Homemade Christmas Gifts

I had a blast making gifts to give away this Christmas.  It’s not often we have the time or the money to get gifts for all of our family and friends, but since I’ve been unemployed “temporarily retired” for the past two months, I’ve had time on my hands to make homemade gifts!

Last year I took the Buy Handmade Pledge.  Call me Ebenezer Scrooge, but I just don’t feel good, for many reasons, about the amount of “stuff” Christmas has come to generate commercially:  mass-produced presents, plastic, all those cards and wrapping paper, etc.  I much prefer to give and receive things handmade or homemade, and to support individual artists as often as I can.  This year was my chance not only to buy a few handmade gifts, but to make several things myself.  With only a few exceptions (suet + cages for feeding the birds, mason jars, and a calendar I had printed up using my own photos of my friend Bev’s garden), nearly all of the gifts we gave out this year were handmade!



Just about everyone got some sort of food – things I have canned, pickled, or otherwise preserved.  Some of the gals got all natural (homemade!) body care products.  My mom and sister got handmade (and fabulous) Hair Towels from an Etsy vendor. 

Here’s some of what we gave:

Cayenne Pickled Green Beans



PA Dutch Pickled Eggs & Beets



(GREAT recipe for mustard HERE.)

Pickled Jalapenos


Bergamot Bath Fizz, Rosemary Mint Sugar Scrub, Lemongrass Ginger Sugar Scrub, Lavender Hibiscus Bath Salts, and Lavender Rose Petal Bath Salts – ALL  of which I learned how to make thanks to Stevie at Garden Therapy.





I had way too much fun making my own labels with some crafting paper  I had on hand, scissors, and a glue stick!

Lavender-Hibiscus Bath Salts


No photos of the Sourdough Starter or the VERY hot Tomatillo Salsa, but we gave away plenty of those too.

It was so much fun making everything and being able to give so many things that I had made myself.  This year it truly was better to give than to receive!

14 thoughts on “Homemade Christmas Gifts

    • Thanks, Donna! I have to say it was SO much fun and really rewarding. I’m so grateful I had the time and opportunity this year to make things. It really put me back on a creative track and also solved the “what do I get for so-and-so this time?” issue. 🙂 I actually started back in October, so there wasn’t even a rush! Here’s hoping that you will find or manage to make some time in the coming year to do more things you’ve always wanted to do like this! I don’t know that I’ll be able to go as big next year, but I’m determined to continue on the homemade / handmade path as much as possible.

    • Hey, thanks! Looks like you’ve been pretty busy on your end – what with collecting Poinsettias (how DID another plant make it into your house indeed…), and shoveling snow – it’s nice to see that at least someone is getting snow this winter! Happy New Year!

  1. Thankyou for this post. I feel the same way about all of the mass produced gifts and wasteful wrapping paper. I really had a hard time giving and receiving gifts this year.

    I am inspired to handmake my gifts on 2012.

    • Thank you! It felt great to not only avoid store-shopping, but to know that chances are no part of our gifts will end up in a landfill someday. I’m secretly hoping I will get back some of the Ball jars, but if not, at least they are handy and our friends can use them again when their contents are used up.

      I’m glad you’re inspired to handmake some things for next year! Keep us updated on you blog! Happy New Year!

  2. Great job. Your “early retirement” has been busy. I have been making tomatillo salsa for the past two years. It can be hot. I made the roasted tomatillo salsa this year and it was very good. I hope you enjoy the work and delicious food and warm gifts.

    • Thanks, Spencer! I am addicted to tomatillo salsa. I play around with the heat factor each time I make it. We tend to prefer it pretty spicy. I’ll have to try roasting them next time – sound delicious!

  3. Wow Aimee– lucky people on your gift list! Inspiring. I gave away some home canned pears and pumpkin bread and even that felt great. There is nothing like the pleasure of giving something unique and handmade, but it does take time. Shopping malls take time too though, and aren’t fun at all… Great post. Happy New Year to you! –L

    • You make a good point, Linnie! Shopping malls do indeed take time (and patience!). I’m going to try do make / give as many homemade things as I can this year too. Canning helps me to get a head start since most of it happens a few months before Christmas. 🙂 Next year I’m adding homemade dog biscuits to the mix. Max would approve, I’m sure.

  4. Aimee, so glad that you had fun (and adventures) making stuff from my natural skincare series. I love that you made all of your gifts this year as I did as well. The giftee’s reactions were great too! All your yummy canned goods look so tasty, and I just saw a recipe for mustard the other day so now you’ve inspired me – to make mustard!

    Have a very happy New Year, it’s been nice to ‘meet’ you.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Stevie! I did indeed have fun (and adventures, yes – haha) making your natural skincare products! I’m completely sold. A friend just wrote me yesterday to say how that she absolutely loves the sugar scrub. Hooray! Thanks again for sharing all your terrific projects and DIY creations – I love your blog!

      Making mustard has to be one of the quickest and easiest things I’ve ever made. It took me about 10 minutes from start to finish – incredible. And TASTY. I do recommend making a very large batch at once…that way you can have some for yourself and some to keep it in a large container in the fridge for filling gift jars as needed.

      Happy New Year!

  5. Your photos are mouth watering, Aimee. What a fabulous collection of treats, and how much more appreciated they are than something purchased at the mall.

    The mustard is delicious, used in my salad dressing recipe.

    And the scrub smells almost good enough to eat. I love to open the jar and inhale.

    Wonderful and generous gifts from a talented cook.

    • Bev! Glad you like the mustard! It’s definitely got a little bite to it! I’ve used in in a dressing I made for a warm potato salad and it was great. The scrubs are lovely and I agree – just inhaling the rosemary-mint scrub is heavenly!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s