Make Your Own Inexpensive Holiday Gifts

If you're looking for inexpensive gift ideas for friends, neighbors and co-workers this year, homemade gifts might be the answer. Lifestyle guru Nancy Soriano offers some ideas for gifts that can be personalized, fun to make, and in many cases, made with recycled material, so it's easier on the environment.

Give homemade pancake or brownie baking kits. Put dry ingredients in a pretty new or vintage canister with a recipe card included. For pancakes, you could include a batter bowl and wooden spoon. For brownies, you could throw in a square baking pan. Tie it all up with a ribbon.

If you're famous for your cookies but can't bake as many as you'd like to, you can give your cookie dough. Wrap the dough in wax paper and ribbon.

A picture of some homemade gift ideas.Play

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Make your own herbal and spice oils. Buy a large container of olive oil to pour into various decorative food-safe bottles. Add herbs, such as rosemary, basil, garlic and chili peppers, then attach customized labels.

Create an instant centerpiece for a hostess gift. Buy an inexpensive glass container, fill with a single color of ornaments, which you can buy in bulk at a wholesale club, and you have a decorative item that looks great and takes virtually no time at all to create.

Instead of bringing the same old boring bottle of merlot, spice up your holiday wine by making a mulled wine infusion with pantry spices. Fill spices, like cinnamon, cloves and anise in a cheesecloth and attach to your wine with a handmade recipe card.

Give the gift of song by making your own playlist. Burn a CD with your favorite music, and include the playlist on a card. It's a personal gift that lets you introduce friends to new music.

Everyone loves candles, but you can make yours a little special. Repurpose small jars or buy inexpensive glass votives and decoupage with holiday wrapping paper. It's perfect for leftover wrapping paper scraps and looks lovely. Include four candles.

For co-workers, buy simple notebooks and personalize them with monogrammed stickers, stencils or stamps.

Buy a plain white mug or an initial mug ($6 from Anthropologie) and fill it with a bag of small peppermints with a beautiful ribbon and note card or a bag of hot cocoa mix and a peppermint stick.

Body scrub is surprisingly easy to make at home. Start with sugar or salt in a bowl, add jojoba oil, almond oil or lavendar oil, which are available at many health food and grocery stores, like Whole Foods. Mix in other herbs like lavender sprigs or dried rosemary, and give the scrub along with a loofah sponge. See specific recipes below.


1/2 cup of jojoba oil
3/4 cup of white cane sugar
1 teaspoon Vitamin E
1/4 cup almond oil
6 drops of lavender essential oil
Dried lavender to your preference (optional)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix until combined, then pour into desired container.


3/4 cup of sea salt
1/2 of jojoba oil
4 drops (or to preference) of rosemary oil
1 teaspoon Vitamin E
1/4 cup almond oil

Directions: Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix until combined, then pour into desired container.