Homemade gifts have a lot of advantages. They’re affordable and meaningful. They’re fun. Done right, they aren’t as wasteful as other gifts. They’re a great excuse to avoid the mall crowds. Some are easy enough to do at nearly the last minute.
Here are some ideas to help you get started with homemade gifts.
Homemade Bath Salts
1 cup Epsom salts or sea salts
1 tsp glycerin
a few drops essential oil, such as lavender
few drops food coloring – optional but pretty
Mix ingredients together in a glass bowl. Store in a jar with a tight lid. Decorate jar with a ribbon around it.
You can include baking soda in the recipe as well, about the same amount or less as the other salts. Other liquid at room temperature oils can be used in place of the glycerin, just make sure they’re good for the skin.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
6 vanilla beans
2 cups vodka
Quart Mason jar and lid
Cut the beans in half lengthwise and add to the jar. Pour vodka over the beans. Store in a cool dark place for at least a month, shaking the jar every few days.
This one is great for the chef in the family. Make a label for the jar if the vanilla extract won’t be ready for use by the time you give it. The vanilla beans can stay in for longer than a month, and will continue to improve the flavor of the extract.
Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds
Dark chocolate chips
Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth. If using a microwave, take the chocolate out every 15-30 seconds to stir once it starts to melt so you don’t burn it.
Stir pomegranate seeds into melted chocolate, covering completely with the chocolate.
Spoon onto wax paper in small quantities, maybe 3-6 seeds per scoop. Cool in the refrigerator.
This treat should be made not too long before it will be eaten. The pomegranate seeds won’t stay good too long. Each treat should be small so that it fits easily in the mouth. Those seeds will squirt when you bite into them, but the combination with the dark chocolate is amazing. This is a particular favorite of mine because my mother has a pomegranate tree.
Two pieces tightly woven fabric 8 inches by 41 inches or longer if for a larger door
Sand, rice or dried beans for filling
Sew the fabric together to form a 41 inch long tube, leaving one of the small ends open. Turn right side out and fill, leaving room to sew the open end shut. Turn in the raw edges and sew the opening shut.
You can add a tongue, eyes and other features as you like. This gift is great if you know someone living in a drafty house.
If you’re into crafts, you can think of many more homemade gifts to make. Why not share your creativity with the ones you love this year?