En español | You've heard the phrase, “It's the thought that counts."
Well, it's true when it comes to homemade holiday gifts. You can personalize just about anything to make the receiver feel special.
Do-it-yourself gifts are rising in popularity this year in part because some people may be facing financial challenges caused by the pandemic, while others have more time to make them. In fact, 85 percent of Americans who picked up a new hobby during the coronavirus pandemic plan to give their creations as holiday presents this year, according to a recent OnePoll survey.
Janet Ady of Myersville, Maryland, has been crafting holiday gifts — everything from soap to soup mixes — for years. This year she's knitting vests for family and making grape jelly for neighbors.
"I like to give homemade gifts when I have the time,” says the 65-year-old retiree. “It's going to have a lot more meaning and richness than something bought at the store."
If you need some DIY inspiration, here are 10 ideas:
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PHOTO BY: Westend61/Getty Images
1. Create jolly greetings
Skip buying mass-produced cards and make your own using paper and simple things found around the house, such as buttons, ribbons and stickers. For 35 years, Patty Sullivan, 61, of Berkeley, California, has been crafting holiday cards in the form of a quilt cut into postcards, small sushi magnets and bookmarks.
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PHOTO BY: Isabel Pavia/Getty Images
2. Knit with love
Knitted or crocheted items like hats, scarves or throw blankets will keep your loved ones warm all winter. You'll find plenty of ideas and patterns on blogs and websites like Ravelry.
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PHOTO BY: Stefania Pelfini/Getty Images
3. Felting made easy
If you like knitting or crocheting, try felting, a popular fiber art that turns natural fiber like wool into a thick fabric. Many websites and blogs provide designs and directions. Annette Browning, founder of the FiberArtsy & Craftsy blog, says wool dryer balls and felt-wrapped soap are good for beginners. Those who get a little more practice under their belts can make adorable felt animals and even slippers.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy Chris Bekins
4. Visions of sugar plums and other treats
Homemade treats, like Christmas cookies and chocolates, promise to be a big hit with family and friends. Chris Bekins, 70, of Sebastopol, California, made spicy plum sauce with fruit from her own tree this year.
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PHOTO BY: Mixbook
5. Photo albums that make you smile
Despite limited travel and social gatherings this year, photo books are still popular DIY holiday gifts. Photo site Mixbook has seen a surge in family-oriented books — babies, romance and recipes — as holiday gifts, says chief marketing officer Michelle Marie Ritchie.
"It's a way to connect deeply with the people you love,” Ritchie says. Grandparents who not have seen their children or grandchildren during the pandemic, for example, are making memory and history books for them, she adds.
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PHOTO BY: Muanpare wanpen/Getty Images
6. Easy face masks
Face masks may be one of the most practical holiday gifts this year. They also require few materials and don't cost much to make.
"You can use fabric that might be a favorite color or pattern of a loved one,” says Sara Albers, half of the twin-sister team behind DIY blog Alice & Lois, which provides instructions to make masks using a sewing machine or by hand.
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PHOTO BY: kazmulka/Getty Images
7. Calgon, take me away!
Help your loved ones feel serene and stress free this holiday season by giving handmade bath and body products like soaps and facial scrubs. You'll find plenty of ideas and recipes on DIY blogs and sites, such as this easy, 15-minute Citrus Sugar Scrub made from three ingredients, on Alice & Lois.
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PHOTO BY: Zelma Brezinska / EyeEm/Getty Images
8. Candles light the way
With so many people spending more time at home, handmade candles can help make it feel cozier. The Sugar and Charm blog provides an online tutorial to make pine-scented soy candles.
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PHOTO BY: ChamilleWhite/Getty Images
9. A sweet-smelling home
Help keep the homes of your family and friends smelling fresh and clean with home fresheners like scented sachets for drawers and closets or this easy spring-scented room spray made with lavender, bergamot and ylang-ylang oils, on home craft site Hunker. Personalize them with different ingredients.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy Patrick Olson
10. Easy wooden treasures
Whether you're a novice or skilled with a drill, you can make one-of-a-kind treasures from wood — simple toys or fancier furniture. The Lily Ardor home crafts blog will help you make a shabby chic wreath-shaped candleholder in roughly 90 minutes for about $25, or a wood-framed mirror in a few hours for less than $40.
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