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15 Homemade Christmas Gifts That Aren’t Cheesy

Bust out the craft supplies, not the wallet, this Christmas by making gifts for your friends and family—these ideas are fun for you to create, and fun for them to receive. This is the best way to give one-of-a-kind gifts your loved ones will treasure. Get inspired with these awesome homemade Christmas gifts below:

Homemade Christmas Gifts: For Coworkers

Personalized Mug

This is a great idea for kids! All you need is a ceramic mug and some Sharpie markers. Simply draw, write, or scribble directly on the mugs, then bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and the marker design will permanently stick.

Homemade Soap

There are oodles of recipes and instructions online for homemade soaps. Maybe go with a holiday-themed scent like peppermint, evergreen, or nutmeg. Use this tutorial from Good Housekeeping to make your own soaps. Plus, who doesn’t like receiving more soaps when living in the middle of flu season?

Quick Bread in a Bottle

Give your coworkers everything that they need to make a yummy quick bread. Layer two cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Instruct your recipient to mix the dry ingredients in the jar with 1.5 cups of buttermilk, 2 large eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Pour mixture into a loaf pan and cook at 350 for 50 minutes.

Christmas Candies

My grandmother makes homemade candies every year, and it is seriously my favorite thing. Turtles, rum balls, toffee, and chocolate-covered pretzels are a few of my faves. Go to town in the kitchen and put together goody bags for the people on your list! Food always makes great homemade Christmas gifts.

Homemade Christmas Gifts: For Friends

Embellished Picture Frame

Pick up a plain frame from your local thrift store and embellish it with buttons, ribbon, glitter, flowers, scrabble letters, etc. And put a picture of you and your friend or loved on the inside. This is a great gift that your friend is sure to always treasure.

DIY Gifts For Pampering

Fill a gift bag with lavish treats like homemade scrubs, creams, and body butter. Anything that will help your loved one pamper themselves! In fact, you can make your own candy cane sugar scrub with 1 cup of coconut oil to 2 cups fine white sugar. Mix the two well and add 20 drops of peppermint essential oil to the mix. You can even color it red with a few drops of food coloring to really make it ideal for the holiday.

Mason Jar Snow Globe

Is there anything that a mason jar cannot do? I don’t think so! Turn an old mason jar into a simply adorable snow globe to hand out as neighborhood gifts. You can find the whole tutorial on Shutterfly.

Sweater Pillows

Transform some of your old sweaters into fun throw pillows to cozy up someone’s home for the holidays. This is a no-sew project, simply cut the sweater to fit around the pillow and then button it tight to fit. These make a great DIY Christmas gift!

Homemade Christmas Gifts: For Family

Family Birthday Tracker

This one might take a little bit more time, so I would get started early. Put together a wooden calendar (I like to install 12 hooks on a long 2×4) so that you can easily keep track of when everyone’s birthday is (create wooden tags to hang on the pegs for the months).

12 Months of Dates

This idea would be great for a significant other! Come up with 12 unique date ideas, written on cute cards, sticks, or something similar and give your loved one the gift of time this holiday season.


If a member of your family just moved into a new home, give the gift of custom coasters! Purchase blank cork coasters and then create custom designs with acrylic paint.

Homemade Christmas Gifts: For Kids

Homemade Play Dough

Homemade playdough is a great gift for families with little kids. To make, simply mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1/2 cup salt, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 6-7 drops of food coloring together. Mix the ingredients over a pan on the stove and keep mixing until the dough pulls away from the side of the pot. When it does, remove the pot from the heat, let cool, and then roll into balls. Plus, if you make it yourself you know that it is free of harmful toxins. That’s always good!

The Perfect Christmas Cocoa Mix

Fill a mug up with everything needed to create the most delicious hot cocoa ever. You can choose to give away your family secret or give away a recipe that you found online.

Homemade Christmas Gifts: For Grandparents

Personalized Dishware

Looking for a great grandparent gift? Why not create a personalized dishes or bake wear? Simply draw on the bakeware or detail a serving dish with your favorite bread recipe. Bake the stenciled piece at 350 for a few minutes and it will set the marker in.

Family Photo Display

What Grandparent doesn’t love getting pictures of their grandchildren? Surprise them with a cute photo display. I like the idea of removing the glass from an old picture frame. Replace it with chicken wire and hang the photos with clothespins covered in patterned Washi tape. This is one of the easiest homemade Christmas gifts!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated in August 2020 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

48 thoughts on “15 Homemade Christmas Gifts That Aren’t Cheesy”

  1. to meg reiser how do you make the ornament with lace please email me the directions my email is: boyne 0329 @ thank you

  2. Your definition of ‘not cheesy’ and mine don’t seem to overlap. In three month’s time this mushroom in a jar thing will be relegated to a drawer of forgettable gifts. And the grandchildren board of pictures with the pasted on flowers (and a grammatical error) looks like the kind of thing you see bins full of at the dollar store.

    • Wow, was this even necessary? I know my mom would love the Grandkids wall hanging. And as for grammatical errors, you would just change them if you made the project. Harsh much?

      • So do agree!!! Why take the time to be so negative … one click and move on. Personally, handmade items mean more to me than store bought, errors and all!! Wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing.

      • You have to make sure the mug isn’t too glossy too. I made some last year on glossy mugs and baked them (twice for hr each) but the sharpie still came off. I went to Michaels craft store and saw white mugs in a kit for less than $5 and they worked the best. No issues.

  3. Yikes…receiving something home made from a kid in school is far better than an adult doing a home made craft unless it is something no one else can do. Thumbs down on the ideas.

  4. @Sandy, who said that regular Sharpies will wash off. You can bake the mugs in the oven at 350 degF for 30 to 45 minutes and they should work just fine.

  5. Regular sharpies work!!! We made these for our kids 10 years ago and they’ve been through the dishwasher dozens of times…and are still perfect.

  6. You can’t use normal Sharpie markers on mugs, they wash off right away. You have to buy the paint sharpies for it to stick and look nice.

  7. The snow globe idea is a cute way to give a (waterproof) gift card. Glue the card standing on end with a decoration and it is a wrapped gift!

  8. Hi I am very new to using pinterest and don’t seem to know how to locate the directions for the DIY quick read in a jar. Could you please help me 🙂
    Thank You Very Much!!

  9. Claudia, you sound spoiled. These are absolutely amazing ideas. Can’t wait to try them out. I would love to receive any of these gifts myself. Its not the gift, its the thought behind it.

  10. No, the sharpies won’t work, you have to use a ceramic paint marker. I’ve done these before, the sharpie will wear off no matter how long you bake it or how careful you are. If you’re going to do it, invest in the pain marker so it really will last.

  11. FYI about the DIY Mugs: Sharpie will change color in the oven! And they are not dishwasher safe, the ink eventually rubs off. We made these mugs last year for grandparents.
    Here is another idea:
    -Clean the mugs with rubbing alcohol
    -Use enamel pens
    -Seal them with dishwasher safe modge podge.

  12. yep, regular sharpies will wear off and pretty quickly. I have first hand experience with it. Doesn’t matter if you hand wash or dishwasher, regular sharpies will not last.

  13. SHERRY: Just above the picture of the jar is a short blip on it. It apparently appeared in SUNSET magazine because if you click on the word “sunset” printed in red, it will take you to the instructions. Hope this helps.

  14. Thanks for ideas!

    To the person complaining about adults making gifts, I make tons of my gifts each year, and it makes people happy. But I match the gift to the person, choose projects I know I can do an excellent job on, buy quality materials, and then do my very best.

    In fact, several of my friends love the sugar scrubs I make so much that they tell me repeatedly how much they enjoy them throughout the year! Taking the hint, I’m making them again this year—for the third year in a row.

  15. regular sharpies WILL wash off EVEN IF BAKED. my daughter made me a glass mug and baked it and after washing in dishwasher i had just a glass mug….so sad!

  16. Can you tell me the name of the font that you used for the grandkids plaque? I just purchased a cricut explore one and would love to make this.
    Thank you

  17. From the tutorials I’ve read you can use regular markers and do the bake thing and it’ll hold up when hand washed. But if you use a dishwasher they’ll wash off. But the oil based ones, when baked, will stick, even through the dishwasher.

  18. This article clearly states these items are DIY…Do It YOURSELF! How foolish some people are: you spelled a word wrong; it’s the wrong tense. Where can I purchase this? You make these yourself!

  19. I make home made gifts a lot. I do make sure to use good quality material and grab each gift to the recipient… they all love them… I do anything from painting to monkey bread.. gifts in a jar to home made candy in a tin… it’s all in the thot behind the gift. Keep the ideas coming ?

  20. The sharpies will NOT rub off if you bake for 25 minutes in a low temp oven. I did this for the neighbor kids for Christmas and they loved them. I did it I think at 250 degrees. It set and did NOT harm the ceramic. I bought reindeer mugs and then put their names on them. They were 3 dimensional mugs and soooo stinkin cute!

  21. I am not sure there is a source for the snow-globe-out-of-a-jar project. I made one back in the late 60’s as a kid for a Christmas project and here I am today looking at this site to teach my granddaughters how to make them. I would suggest using distilled water because after several years, the “glitter water” will get cloudy with tap water. You can also make a terrarium in a jar using dried flowers


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