Handmade gifts

November 22nd 2010katie

I realised with a bit of a shock the other day that my next paycheck has to stretch to both finish the house renovation (Phase One, anyway) and buy all my Christmas presents. Eeek! So I’ve decided to make a lot of cheap thoughtful gifts for my friends and family. Here are some ideas I’ve found.

Teacup candles
Photo: Emma McCleary
Teacup candles. I’ve long wanted to try these as they are so simple yet effective. I have some vintage shot glasses hanging around that I think will make pretty cool holders, too.

Ready-to-bake cookie mix jar, spotted on Bakerella. Isn’t this sweet? I’d certainly use this if someone gave it to me and I can design sweet custom labels for them, too.

crochet flower brooches
Photo: craftapalooza
I might even try to get over my crochet-phobia again and make some flower brooches.

Any other ideas for sweet homemade gifts – especially for men?!

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Comments (10)

  • sophiewearing

    November 22nd 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I struggle with men's homemade stuff too! Ill get back to you on that one! xxx

  • Quest Twenty Eight

    November 23rd 2010 at 1:27 am

    Crochet Beanies for men! I was once not gainfully employed over the Christmas season, and made all gifts myself. It was actually really fun, except for the last minute crochet-a-thon to get it all done. This pattern is fantastic and very easy. Have fun!

  • James

    November 23rd 2010 at 2:00 am

    Giving and receiving presents at Christmas can be tricky. I have a younger brother, who I love very much, and he is a very successful man. He likes to gives elaborate big expensive Christmas presents, and really I wish he wouldn't, because apart from the fact that I cannot afford to be as generous as he, which is embarrassing, they are seldom something I actually want or can use, and I'd like less, not more clutter. But I don't know how to tell him this without seeming mean and ungrateful.

    So I think the best Xmas presents are those you can eat or drink. There are exceptions of course, especially if it is put together by someone of your creativity and exquisite taste, but do think for example whether the person you are giving it too might want another candle. I know we have drawers full of them. In the end the gesture is what is important, and the small simple and inexpensive personal gifts you are planning to give sound just about perfect, I know I'd be charmed and flattered to receive something like that. The only thing I try to make each year is some sloe vodka, though once you have gone to the trouble of getting a nice bottle and labelling it, it's not that cheap. This year my wife has seen a recipe for panforte in this month's Sainsbury's magazine, though that too does not look that cheap to make. That's the trouble with most hand made gifts, they don't usually cost much less than the shop bought gifts they replace.

  • corvustristis

    November 23rd 2010 at 2:18 am

    I've knitted beanies. I'm sewing a raglan shirt out of a wool jersey this year, and have sewn various other pieces other years. Customized cases for various bits o' electronics are fun, and I don't know a man who would turn down food/cookies/whatever.

  • Jessica

    November 23rd 2010 at 11:41 am

    The ready-to-bake cookie jar is a nice idea – you can get some interesting/quirky jars off ebay for a reasonable price. I made candles in cups one year but made a bit of a hash of it (I was young and a bit slapdash) – after they’d set all the middles sunk in! I obviously missed some vital steps so it’s worth following a tutorial and getting it right.

    I posted about some nice easy homemade present ideas here recently:


    Perhaps the mug cozy would be a suitable man stocking-filler? Homemade Christmas stockings themselves filled with nice little bits and bobs is always a nice idea, I think.

  • Katy

    November 24th 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I'm totally following your lead. I'm going with 'make your own gingerbread men' mix jars with a cutter thrown in…because I'm generous!

  • Louise

    November 26th 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I'm baking some brownies for my sister. Hopefully going to find a way to package them up to make them look a little bit more special! xx

  • Kelly

    November 26th 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Oooh, glad someone else is facing this dilemma!

    Lately I have been stalking http://www.oneprettything.com as they always do brilliant homemade gift round ups.

    I picked up a little American magazine that is 100 recipes that can be dry packed into jars – it's brilliant. I have used Bakerella's cowgirl cookies, but there are also some other ideas here: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food/holidays/homemade-food-gift-ideas

    Tesco do 1l Kilner jars for around £2.

    Failing that… to the knitting needles!

  • viri

    December 2nd 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I looooove the cookie mix idea.
    I'm planning to mix up instant coffe drinks. Pancake mix can also work. If you have eco concern male friends (I luckly have) go for grocery / luch bags , or a sandwich case like this: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/boc-n-roll-reusable-sandwich-wrapper.php . Or make book protector pouches. You can personalize aprons /t shirts / table mats / calendars.
    Good luck.

  • Style Souk

    December 29th 2010 at 1:21 am

    The Penguin paperback gloves are such a witty and adorable idea.

    I think the first few weeks of January are going to be spent with my knitting needles!

    Yes, I said weeks… I'm a bloody slow knitter!

    *Hangs head in shame*

    Sarah x


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