Each year, I think I’m going to be too busy to craft handmade gifts for the holidays. And each year, I end up doing it anyway. For those of us who take the DIY route, the question always creeps up in September, October, or at the latest in November: “What to make this year?” Here are 12 of my favorite handmade gift ideas from past years. There’s something for everyone and for all skill levels: knitting, crochet, sewing, body care, jewelry, and food gifts.
Lavender sachets for the linen closet
This is a quick knit from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, a sweet book full of handmade gift ideas. These pyramid-shaped sachets take just over an hour each to knit, and are filled with oh-so-fragrant lavender buds to protect linens, yarns, and hand-knits from moths.
Pointy elf hat
…also from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. A couple of years ago, I knitted one for each of my nephews, nieces and godchildren. That may sound like a lot, but these are incredibly fast and satisfying to knit, especially when working with bulky yarns in lovely bright colors.
A couple of years ago, I made a pair for just about everyone in the family. The pattern — “Rye” by Tin Can Knits — is available for free on Ravelry, and just lovely to make.
I made this firewood carrying tote a couple of years ago for Dan, and we’ve been carrying our firewood in style ever since. I actually used a canvas painting drop cloth that we already had, so the only material I had to buy was a 3/4″ wooden dowel from the hardware store! You’ll want to use canvas or other similarly sturdy fabric for this one. See tutorial here.
Vanilla brown sugar body scrub
…for pampering a loved one. I followed this recipe, but used dark brown sugar instead of light.
Lavender massage oil
This massage oil is really quick and easy to make, and will definitely be a welcome gift — especially with calming lavender, which is perfect for relaxing massages. This would make a sweet gift for a friend, or for your sweetheart for future date nights. It can also be used as body oil after a warm bath.
- 4 oz grapeseed or almond oil (or combination)
- 1.5 oz dried lavender blossoms
- 5-10 drops lavender essential oil
Put the lavender buds in a jar and pour oil over them. Close the lid and let sit on a warm windowsill for 2-3 weeks. (To accelerate the process, you can gently warm the mixture in a double boiler for about 1 hour.) Strain the buds from the oil and add the essential oil. Bottle and store in a cool, dark place. Adding a sprig or two of dried lavender to the bottle adds a nice touch.
Handmade beeswax candles
You knew this one was coming, right? I make candles every fall and they make a gift that I love to give — and people seem to love to receive. I have a full tutorial for you, for making both taper candles and pillar candles, here.
Bird’s Nest necklace
I made these for my nieces, but I ended up liking them so much that I kept a couple for myself! See tutorial here.
Jar of home-made granola
— with recipe attached so that the lucky recipient won’t be forced to come knocking on your door when the goods run out.
for the outdoorsy, wood-chopping kinda guys in my life (Ravelry link)
Pine cone key chains
After all of these knitting projects, here’s a crochet craft for you! These little woolen pine cones turned out so sweet. There are several patterns available on Ravelry — I ended up going with this one, as it has 6 different size options. The stitch pattern is easy to memorize and you can soon whip out one in an hour or so. I made key chains, but these would also make lovely Christmas tree ornaments.
Sleeve for laptop, tablet, or journal
by Maya Donenfeld — see the free tutorial here.