12 Meaningful DIY Holiday Gifts That Won't Break The Bank

There's nothing like a thoughtful handmade gift to show someone you care.

November 29, 2017
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There’s something warm and whimsical about receiving a gift that is handmade just for you. Not only do you get a perfect present, you also feel your friend or family member’s creativity and thoughtfulness. Since so often holiday joy is tempered by the pain of standing in the line at the mall or waiting anxiously for an expensive Amazon package, why not go back to basics this season and create some beautiful presents for your loved ones at home.

Related: 12 Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Holiday Decor Ideas We Love

Not only are the following gift ideas unique, they’re budget-friendly. With DIY it becomes less about how much you spend and more about a genuine connection. Check out our DIY gift ideas below—we've collected ideas for everyone from cooks to cuddle-bugs.

(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less—of what's in season.)

cider sachet
Photograph courtesy of Whole Foods Markets
1
Cider Spice Sachets

Tired of gifting wine for that secret Santa or white elephant holiday game? Jazz it up this year and attach this creative spice sachet to a jar of local cider to make a yummy holiday drink. All you need is a canvas recyclable tea bag and spices you likely already have in your cabinet, like cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cardamom seeds.

If you're looking for another fun holiday DIY, check out how to make delicious whiskey caramel sauce.

coasters
Photograph courtesy of DIYS
2
Colorful Ceramic Coasters

For the stylish, cocktail-friendly friend or family member in your life, check out these colorful coasters! Easy-peasy, you can upcycle old tile lying around from a remodel or purchase a few squares from a hardware store to make this artistic gift. Next you’ll need rubbing alcohol, alcohol paint, and a brush or two for details. Get creative and play with the accent colors in your friend’s apartment.

Related: How To Make A DIY Christmas Wreath From Old Cookie Cutters

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We hope you enjoy the products we're recommending as much as we do! Just so you know, Organic Life may get a share of sales from the links on this page.
 
knit throw
Photograph courtesy of Love Of Home
3
Trendy Chunky Throw

These bold, beautiful blankets are hard not to love, which is why they made a huge splash in the home decor scene this year. Truth is, they’re pretty expensive on the market, but thankfully blogger Love of Home shares her simple DIY tips. All you need is an arm (preferably yours), around $40 of wool yarn, and some time to make the perfect holiday present for almost anybody on your list.

Related: 3 Upcycled Holiday Gifts You Can Make From An Old Flannel Shirt

plate
Photograph courtesy of kelly elko
4
Dishware With Meaning

Looking to upcycle a gift? This DIY personalized dishware is inexpensive and can be customized with anything from song lyrics, to a quote, to a silly memory. It’s the perfect gift for new homeowners and grandparents. Here’s how to DIY:

1. Pick up some light colored plates, bowls, teacups, or glasses at a local thrift store.

2. Grab a Vitrea or Porcelain Marker and blue painters tape.

3. Design away!

4. Wait about a day and then bake your personalized dishware in the oven at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes to set the marker.

beard oil
Photograph courtesy of crunchy chronicles
5
Cedar Wood Beard Oil

Anyone rocking a beard in the family these days? Hit them up with some homemade beard oil. Made with cedar wood, lavender, and tea tree oil this recipe has hair growth properties and helps moisturize the skin beneath the beard as well. You can even go one further and make this DIY beard balm for styling. Beard care is self-care.

Related: Is An Artificial Christmas Tree More Eco-Friendly Than A Real One?

 
 
hot and cold pack
Photograph courtesy of Wholefully
6
Hot And Cold Pack

Okay, this one takes a sewing machine, but it's worth it! This DIY hot/cold pack from Wholefully helps with sore muscles, headaches, and cramps. It’s a great inexpensive gift for anyone, because you can customize the fabric to appeal to children or adults. Best part? It’s under $10 to make.

Related: How To Make A Festive DIY Advent Calendar With Clothespins And Twine

extracts
Photograph courtesy of Just Putzing
7
Adorable Cooking Extracts

Look no further for the cook on your shopping list. Homemade extracts are affordable, easy, and so cute! This blogger shows how to make a set of four using mint, lemon, orange, and vanilla. Adorned with hand written labels and pretty ribbon, they're bound to be a hit.

smudge sticks
Photograph courtesy of Frugally Sustainable
8
Beautiful Smudge Sticks

Sometimes too stunning to burn, DIY smudge sticks from Frugally Sustainable are a pretty accent for the top of a gift or great to bundle for your yogi friend. Smudge is popularly known as sage, but you can stack together any dry scented plants like roses, thyme, rosemary, lavender, and eucalyptus. Here’s how:

1. Collect clippings from a florist or outside and hang upside-down to dry

2. When completely dry, cut them to whatever size you’d like the stick to be

3. Gently press together and wrap a cotton string around the length of the stick then fasten with a knot

4. Some people like to add a few drops of therapy grade essential oils, but that’s up to you.

Related: 4 Tips To Help You Forage For Holiday Greens Without Hurting The Environment

 
 
flower candle
Photograph courtesy of Free People
9
Pressed Flower Candles

Candles might seem like an easy way out of a present, but when they're handmade of organic bees wax, deliciously scented, and gorgeous to boot, they shoot to the top of the list. Check out these easy-to-follow directions from Free People for pressed flower Mason jar candles or these DIY vintage teacup candles. Which ever look you go for, remember to choose premium organic bees waxnatural cotton wicks, and therapy grade essential oils.

Related: 10 Best Green Holiday Cards To Send This Year

marbled jewelry bowls
Photograph courtesy of a beautiful mess
10
Marbled Jewelry Bowls

Can anyone have enough little bowls? We don’t think so. That’s why this DIY from A Beautiful Mess is perfect for a sister, mother, cousin, or aunt in your life. Using a variety of colored baking clay you can create exciting little bowls of various sizes. While they are not food safe, they can be used for rings, smudge sticks, sewing pins… really anything small. They’re one-of-a-kind and so cute.

lavender body scrub
sitriel/getty
11
Lavender Body Scrub

Winter is the season for exfoliation. Help your friends and family keep their skin smooth and nourished by gifting this DIY body scrub, which includes three ingredients: fine salt, grape seed oil, and lavender essential oil. Feel free to mix it up and use different oils, like olive, hemp, or castor as they're all great for moisturizing skin. You can also switch salt for sugar, which makes a bit of a softer scrub.

 
 
rustic photo art
Photograph courtesy of the art of doing stuff
12
Rustic Photo Hanging

A DIY dream, blogger The Art Of Doing Stuff teaches you how to transfer any photograph onto a piece of wood. We’re thinking a door sign for the urban folks in your life or a rustic wall hanging for your suburban friends. Take a look at these crazy simple directions and start scraping:

1. Cut sheets of wax paper to 8.5x11 and pop them in your printer where regular paper would go.

2. Find a high resolution image you love, like a photo, saying, graphic, or recipe, and reverse it on your computer.

3. Print the image. Gently guiding the wax paper out so it doesn’t wrinkle

4. Place your printed photo where you want to transfer it on wood and run a credit card edge over it to push the ink into the wood.

5. Wax or seal the wood if you’d like.