1. Custom freezer paper stenciled neckties. Both my brother-in-law and my teenaged boy cousin received these, made from thrifted silk ties, freezer paper stencils, and a variety of previously-purchased and acquired-for-free fabric paints.
2. Casserole dish cover. I always make something cooking-related for my wonderful aunt, and she has gotten quite accustomed to such endeavors, this year sending me tutorials that she’d found for making a Paula Deen potholder and a casserole dish cover. The casserole dish cover won out, and I sewed it from stash flannel, a thrifted felted wool blanket to substitute for the batting, and an acquired-for-free vintage zipper.
3. Custom pinback buttons of one’s children. I don’t know what you do with those photo greeting cards and baby announcements, but I cut them up and use my pinback button maker to make cute pinback buttons of the cutest pictures of new babies and children with their Christmas smiles, and I give them back to the senders for Christmas. I’m always a little nervous that the recipients will be mad that I cut up their Christmas cards, but to date, they’ve always been delighted with their present.
4. Colored pencil beaded necklace kit. My girl cousins received these, made from drilled and cut colored pencils and enough elastic cording to make a necklace and a couple of bracelets.
5. Aromatherapy play dough. My daughters and I made lots and lots of this colored and scented play dough, packaged it in PLA containers, and gave it to all their friends and a whole passel of kid cousins.
6. Grandparent gifts. The gifts to my daughters’ grandparents are so personal that I don’t know how you’d recreate them in a mass-market setting: one grandparent received silhouettes of the girls, a joint endeavor between me and my graphic designer husband, and the other set received an elaborate scrapbook chronicling a summer vacation that we all took together this year.
So, to calculate…let’s say that I spent one dollar to make each handmade gift, although all of my materials were stash, and most of them came to me for free. Let’s say that I would spend ten dollars to purchase store-bought gifts for each extended family member, and twenty dollars to purchase store-bought gifts for my mother and parents-in-law. Let’s also say that I would not purchase gifts at all for my friends or my children’s friends or adult cousins or long-distance kid cousins.
With those VERY fast and loose calculations, I spent $19 on D.I.Y. Christmas gifts this year. If I had instead purchased Christmas gifts, I would have spent $90 on Christmas gifts, and would have narrowed down my list from 19 recipients to seven.
How much did YOU save with homemade Christmas gifts?