Home-made Xmas Gifts? Ideas? - Mothering Forums
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Arts & Crafts > Home-made Xmas Gifts? Ideas?
bravofrenchie's Avatar bravofrenchie 11:40 PM 11-06-2004
Here's what I've got so far:

1.) Plain ceramic ornamants, painted by me. ($1 apiece at the Craft Warehouse.)
2.) Empty & clean wine bottles stuffed with christmas lights. Multi-colored lights are VERY pretty against the frosted glass of an Arbor Mist bottle. A 30-foot strand of 100 mini-lights will fit 1 bottle, if you stuff hard. Plain white lights also look pretty in a blue or green bottle.
3.) Hand made cards. (Made with rubber stamps.)
4.) Gifts in a jar. Cocoa, cookie mix, waffle mix, ect. in canning jars. Got the book "Gifts from a Jar Christmas Treats." on sale at B&N.

There are 4 or 5 craft & fabric stores in my area, so supplies are no problem. I'm not much of a seamstress, but give me a hot glue gun or paint brush, and look out!


Bethla's Avatar Bethla 11:54 PM 11-06-2004
I second the gifts in a jar. I have the book of cookie recipes and my mom has the soups and breads. You can buy plain calendars and have the kids do art work for each month. Also, candles. You can buy sheets of different color beeswax.
ajsgirl's Avatar ajsgirl 11:57 PM 11-06-2004
I've been thinking of making my own vanilla to put in little glass bottles to give away. You can make it by soaking vanilla beans (open) in vodka for several days. The price of vanilla has really skyrocketed lately, so making your own would be crafty and thoughtful! I'm not sure of the ratio of beans to ounces of vodka, but I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find out.
Mom4tot's Avatar Mom4tot 12:07 AM 11-07-2004
We are making some pretty felt star ornaments...cut with pinking shears, stuffed with wool and sewn around the edges...you can add an initial in sequins if you like. Simple, but pretty.

For family, I like to find an old picture (that maybe only I have) and make a copy at the picture maker and frame.

We will also make some gifts in a jars.
miss_sonja's Avatar miss_sonja 12:07 AM 11-07-2004
We're not doing gifts for family this year, but I'm going to give homemade chocolate bark to friends and the postman, garbage guy (ours is so great) etc. There's an easy recipe in the latest Tupperware catalogue (ha ha)--melt chocolate chips, spread on a silicone mat, melt white choc. do same, sprinkle with chopped up peppermint candies (starlight mints) and chill. Break up and store tightly covered.
Persephone's Avatar Persephone 12:15 AM 11-07-2004
I'm rather poor, so I'm baking cookies and giving them away to all my loved ones. I'm also working at Yankee Candle, and I get a substantial discount, so they'll likely get some candles too.
WriterMama's Avatar WriterMama 12:20 AM 11-07-2004
I've been scouting around for ideas and found some that I liked:

Homemade and/or personalized potholders with a brownie mix (or pancakes mix, etc.)

Fleece blankets, pillows or scarves

Child-sized pillows with several fun pillowcases (can do seasonal themes, too)

Knitted scarves

French memory/picture board

Homemade biscotti

Framed children's artwork

For children, small fabric/fleece purses or bags embellished with ribbon, beads, etc.

Velvet bookmarks embellished with beads and tassels

Art clipboards (see this link) http://ww1.potterybarnkids.com//cat/...c=kwd&flash=on

theme baskets (good for families)--some ideas are a boardgame and popcorn; hot chocolate and wool socks; holiday CD with hot chocolate and candy canes; a movie and popcorn or candy (if it's a tear jerker, add kleenex); art supplies, gardening stuff, etc.
Oh the Irony's Avatar Oh the Irony 01:39 AM 11-07-2004
My plan for most relatives:

a sour cream pound cake (very special, recipe of my husbands grandmother who died 2 years ago on Dec.25th--we put a label with her pic on it)

homeade Irish cream

homeade salad dressing

hand dyed cloth napkins

photos of the kids

sachets with dried herbs if I get really energetic
Elowyn's Avatar Elowyn 01:45 AM 11-07-2004
Knitting scarves & mittens (have a couple of *easy* patterns)

Also, lots of baked goods/fudge/etc.

Handmade candles

Handmade ornaments

Love the wine bottle idea, Frenchie. May need to try that around here - excuse for wine consumption.
bravofrenchie's Avatar bravofrenchie 04:06 AM 11-07-2004
Thanks, Elowyn! I got it from my mom. Most light strings have an outlet on one end (the end that goes into the bottle.) What I do is, cut off the wires at the plastic outlet, then wrap each wire SEPERATLY in black electrical tape. Then I tape the two wires together, and start stuffing. A wooden spoon with a long, skinny handle helps with the stuffing. And don't be afraid to push hard, indoor/outdoor lights are made to take rough treatment. The bottles look really nice in a windowsill or on a table.
ethanplusone's Avatar ethanplusone 04:29 AM 11-07-2004
Wow! I really like these ideas! I am always looking for new things to do, and some of these would work well with our family. Anyone else have more to add? Keep 'em comin'!
myrrhmaid's Avatar myrrhmaid 05:03 AM 11-07-2004
i'm making felt gingerbread ornaments with dd's picture as the face, some 2 1/2" x 1" mini quits for ornaments, i have some vintage chocolate molds-we are going to use them for chocolates and paper mache'-giving each person a chocolate with a matching paper mache' ornament. i am also making homemade cleaners/laundry soap/dishwasher soap to give away. i might do some of those soup/bean mixes you put in a jar.
i am making dd and ds paper mache head kitties with muslin, wool stuffed bodies with homemade jammies.
we also paper mache'd a bunch of water balloons in newspaper strips/starch to make some ornaments for the tree. we used bendy straws to make paper mache candy canes. we will cover them in fancy gift wrap or fabric.
for my girlfriends-i'm going to buy a pair of underwear and web fuse either their initials or a favorite cuss word-depending on who it is!:LOL
herb dream pillows
wool stuffed frogs-old 60's-70's pattern
fleece socks/legwarmers:LOL
fleece ponchos
cinnamonamon's Avatar cinnamonamon 05:06 AM 11-07-2004
Re: the lights in the bottle -- you can add less lights & add some popourri (sp??) -- the heat from the lights warms & increases the scent. If you use a canning jar, put a doily on top to allow for scent to be released into room.

Love the themed baskets idea -- I'll have to do that for my sister & her family!
bravofrenchie's Avatar bravofrenchie 07:47 AM 11-07-2004
AnnMarie's Avatar AnnMarie 08:00 AM 11-07-2004
I use a little fancy glass jar and put potpourri in it with Christmas lights and decorate the top with a small doilie and some ribbon and flowers. When you put the lights on it heats the potpourri and smells great.

I also make gift baskets. I buy all kinds of sets, body lotion, etc., at the end of the season cheap so I have them for the next year and then I get nice baskets from the dollar store. I still have a ton of supplies in my closet which is good because I have no money for Christmas. :LOL
stayinghome's Avatar stayinghome 12:31 PM 11-07-2004
For the Arbor Mist bottle idea- do the 100 lights fit into the small Arbor Mist bottle or the large?
crochetmama's Avatar crochetmama 12:58 PM 11-07-2004
All the females on my side of hte family are getting felted bags, they are serving as "wrapping paper".. :LOL

Dad's getting Peanut butter cookies w/nuts so mom doesn't steal them (in a WAHM basket, not homemade, but still)

DD 1&2: Getting waldorf dolls (made by me)
SIS 1-5: Knitted beanie, crochet flip flops, Purse, socks, (wahm teaset)

Everyone in the family is getting a Wooden Painted Christmas ornament (if they get here in time for me to paint)..

sarasprings's Avatar sarasprings 04:50 PM 11-07-2004
Originally Posted by WriterMama
I saw that in a friend's catalog and ripped the page out for my craft file. I think my husband will make it for my son sometime next year.
Persephone's Avatar Persephone 04:52 PM 11-07-2004
Anyone got any ideas for a teenage boy? He's into computers and video games. I don't think there is anything homemade that I could get him.
guerrillamama's Avatar guerrillamama 04:57 PM 11-07-2004
Artisan's Avatar Artisan 05:00 PM 11-07-2004
What about handmade soaps? Lip gloss? Bath/shower gel? Bubble Bath? Bath bombs? I have made all with great success. For guys you can make musk or bay rum scented soap or shaving soap in a mug. And add a nice brush.
I get most of my supplies at www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com
Annie's Avatar Annie 05:05 PM 11-07-2004
I really like the christmas potpouri in a jar idea. What do you do about the light cord? Drill a hole in the jar or let it come out the top? I'm thinking of crocheting a nice doilly and the chord could go through the stitches.
tboroson's Avatar tboroson 05:36 PM 11-07-2004
Originally Posted by cinnamonamon
Re: the lights in the bottle -- you can add less lights & add some popourri (sp??) -- the heat from the lights warms & increases the scent. If you use a canning jar, put a doily on top to allow for scent to be released into room.
Eep! No! That's a fire waiting to happen. The fire would probably self-extinguish in the bottle, but you risk an electrical fire from the wires melting. Christmas lights get pretty warm (not hot enough to burn your fingers, but fairly hot), and the enclosed environment of the bottle and all those lights together will amplify that. The dry matter of potpourri and the essential oils that are used to scent it are quite flammable.

You could, however, put a cotton ball in the neck of the bottle and put a drop or two of EOs on it. If you leave the seal wrapper on the neck of the bottle to hide it, it won't look ugly. Plus, it'll be easily rechargable - potpourri always seems to start smelling dusty after a while. And your recipient will be able to choose what scent s/he wants.
art4babies's Avatar art4babies 05:40 PM 11-07-2004
The last year that I did gifts (Isabel was in the hospotal last year) I made homemade truffles (Martha has a good recipe online, I think) and soaps with essential oils and seeds in them.

I do like the idea of felt ornaments - sounds sorta retro.
cinnamonamon's Avatar cinnamonamon 05:52 PM 11-07-2004
Originally Posted by tboroson
Eep! No! That's a fire waiting to happen. The fire would probably self-extinguish in the bottle, but you risk an electrical fire from the wires melting. Christmas lights get pretty warm (not hot enough to burn your fingers, but fairly hot), and the enclosed environment of the bottle and all those lights together will amplify that. The dry matter of potpourri and the essential oils that are used to scent it are quite flammable.
tboroson -- I was worried about the same thing when I heard about this. I was assured it was okay, but since I never believe anyone, I had to check for myself. I stuck my finger all around in the jar to test for hot spots, and there was never anything more than a pleasant warmth. I also use the really short strands -- 15 or 25 lights at the most, and used a canning jar instead of a wine bottle.

dogmommie_annie -- I just pulled my cord out the "backside" of the jar -- I tied the doily in place by putting a ribbon around the rim with a bow on the frontside.

Persephone -- sweets would probably be good -- the more nasty caffiene the better :LOL You can also check out http://www.thinkgeek.com for cute/cool novelty stuff. I shop for my dh & my brother there all the time.
cinnamonamon's Avatar cinnamonamon 05:59 PM 11-07-2004
Oh, I remembered one more...for the drinking crowd... And I don't know that it's very "natural," but anyway...

Homemade coffee liquor (Kulua type but has coffee flavor already):

1 quart water
10 tablespoons instant coffee -- not a cheapie brand; Tasters Choice works well
3 cups sugar

Bring to a boil, let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. When completely cool, add:

3 Tablespoons vanilla
1 Pint Vodka (ahem...my dh uses the highest proof he can find...his mother gave me this recipe & uses a more moderate proof...)

We also tend to let our mixture simmer a little longer -- the mix ends up stronger & the flavors a little more pronounced.

It tastes great mixed with milk (don't add more vodka to make "white russian"!), and my friends enjoyed mixing it with their coffee.

Now if I could just NOT be pregnant or almost exclusively nursing a young child at some point in the next few years, I might get to enjoy a little more than a taste or 1/2 a drink... :LOL
Astrid's Avatar Astrid 06:11 PM 11-07-2004
Just subscribing to this wonderful thread.
bravofrenchie's Avatar bravofrenchie 06:53 PM 11-07-2004
HeatherE- A 30-foot strand will fit into a 1.5 pint bottle.
And as for a fire hazard, my mother started making these years ago, bringing them out every christmas, and I've personally never felt them get hot, or spark, or anything like that. I'm making them now, 'cause I've got lots of new inlaws that haven't seen them yet.
brigmaman's Avatar brigmaman 07:14 PM 11-07-2004
You all have some great ideas! I was thinking of starting a few scrapbooks for a few family members...my nana, etc. With all of the supplies I already have, it should get me started!
Can't wait to see more ideas!
stretchmark's Avatar stretchmark 02:54 AM 11-08-2004
I am thinking of making everyone some LTK mocs. I made some today for my 3 year old and they are awesome. Totally beautiful and very durable with the bulky yarn I bought. I am sending dear friends a sweater made by me for their new babe, making my mom a scarf out of silk and another scarf for whomever I get assigned to. DH has a large family and we exchange names.

I really like painting ornaments for everyone or making felt ones, that is really something to remeber every year.

If I get good a knitting, I will attempt to make some socks but the mocs really are easy and would be just as good I think.

What about sewing up a nice reusable bag that could be used a wrapping paper.
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