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Handmade holiday gifts

With all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, we often forget to slow down and enjoy the meaning of the holidays. By making handmade gifts, we are forced to slow down, put some love and effort into our gifts, save money and, if you get your kids involved, spend time together as a family.

handmade holiday gifts


Handmade coasters make a great gift for teachers, grandparents and family members. You can customize your coaster set with matching scrapbook paper, coordinating scrapbook paper or you can personalize your coaster set with your children’s handprints or pieces of their artwork.


  • Scrapbook paper or your children’s artwork
  • Scissors
  • 4-inch by 4-inch pieces of plexiglass (as many as you want to make your set) 
  • Craft knife and cutting board
  • Mod Podge crafting glue
  • Soft paintbrush
  • Thin crafting cork or cork drawer liner with adhesive backing


  1. Place your plexiglass squares on your scrapbook paper or children’s artwork
  2. Cut around the plexiglass squares, leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch of paper on each side
  3. Apply a dime-sized amount of Mod Podge in the center of your plexiglass squares
  4. Spread the Mod Podge towards the edges with a soft paintbrush
  5. Place your paper on the glued side of the plexiglass, face down
  6. Carefully smooth the paper from the center toward each edge and let dry
  7. Trim the excess paper from the sides of the plexiglass
  8. Attach the adhesive side of the cork liner to the paper side of each coaster
  9. Cut around the cork so it is flush with the sides of the plexiglass

Felted wool scarf

Repurpose and recycle your old wool sweaters to make this fun and easy handmade holiday gift. You don’t need a sewing machine to make this scarf as there are two ways to create this warm and unique gift.


  • Old wool sweaters (100 percent wool is best)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Washer and dryer
  • Sewing machine (optional)


  1. Wash and dry your wool sweaters on hot (they will shrink — or “felt” — quite a bit during this process)
  2. Cut long rectangular pieces from your felted wool sweaters
  3. Knot each piece together — toward the ends — to create a long scarf
  4. Sew the pieces together to create a long scarf (optional)

Gift basket

Use your creativity to customize a handmade holiday gift basket for your family, friends, child’s teachers, co-workers or even your boss. Bake some cookies, make a hot cocoa mix and add in some personalized trinkets — then wrap it up with a bow.


  • Medium or large woven basket
  • Newspaper or recyclable paper
  • Ingredients to bake cookies
  • Clear cellophane lunch bags
  • Large mason jar
  • Powdered hot cocoa mix
  • Small marshmallows
  • Ribbon


  1. Shred or cut newspaper or recyclable paper and place it in the bottom of the basket
  2. Bake cookies, let them cool and then place them in the clear cellophane lunch bag and tie the bag with ribbon
  3. Fill a large mason jar 3/4 full with powdered hot cocoa mix
  4. Fill the remaining 1/4 of the jar with small marshmallows
  5. Tie a ribbon around the top of the mason jar
  6. Add optional items to your basket to personalize your gift: A framed picture of your children, painted coffee mugs, bottle of wine, etc.

How to make culinary gift baskets >>

Reusable shopping bags

Give the gift that keeps giving — and will bring a smile to the recipient’s face each time they use it.


  • Plain canvas tote bag
  • Craft paints
  • Paintbrushes


  1. Paint one side of the canvas bag and let dry
  2. Paint the second side and let dry

Tip: Have your children paint their favorite seasonal image, paint the person’s name, paint a saying or inspirational quote or have your children stamp their hands on the bag to create handprints.

How to make a handprint plaque for dad >>

More handmade holiday ideas

Homemade Christmas ornaments
Planning holiday gifts from the kids
Homemade gifts from the kitchen

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