DIY Gift Guide: eight holiday gift ideas you can make at home

Lifestyle Sports | Lifestyle
diy gift idea graphic
Graphic by Sie Douglas-Fish.

This year, holiday cheer might seem hard to come by. Even if you don’t have the funds to buy gifts, you can easily make these ones at home. Most of these DIY gift ideas can be made with $15 or less in supplies and about 15 minutes of crafting time. 

Related: Holiday gift guide: Eight local businesses in Victoria to support this year

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., there are some homemade gifts on this list that are only suitable for people inside your bubble. If you plan on dropping off a gift at someone’s household, don’t gather outside or inside. Instead of staying for a chat, write out a holiday greeting on a nice card. 

1. Baking 

There’s a reason this is the first DIY gift idea on the list. Homemade sweets are sure to please anyone on your list. Grab a classic holiday cookie recipe, like sugar cookies or gingerbread, and get to work mixing up a masterpiece. To wrap up your creation, try stacking the cookies inside a mason jar with a little red ribbon or cute twine bow. 

Another way to give baking is through a cookie exchange. Three of my friends are doing this with me. Basically, you all make about three dozen cookies, package them for each person, and then drive to each other’s houses and drop them off. At the end of the day, everyone has three different types of Christmas cookies to enjoy! 

2. Propagate a plant 

This year, I’ve been taking particularly good care of my plants. Being at home all of the time has made it easy to give them some T.L.C.. But now, some of them are outgrowing their pots. 

You can easily clip off parts of a plant and use water to propagate them into a new pot. The process takes a bit of time, as the plant needs to grow roots in water, so it’s best to start this gift idea early. Get yourself a nice pot and some soil, add the rooted plant, and you’ve got a lovely green DIY gift idea.

Each plant also has different methods for appropriate propagation, so do some research before you start clipping your plants. 

3. At-home bar crawl or cocktail night

This DIY gift idea is strictly for people inside your bubble and people over the age of 19. By this point in the pandemic, you’ve probably grown tired of Netflix nights. It’s easy to spice up your nights with an at-home holiday cocktail night complete with holiday liquor. 

To make this one fun, ask everyone in your bubble to pick a holiday cocktail to make. Some holiday cocktails ideas include peppermint Bailey’s and coffee, rum and eggnog, or cranberry mimosas. You can either make the recipes together, one by one, or have each person host their own “bar” and take turns making everyone cocktails. 

A trend that has developed out of TikTok is the stay-at-home bar crawl, where each room in the house is creatively decorated like a new bar. For example, one person in the house might decorate the garage like a house party, and another person might decorate the living room like a sports bar. Unlike a typical bar crawl, at-home bar crawls involve less walking time in-between locations, so please drink responsibly.

4. Knotty blanket

A cozy blanket is perfect for gloomy winter days. This DIY gift idea is one of the more expensive ones on the list because you will need to buy the fleece fabric for the blanket. No sewing is required, and all you need to do is cut the fabric and knot the ends of the blanket. 

One of my friends, Gillian Dzvinski, makes this gift for everyone on her list. I still use the one she gave me a few years ago, so shout-out to Gillian for this gift idea.

5. Holiday popcorn 

Holiday popcorn pairs perfectly with a Christmas movie marathon. It’s also easy to prepare — taking about five minutes to make. Just like the cookies, this DIY gift guide looks cute wrapped in a mason jar with some holiday decorations. 

To make holiday popcorn, you’ll need popcorn, peppermint M and M’s, and white chocolate. First, melt the white chocolate on the stove and add a bit of milk or butter to help it liquify. Scatter the popcorn and M and M’s on a baking sheet and then drizzle the melted white chocolate on top. Once the chocolate hardens, you can break up the holiday popcorn and put it in your jars. 

6. Curated playlist

Is there someone on your list who had a rather basic Spotify Wrapped this year? Consider giving them a playlist to gently suggest that they should spice up their music selection. You could also add songs that have sentimental value for you folks. Of course, you could always go Say Anything-style and play it out of a speaker outside their house. Although the classic romantic gesture of making someone an 8-track mixtape is likely dead, Spotify playlists can still make a thoughtful gift.

7. Recipe in a jar

This recipe is yet another perfect mason jar gift. Instead of actually baking, give the gift of an activity and baking wrapped up in one jar. For this gift, you’ll need to buy the dry ingredients for your favourite baking recipe and layer them in the jar. Add the recipe on a tag or tape it inside the jar. For those who are more hot-chocolate inclined, you could also make a hot chocolate jar by adding marshmallows, candy cane bits, and hot chocolate mix. 

8. Photo collage, wall hanging, or painting

Most of us don’t have photo albums anymore. Having physical photos has become a lovely novelty. For this DIY gift idea, you can cut and paste the photos into a collage and frame it, pair the photos with a hanging string for their wall, or perhaps paint (or otherwise create) some art based off of a photo. You can get photos printed at Zap Copy in the SUB or at London Drugs.

I hope one of these DIY gift ideas fits someone on your list. When you’re wrapping up your gifts, consider choosing an eco-friendly option. Gift wrapping can be fun, but it can also be unsustainable with the excess of bags, bows, and plastic wrap. Remember, copies of the Martlet make great sustainable and recyclable wrapping paper!

Whatever you end up doing with your bubble this holiday season, I hope you find a moment of joy amid the final days of this crazy year. And keep in mind, expensive gifts aren’t what the holiday season is all about. 

Like Dr. Suess teaches us in his classic tale, the Grinch — maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, “Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.”