There’s no doubt about it, we’re in the holiday season now. In fact, Christmas is three-and-a-half weeks away!
If you’re anything like me, this knowledge brings you equal amounts of joy, anticipation, and anxiety. On the one hand, it’s so sparkly! And the lights are so pretty! And on the other hand, look at all these social obligations! Holy smokes how am I going to fit everything in?
And how am I going to afford all these hostess gifts?
Well, I can’t help you with your schedule, but I can offer you some help with homemade gifts that will save you money, but won’t make you look cheap. After all, it truly is the thought that counts, but the thought should be, “someone is thinking of me this time of year” instead of, “wow, if they were going to give me ______, they really shouldn’t have bothered!”
Just make sure you have a pretty bow. After all, presentation matters more than you think.
15 Homemade Gifts That Wonâï¿½ï¿½t Make You Look Cheap 1 of 16
1. Caramel 2 of 16
I make salted caramels every year for Christmas. They are labor intensive, but get great reviews! Find a recipe you like and play around with it -- but beware! If your family is anything like mine, you'll be stuck making caramels until the end of time.
Image by FrugalPortland
2. Toffee 3 of 16
3. Caramel corn 4 of 16
4. Fudge 5 of 16
5. Peppermint bark 6 of 16
Chop up candy canes. Melt either white or dark chocolate chips. Pour chocolate over broken candy canes. Let set. Package into cute gift bags.
Image by chelle
6. Vanilla extract 7 of 16
Add a few vanilla beans to a bottle of rum, whiskey, or vodka, and put it in a dark place for several weeks. Once it has changed color, you have vanilla extract! Package this up in small bottles for friends and family. They'll love it.
Image by krosseel
7. Coffee liqueur 8 of 16
8. Truffles 9 of 16
9. Vanilla sugar 10 of 16
Scrape vanilla beans into a jar of sugar. Mix. Keep the vanilla bean in the jar. It smells heavenly, and your friends can put it in their coffee or use it any way they would normally use sugar.
Image by Alvimann
10. Spiced nuts 11 of 16
Candied and spiced nuts are a great way to bring joy. Hosts prefer them to yet another bottle of wine, and cooking them fills your home with the scents of the season.
Here's my easy ratio: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup raw nuts. Add these to a pan, then let the mixture reduce. It will turn to sand eventually, even if it looks like it won't. Add your favorite spices: cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves -- whatever you want!
Image by xandert
11. Cookies 12 of 16
Nothing says "I'm thinking of you" quite like a plate of homemade cookies. This gift is great for someone who isn't flooded with cookies at work or from their kids. Give cookies to friends who might not make them anymore. Add an "I love you" card.
Image by niera94
12. Cookie mix in a jar 13 of 16
13. Hot cocoa mix 14 of 16
14. Mulled wine spice mix 15 of 16
Give the gift of warm spiced wine this holiday season! You can add a bottle of wine, or simply give the spice mixture with instructions. Spice mixture should have a combination of dried fruit, cinnamon, anise, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice berries. Make sure the ingredients are mostly whole, and put them in a muslin bag. Tell your recipients to add this mix to a crock pot filled with cheap red wine and prepare to have their homes fill with the smells of Christmas.
Image by wutu
15. Flavor-infused salt 16 of 16
This one's easy. Get a box of Kosher salt, and add some flavors. Lemon rind and rosemary, perhaps? Cocoa powder? Anything goes. Mix your flavors with your salt and put it in a cute tin. Voila!
Image by Alvimann