½ cups water to a boil. Pour water over rice mixture and stir. In a sauté pan, brown chicken. Add to crock and stir. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Other ideas for jar gifts include hot cocoa mix, cookie and/or brownie mix and soup mix. A simple Google search, a few pantry staples and some clean jars are all you need to whip up a homemade and inexpensive gift.

Gift Baskets

You see these type of gifts every year in just about every store: a basket brimming with items that focus on a central idea, like relaxation, snacking or pets. Why not take that idea and do it yourself? First, think of the type of basket you want to make for the recipient; then grab the basket and items and arrange your own gift basket. It's as easy as that. Plus, low-cost items at a local dollar store and even major retailers can make the basket an affordable choice.

Some ideas of baskets are:

  • Dog and/or cat treats and toys for the pet lover
  • Popcorn, candy and a movie gift card for the cinema buff
  • A blank journal, nice pen and candle
  • Lotion, soap and body spray in a person's favorite scent
  • A bottle of wine plus glasses

How about you, MomVesting reader? Have you made any gifts for those people on your list this year or in years past? What are some of your ideas?

Photo and Recipe Source

Niki's picture

Niki wrote:

Thu, 12/22/2011 - 13:00 Comment #: 1

Making gifts is a big thing in our house. I really do enjoy a handmade gift too. I really like the casserole idea.