Handmade Holiday gifts that are low on the cheese factor

It’s a great idea to make gifts for people on your list if you want a frugal holiday, or if you just want to move away from the commercialized aspect of the holiday season and get back to a more personal gift exchange experience.

In this post, I’ll share some links to my favorite tutorials for gift crafts. You really can present beautiful, thoughtful gifts you’ve made yourself. The hardest part I’ve found is finding ideas for crafts that aren’t cheesy, or look horribly handmade, or resemble something a not-so-cool Grandmother would like. Having said that, I’ve managed to find several gifts that are awesome, easy to make and require only a bit of time and patience.

First though, being organized is the key to a non-stressful and successful craft filled holiday. Be sure to get started early – there’s always the one idea that just doesn’t work out and you want plenty of time to formulate a backup plan. The first thing you’ll need to do is make a gift list. If you want to get fancy with it, Family Fun offers a printable PDF version here: http://familyfun.go.com/assets/cms/pdf/printables/planner_gifts.pdf

Once you have your list in hand, it’s helpful to group your recipients in ways that make sense to you. Try grouping by gender, age, interests, etc. The more people you can gift with the same type of craft, the cheaper your materials costs will be. Once you have your groupings, you can move on to the fun part. Looking for gifts to make! The internet is awash with tutorials on how to make gifts and you can also find numerous craft books at your local library. Just be aware that you’ll be wading through a lot of the afore mentioned cheesy ideas to find the true gems.

Last year I made gifts for a lot of people on my list, and they were all a big hit. For the adults, I made etched glass containers filled with Holiday Caramel Chex Mix. Visit the Chex website for a ton of recipes going beyond the standard party mix. Glass etching isn’t nearly as scary or complicated as it might sound, and the results are fabulous. A good tutorial can be found here: http://createstudio.blogspot.com/2009/03/glass-etching-tutorial.html

For the young girls, I made hat and scarf sets. My hats had kitty ears (I wrote up a tutorial with pictures) and I used this tutorial for the scarfs.

This year I’ll be branching out into other crafts, but I’m not going to say just yet exactly what they are so not to spoil the surprise. However, I have a set of tutorial links for cool gift crafts that I’m more than happy to share.

Homemade bath crayons
Washcloth puppets
(more sewing patterns for babies and toddlers)
Rock Star Necklaces
Glass Tile Pendants
Rice warmer bags
Melted army men bowls (Craftster is an awesome website for all kinds of inspiration and tutorials.)
Cloth grocery bags
Chocolate Lovers Milk Bath
Exploding box photo holder
Magnetic bookmarks
Recipes in a Jar food gifts (scroll down a bit for the links in green)
Quillow tutorial (quilt and pillow combined, also great for kids)
Embossed metal box from drink can
Book Earrings
Handmade Holiday Ideas from Handmade Homeschool
Personalized Hand Santizer/Soap (perfect teacher gift!)

General Tutorial Sites:

What The Craft Tutorials
The Long Thread’s top 100 tutorials of 2009
Just Something I Made’s 2009 gift making guide
Sew Mama Sew Ultimate Handmade Holidays List

I hope these links offer a bit of inspiration for your own handmade holidays. If you have more links to awesome gift tutorials to share, by all means add them to the comments!

If you just aren’t crafty, or don’t have the time to make your holiday gifts but want to give handmade, I’ll be posting my buyer’s handmade gift guide later this week. 🙂

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