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25 DIY Holiday & Christmas Gift Ideas: Easy, Homemade & Budget-Friendly Ways to Give

Make your own holiday gifts with these 25 DIY holiday and Christmas gift ideas.

These DIY holiday gifts for celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s and more will help you find room in your budget for everyone on your list. Between gifts for family and friends, hosts, co-workers, surprise visitors and all the other people in your life that deserve a little holiday cheer—it can really add up! Homemade gifts are a budget-friendly way to give and let them know you care without spending a fortune.

5 Bath Bombs to Gift for Every Age

Who doesn’t love spending time in a relaxing, rejuvenating bath? Bath bombs made with amazing aromatherapy scents, nourishing herbal ingredients and even bath toys (for the kids) make great gifts and stocking stuffers.

Sure, you could buy fancy bath bombs at specialty stores, but making your own is inexpensive, plus you get to control what goes in your bath bombs and customize them to make your recipient feel extra special.

You can find complete instructions for making the base for these bath bombs here: How to Make Bath Bombs: A DIY Recipe. And 5 of our favorite variations for gifting are included below.

#1 Garden Rose Bath Bombs

Add ½ cup of Himalayan sea salt to the basic DIY bath bomb mixture. Include rosehip seed oil for an extra dose of moisture, or ¼ ounce of essential oil rose absolute for an amazing rose fragrance.

Before pressing the mixture into your molds (we like using circular or rose-shaped molds for these), place a few rose petals in the bottom of the molds (this will give you rose petals on the top of the bath bomb once it’s out of the mold). Follow the rest of the basic DIY bath bomb recipe as directed.

#2 Winter Wonderland Bath Bombs

Use a snowflake mold to make this variation for a special winter bath treat. Add ½ cup of Light Gray, Coarse Celtic Sea Salt (or Celtic Sea Salt Fine Ground) and 2 tablespoons cornflower petals to the basic DIY bath bomb recipe. For essential oils fragrance, add seasonal favorites like sage or rosemary. Follow the rest of the recipe as directed.

#3 Winter Tea Bomb

Many of the botanical ingredients used in herbal teas can be used in bath bombs. You can get creative with this one, just be sure to research online first to make sure you’re choosing skin-friendly ingredients.

We love adding chamomile tea to bath bombs, plus a sprig of fresh rosemary and ¼ of an ounce of eucalyptus essential oil for an invigorating fragrance.

#4 Kids Bath Bombs with Toys

Adding a small bath toy or seasonal character to the middle of bath bombs makes bath time more fun for kids. Keep what’s inside a secret so they’ll be surprised with each bath.

To make a bath bomb with a toy inside, follow the recipe for basic DIY bath bomb mixture, then just press the toy inside before pushing the two halves of a circular bath bomb mold together.

#5 Lavender Bath Bombs

Lavender is well-known in the aromatherapy world as a relaxing scent that helps you unwind. It’s a crowd-pleasing scent, and the purple hue makes for a great-looking bath bomb.

Just add ½ cup of lavender-scented Epsom salt and a teaspoon of lavender flower buds to the basic DIY bath bomb mixture, along with ¼ ounce of lavender essential oil, and sprinkle a few more flower buds in the bottoms of the molds before pressing the mixture inside.

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5 Mason Jar Hot Cocoa Mixes for Gifting

Homemade hot cocoa mix is super easy to make, and it’s a warming treat to enjoy all winter long. Just add the dry ingredients listed for each variation below to a 1-quart mason jar. You can decorate and personalize the jars too. Try attaching a candy cane and tying a festive ribbon around the top, along with a handwritten card including instructions and ingredients.

#1 Classic Hot Cocoa Mix

If you leave the powdered milk out, include instructions to mix with milk or non-dairy milk substitute. If you keep it in, suggest mixing with either milk or water. Use ¼ cup of mixture per cup of cocoa.

#2 Dark Chocolate Cocoa Mix

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until powdery, then pour into a mason jar. Leave room to layer some mini marshmallows and chocolate chips on top. On the instructions tag, suggest heating 1 cup of milk and whisking in 1/3 cup of hot cocoa mix

#3 Turmeric Hot Cocoa Mix

Mix ingredients well, or layer them neatly in your mason jar for a fun look. In the instructions, suggest mixing ¼ cup of mixture to 1 cup of milk or non-dairy milk substitute. If you layer the ingredients in the jar be sure to mention that the ingredients will need to be shaken or mixed to blend before use.

#4 White Chocolate Peppermint Cocoa Mix

  • 1 ½ cups of white chocolate morsels
  • 2 cups of non-fat dry milk powder
  • ½ cup of peppermint candies or candy canes unwrapped & crushed

Put all ingredients in a food processor until powdery. Add to a mason jar then sprinkle more crushed peppermint and white chocolate morsels on top. In the instructions, suggest placing 1/3 cup of mixture in a mug and topping off with hot milk, a non-dairy milk substitute or water, then stirring until melted.

#5 Vegan & Lactose-Free Hot Cocoa Mix

Mix all ingredients well or layer them and include instructions to mix well before use. Place ¼ cup of mixture in a mug with a cup of hot water or vegan, lactose-free milk. Almond milk, cashew milk, or flax milk work great.

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5 Homemade Vanilla Extracts

Most people don’t know just how easy DIY vanilla extract is to make. With just a few ingredients and some small jars, you’ll have a gift that will impress. And it’s simple to add your own flavor variations like bourbon or citrus. Here are a few recipes below.

Note: For best results, these extracts will need to sit for at least 2 weeks before use—the longer, the better—but that doesn’t mean you can’t gift this sooner. Just package together all the ingredients with an instructions card as a DIY extract kit.

#1 Classic Vanilla Extract

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of 80 proof vodka
  • 3-5 vanilla beans

Instructions

  1. Pour the vodka in a mason jar or glass container with a lid.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  3. Carefully scrape the seeds from within the vanilla beans with a sharp knife and place into the jar with the vodka. Place the beans inside too.
  4. Put the lid on and give it a shake. Over the following weeks, pick it up and shake it gently every few days. For best results, keep it in the jar for 2 weeks before using, but longer is better.

#2 Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of bourbon
  • 3-5 vanilla beans

Instructions

  1. Pour the bourbon in a mason jar or glass container with a lid.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  3. Carefully scrape the seeds from within the vanilla beans with a sharp knife and place both seeds and beans into the jar with the bourbon. 
  4. Put the lid on and shake. Gently shake again every few days. For best results, keep it in the jar for 2 weeks before using, but longer is better.

#3 Cinnamon Vanilla Extract

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of vodka or brandy
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 vanilla beans

Instructions

  1. Pour the vodka or brandy in a mason jar or glass container with a lid.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  3. Carefully scrape the seeds from within the vanilla beans with a sharp knife and place seeds, beans and cinnamon sticks into the jar with the vodka or brandy. 
  4. Put the lid on and shake. Gently shake again every few days. For best results, keep it in the jar for 2 weeks before use, but longer is better.

#4 Orange Vanilla Extract

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of vodka
  • peel of 3 oranges with all of the pith (white part) completely removed
  • 3-5 vanilla beans

Instructions

  1. Pour the vodka in a mason jar or glass container with a lid.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  3. Carefully scrape the seeds from within the vanilla beans with a sharp knife and place seeds, beans and orange peels into the jar with the vodka or brandy.
  4. Put the lid on and shake. Gently shake again every few days. For best results, keep it in the jar for 2 weeks before use, but longer is better.

#5 Alcohol-Free Vanilla Extracts

To make alcohol free vanilla extract, simply replace the vodka with pure vegetable glycerin. The alcohol-free version will need to stay in the bottle for about 3 months before it’s ready to use.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pour the vegetable glycerin in a mason jar or glass container with a lid.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  3. Carefully scrape the seeds from within the vanilla beans with a sharp knife and place into the jar with the vegetable glycerin. Place the beans inside too. 
  4. Put the lid on and give it a shake. Over the following weeks, pick it up and shake it gently every few days. For best results, keep it in the jar for at least 3 months before use.

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4 Mason Jar Infused Sugar Recipes

Infused sugar can be a stand-alone gift, or you can make a combined gift with both infused sugar and vanilla extract. Here are a few infused sugar recipes to try.

#1 Vanilla Infused Sugar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans

Instructions

  1. Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds inside.
  2. Put the scraped seeds and sugar into a food processor and blend.
  3. Pour the mixture into an air-tight jar and add the vanilla bean pods.

#2 Cinnamon Infused Sugar

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the sugar and ground cinnamon.
  2. Add the mixture to an air-tight container along with the cinnamon sticks.

#3 Peppermint Infused Sugar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • peppermint candies (optional)

Instructions

  1. Blend together and place in an air-tight jar.
  2. Add in a few peppermint sticks or candies for appearance.

#4 Orange Infused Sugar

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of sugar
  • peel of one orange, pith (white part) removed completely

Instructions

Place the sugar and peel together in an air-tight jar. For a stronger flavor, you can also pulse the orange peel in a food processor until fine then mix the orange zest and sugar together before adding to the jar. This recipe also works well with lemon peel for lemon sugar.

3 Infused Oil Recipes

Infused oils look so beautiful in the kitchen, and they add extra flavor to any dish. Try infusing your favorite extra virgin olive oil with the fresh flavors below. Put it in an oil bottle for gifting. You can usually get oil bottles in bulk at craft stores or online. Also, don’t forget to include a pouring spout, but keep a leak-proof lid on for gifting and just tie the pouring spout to the side with a ribbon, so your oil doesn’t leak in the package.

#1 Rosemary & Thyme Infused Olive Oil

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place the fresh herbs into the oil bottle.
  2. Warm the oil in a saucepan—the goal is to get the oil a bit warm, but not hot, so don’t overdo it. This just helps bring out the flavors faster.
  3. Use a funnel to pour the warm (not hot!) oil into the oil bottle.

#2 Garlic-Basil Infused Olive Oil

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Peel the garlic cloves and smash them with the flat side of chef’s knife to crack them open, but keep them mostly whole.
  2. Place garlic cloves in the bottom of the bottle, then add basil leaves
  3. Warm the oil in a saucepan—the goal is to get the oil a bit warm, not hot, so don’t overdo it. This just helps bring out the flavors faster.
  4. Use a funnel to pour the warm (not hot!) oil into the oil bottle.

#3 Chili Infused Olive Oil

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Use a funnel to pour the chili flakes into the bottle, then place the chilis inside.
  2. Warm the oil in a saucepan—the goal is to get the oil a bit warm, not hot, so don’t overdo it. This just helps bring out the flavors faster.
  3. Use a funnel to pour the warm (not hot!) oil into the oil bottle.

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3 Essential Oil Gifts

Aromatherapy essential oil gifts are among our favorites to give and to get. Here are a few homemade essential oil gifts to pamper your friends and family.

#1 Scented Drawer Sachets

You don’t need a sewing machine to make these easy, scented drawer sachets. If you are handy with a needle and thread or you do have a sewing machine, you can get even more creative with them. But cloth drawstring bags or pouches with ribbon will do the trick!

What You Need

  • white rice (uncooked)
  • essential oil (pick your favorite, but we love rose essential oil or vanilla essential oil for this)
  • dried flower petals (optional) in a scent that complements your essential oil choice
  • small drawstring pouches or small cloth bags and ribbon

Instructions

  1. Add enough rice to fill your chosen pouch size to a bowl
  2. Add 1 to 2 drops of essential oil and mix with a spoon
  3. Add flower petals if desired and stir
  4. Scoop into your pouch and tie closed

#2 Scented Flax Seed Neck Pillow

You’ll need to show off your sewing skills for this one, but there’s no need to make your pillow in a U shape—just keep it simple. Making a rectangle pillow that’s anywhere between 5-8 inches wide and 16-18 inches long will work perfectly. Here’s what you’ll need for the filling:

For Filling

  • enough flax seeds for your intended pillow size
  • essential oil (try lavender or eucalyptus)
  • ¼ cup of dried flower petals in a complementary scent

How to Mix & Fill

  1. In a large bowl, add enough flax seeds to fill your pillow 2/3 of the way full
  2. Add 2-3 drops of essential oil and stir well
  3. Add dried flowers if desired
  4. After mixing, add to the pillow and sew it up
  5. Include an instructions card for use—heat it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds to warm, or put it in the freezer for a cooling neck pillow

3) Homemade Lavender Coconut Oil Salt Scrub

We love making this scrub to treat ourselves, and friends love it too. It’s the perfect pampering gift for a host. You can customize the scent with a different skin-friendly essential oil (do a sensitivity test to be sure), but lavender is our favorite for this coconut oil salt scrub.

What You’ll Need

  • leak-proof container that will hold 8-10 ounces
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • ½ cup of Epsom salt
  • 10 to 20 drops of lavender essential oil

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until well combined
  2. Place in a leak-proof container and decorate for gifting

Bonus: Homemade Holiday Treats

If you love baking, why not whip up a batch of delicious treats to share this holiday season. Try this gluten-free, low-carb recipe for Chai Meringues. Also, check out our recipe for Vegan Fruit and Nut Energy Bites with dried cranberries, or steal the show with delicious, non-dairy Blueberry Lemon Bars.

The Spirit of Giving

You don’t have to spend a fortune to let friends and family know you care. DIY holiday and

Christmas gifts show that you care enough to put time and effort into making something special just for them, plus you can make some extra gifts to keep on hand in case you’re surprised by an unexpected visitor or dinner invitation. So plan a day before the holidays to get creative and make some gifts, and share your own DIY holiday gift ideas in the comments below.

Also, check out 8 Nutritional Gifts for Runners and 6 Wellness Gifts for Your Boss. Sign up for Swanson Health emails so you won’t miss out on new tips and our best holiday promos.

 

Lindsey Bristol, Swanson Health Products 

About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health

Lindsey is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for ice cream. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food. 

Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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