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10 Simple, Cheap Homemade Christmas Gifts

Cocoa Mix

If you've never had a homemade cocoa, you’re really missing out. It's so far beyond Swiss Miss that there's not even a comparison. Go find a good recipe. Evaporated milk adds a little richness, and you can season it to taste yourself with anything from cinnamon to nutmeg to a dash of cayenne. You'll have a great treat for friends and family, and people will think that you're basically a wizard for making it yourself.

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Bath Salts

Not the drug, obviously. Bath salts are super easy to make, and, since the oils and colors you use are entirely up to you, it's easy to personalize and a joy to receive. When buying ingredients, get ready to make a dent in your list because you’ll have enough supplies to make several gifts (bonus)!

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Cheesecake

Everyone loves cheesecake. Cheesecake isn't the cheapest thing in the world to make, but making one is still a heck of a lot cheaper than buying one. The great thing about cheesecakes is that people tend to assume they're harder to make than they actually are. Some tips—add a little cornstarch to thicken it up, and use a water bath to prevent cracking. This trade will make you a hit at parties, too.

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Furniture

That's right, furniture. Everyone knows at least one Ron Swanson type who builds tables instead of saying "I love you." Bookshelves are a nice, easy place to start, and you'll be surprised by how empowered you will feel after pulling it off. Of course, this isn't something to do for everyone on your list—lumber and time are both expensive—but it's still less costly than buying furniture that's not made of plywood. Plus, nothing says "I love you" quite like taking a pile of nothing and turning into something they can use every day.
 

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Spiced Tea

We have the recipe you need: 2 cups Tang, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup Lipton instant tea, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves... Yes, it's a sugar bomb. This isn't the health section of the website. It smells and tastes like Christmas, looks like sand art, and people will love it.

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Sugar Scrub

Give your friends and family the gift of gentle, silky-smooth skin this Christmas. All you actually need is sugar and oil (coconut oil is used a lot, but canola works, too), but adding some food coloring and essential oils help make it look and smell legit. Who doesn’t love a nice beauty gift?

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Soaps

Soap is something everyone needs, and you can make it yourself with a handful of oils and some lye. (The lye really is important to the process, so don't stress about using it.) Be gentle with your scents—remember that some people are easily overloaded—but again, soap has an everyday utility to it that not everything on this list has. 

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Scarves

We've talked before about how making your own clothing isn't always the best financial play, but scarves are so easy (and can get so pricey in stores) that this is not only a heartwarming choice (no pun intended) but a great one for your wallet as well. Not to mention that scarves are a relatively easy way to get into knitting, so if you don't have tons of experience, you shouldn't be intimidated. Plus, you get to pick your own colors and textures!

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Candles

Candles are a go-to gift for many people anyway, so why not add that personal touch? This way you can control the color and potency for friends who might have allergies. You'll need some kind of double-boiler—you don't want heat directly on the wax—and you'll need some kind of candy or meat thermometer to make sure that the wax reaches the right temperature. This craft really isn't hard, and there are plenty of guides online.
 

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Tote Bags

Totes are easy to make. You can find a pattern online, or you can even buy a kit that takes you step-by-step if you're new to sewing. It's another item with plenty of utility, whether you make something small and snug for a laptop or larger and more multi-purpose. Try monogramming for an extra-personalized gift! 

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Ornaments

Nothing says “Christmas” like ornaments, so why not make it personal? Handmade ornaments are a very sweet sentiment that will remind the person you give it to of the fond memories shared that Christmas. It is like a step back in time that they get to take every year as they set up their Christmas tree.
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Photo Collage

Another idea is to make a photo collage of your favorite pictures from the year. You can either print the photos and make a physical collage yourself, or you can use a website to digitally create a collage and get it printed once your creation is complete! Finish it off with a frame, and you have a meaningful, cheap, and simple homemade Christmas gift.
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Soup Mix

Is there anything more comforting on a cold winter night than a warm bowl of soup? Give the gift of a good meal with a dried soup mix! There are tons of different recipes that you can find online where the gift receiver just needs to add water or broth to make a comforting meal without the hassle of planning.
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Pillowcase

Sewing a pillowcase is actually very easy and fun! You can buy a pattern and fabric for a pillowcase at your local fabric store, or you can find other patterns online. If you don’t have a ton of experience sewing, but you have a sewing machine lying around, this is a great and easy gift to give to your friends and family. Also, you can choose from tons of fun patterns and color combinations!
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Hat and Mittens

If you know how to knit, making hats and mittens are great ways to make sure your family and friends stay warm and in-style during the holidays. Handmade clothes are a reminder of love and care to your loved ones every time they put them on.
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Potpourri Kit

If making candles is a little more than you want to get yourself into, making and giving a potpourri kit could be a better option! All you need are some jars or bags to add orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and other fragrant goods, so all the person has to do is pop it on the stove with water for a warm, wintry scent filling their home.
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Pajama Pants

Pajama pants are another easy sewing project to gift your loved ones. Like a pillowcase, all you need is a sewing machine, a pattern, and some fabric to make some cozy pajama pants! They are a super simple item to make, so very little sewing experience is needed to make some quality pj pants.
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Photo Calendar

A photo calendar of pictures you have taken that year or photos of each person in the family for the month that they were born is a great gift to give to grandparents with at least twelve kids and grandkids!
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Cookies

Do you love to bake and do your loved ones have a sweet tooth? Give the gift that just about anyone would be happy to receive: cookies! Who can say “no” to a homemade cookie on Christmas? Just make sure that you are giving people cookies they can actually eat. We don’t want any allergic reactions this Christmas!
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Blanket

If you’re a little more advanced in sewing, make your friends and family blankets! Even if you aren’t an advanced seamstress, there are ways to make blankets that are simple and don’t require a ton of sewing. There is tons of information on these patterns online!
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Photo Album

Nothing is more classic and sentimental than a homemade photo album. The good news is that you no longer have to do it the old fashioned way of printing out pictures and placing them in a book if you don’t want to. There are plenty of places online where you can just select the pictures you want, and they upload all of them for you! Inexpensive, sentimental, and fast!
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Painted Wooden Sign

These trendy painted wooden signs are a lot easier to make than you might think. Letter stencils are your best friend when making these signs. All you need is a piece of wood, some wood stain, a stencil, and paint! Personalized gifts just got cool and easy!
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Framed Children's Artwork

If you have a little artist in your life, you don’t have to worry about their masterpieces piling them up in the corner or leaving them in a random box in the attic, you can give them the recognition they deserve by framing them and giving them as gifts to grandparents and other family members!
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Personal "Coupons"

Personal “coupons” are handmade notecards for a trip to the candy store or a day spent hiking. Maybe even a free hug or kiss! You can make these personalized and give them to just about anyone. Significant others, grandparents, parents, or children!

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Handwritten Note

For those who are a little more sentimental, a handwritten note could be the perfect gift. You don’t have to simply give a piece of paper with writing on it, you could get creative by giving it in a paperweight, drink coaster, or ornament. Handwritten notes are special gifts to give your loved ones to remember you forever.
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Family Heirloom

If you don’t know what to get that special younger person in your life, but you have a family heirloom lying around, maybe it’s the year to give it to them. While this may not be a “cheap” or “homemade” gift, it carries all of the value in the world and will be one of the most memorable gifts they will ever receive.
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Jewelry

If you have a jewelry lover in your life, you could make them a piece of jewelry. To make earrings, rings, bracelets, or necklaces, all you need is some wire and charms. If you want to get really creative, you could also try making some clay jewelry or accessories.
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Painted Ceramics

Another memorable gift is personalized ceramic plates, pots, or figurines. You can use your children's handprints to mark this stage of life, or you could paint your own fun design. You can do this at home, or you can also go to a ceramic studio with a kiln to make your gift look really professional.
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Framed Wall Art

Did you know that painting your own wall art is actually a lot easier than you think, even if you aren’t an experienced painter? Abstract artwork is the way to go. It looks fancy and expensive, but you can totally do it on your own. Framing it will only make it look better!
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Your Presence!

One of the cheapest gifts you can get your loved ones for Christmas is your presence. While it may be difficult to see family members during COVID-19, even a phone call or video chat with meaningful conversation can make a loved one’s holiday a little brighter.
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