I mostly love the holidays. I have a big family and a far-reaching network of friends, so there are plenty of parties and holiday gatherings at which to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. I also love holiday food and drink specials — I’ll take a peppermint mocha over a PSL any day — and I have a soft spot for campy, slightly tacky decorations. The one downside of all this revelry, though, is that my gift list is pretty darn long. And frankly, I can’t afford to buy a thoughtful gift for every single person I care about.
A few years ago, I decided to give DIY gifts a try, hoping they’d come across as cute, not cheap. I made a few big batches of the New York Times’ tonic syrup, which felt special because it called for hard-to-find ingredients but was a great option because said ingredients were relatively cheap once I tracked them down. I poured my syrup into 4-ounce swing-top bottles, made cute labels, tied a ribbon around each one, and voilà! Recipients loved them, which felt all the better because these were gifts I’d actually made, not just bought.
All of this to say that homemade gifts aren’t limited to just jam or nut mix (although there are recipes for both of those things herein because they’re still great ideas). You can get creative and make your own liqueur or layer cookie dough ingredients in cute jars. The gift ideas we rounded up run the gamut from family-friendly and inexpensive to boozy and a little bit pricier. The real upside to all of them is that you can make one big batch and knock out a dozen people on your guest list at once.
No matter which gift(s) you choose, be sure to order some cute jars or bottles for packaging, plus ribbons or labels for decoration. Happy gifting!