DIY Gift Ideas for Christmas and Hanukah.

DIY gifts that won’t take weeks to make but will look like they did.  Projects for every level of DIYer that can be done in about an hour.  Because a good DIY gift shouldn’t have to mean staying up late for 365 nights to hand stitch a log cabin quilt. 

Gingerbread cookies that look like houses on a stand.

Hey YOU.  You there!  The one who hasn’t finished their Christmas presents yet.  The one who swore they were going to knit a sweater for every member of their family.  The one who wanted to be that person who made personalized, super-cute handmade gifts but never actually got around to it because there’s a surprising amount of good television around today.

I mean, if these were the Joanie Loves Chachi days of television, you’d be golden.  You’d have time to knit  sweaters for your entire family.  Even if you’re polygamists.  As it turns out we’re in the Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Showtime era of television.  So, there really isn’t a lot of time to be making grand gesture presents for everyone you know.

Not with all this television to watch.

There is however time for making smaller gesture presents.

Wood DIY gifts



  1. Serving board.
  2. Grill scraper.

If you’re comfortable working with wood and own a saw then either of these projects are the ones you should try. The DIY serving boards especially give you so many options in terms of how you’d like them to look.

You can go full-on rustic and create a genuinely antique looking serving board or make it completely modern looking.  It’s up to you and the person you’re giving it to.

Please don’t be like my mother and give things that YOU like as opposed to what the receiver would like. Or what you think they should like, lol.

This is exactly how I ended up with a Royal Doulton as a present on my 17th birthday. 

Christmassy Stuff

3. Wreath

This seed pod wreath I made in the summer can be made in exactly the same way with bunches of evergreen instead. Slap a bow on it and you’re done.

Fabric Gifts


4. Jean pocket pencil holder.
5. Tea towel apron.

Have scissors? Then you can make either one of these projects.  The ribbon tie on the apron can be hand sewn into place or machine sewn. 

What gives the jean pocket pencil holder extra points is that it can be a FANTASTIC sentimental present if you make it with someone’s old faded jeans.  Of course, this will only go over well if the jeans were destined for the garbage. If on the other hand you cut the ass out of your wife’s favourite jeans to make it, she may be less impressed by the gesture.

Beeswax Gifts


6.  Beeswax Food Wrap.
7.  Board Butter for conditioning raw wood.

These are for all of you out there who have a drawer filled with half burned beeswax candles. You FINALLY have a great use for all those candle stubs.

Turn any cotton fabric and beeswax into food wraps that can be used for years and even revitalized (I’ll show you how to do that) once they start to get worn.

Create custom Beeswax food wraps or a conditioning paste for anything that’s wood. The mix of beeswax and mineral oil gives a beautiful glow to anything it goes on.

Edible Presents

8. Cannabutter

Make it out of pure CBD or THC. Perfect for the gift getter who likes to heal or get high while they slather a scone.

9. Soup

I know this seems weird, but bringing a large mason jar of homemade soup as a hostess gift will 100% be appreciated. Because the day after the party the host is going to be exhausted from cleaning up all day and will NOT want to be making dinner. 

Of all my soup recipes, for this time of year I’d bring a beautifully wrapped jar of my spicy carrot ginger soup.

10. Cookie Stand

If you know someone who loves decorating cookies, make them this cookie stand. It takes NO time at all and it’ll let them display their cookies like the little pieces of art that they are.

The stand is just a scrap piece of wood with two triangles of wood on the back so it can stand up. Then a thin strip of wood is glued to the front to give the cookies something to rest on.

Homemade things they’ll use every day



11. Tooth Polish.
12. Charging Tassel Keychain.

When I first wrote about making this charging tassel for your keychain they cost a ridiculous amount in stores. Now? Now you can get them at the dollar store. The tooth polish on the other hand – well people are definitely still brushing their teeth and the printable label will give your gift a charming old-timey feel.

You could pair the tooth polish with a bamboo toothbrush or go polar opposite and get one of these super-sleek, gold metallic Quip toothbrushes. 

Gold accent gifts










13.   Gold Horseshoe Tissue holder.
14. Waxed dipped Amaryllis with gold foil

Literally a small horseshoe painted gold.  The weight of the horseshoe holds the contents of a box of tissues down but the addition of paint helps a single tissue pull up through the shoe without catching at all.  Goodbye hideous floral cardboard tissue box.

This wax dipped amaryllis bulbs probably won’t be ready for a Christmas bloom if you do and give them now, but they will be ready at the beginning of the New Year which is when I personally am looking for a little pick me up to help with coming down from the holiday mayhem.

Still feel guilty about not having made the time to knit those sweaters or quilt those quilts? Don’t worry about it.  Nobody likes them anyway.  Besides, that’s what Benetton is for. I’m nothing if not full of outdated references today.  Stick around and I might mention Andrew Dice Clay.

All of these DIYS are pretty inexpensive with most of them costing less than $10 and requiring no more than an hour or so to make.  If you’re absolutely stuck on the homemade sweater, you can actually “make” one of those in about 5 – 10 minutes depending on your scruples and how you feel about cutting the tag out of a store bought sweater.

DIY Gift Ideas for Christmas and Hanukah.


  1. S Ross says:

    I’ve used a brass nose ring for a bull for a Kleenex dispenser like the pony shoe, but it kind of put some people off so I put it away. I think I will get it out again….

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi Karen,
    Great ideas – thanks. I’m particularly intrigued by the gingerbread cookies on the cookie stand. Could you share your recipe and where the house cookie cutters are from?
    Thanks again!

  3. Mindy says:

    After years of following along, I just realized I read all your posts in the voice of Jane Lynch.

  4. Mark says:

    Nice collection of creative gift ideas. Thank you Karen!

  5. Cred says:

    I love the idea of giving a cutting board with a loaf of homemade bread but I’m just not going to have time to be making bread close to xmas day. Cutting boards with board butter and perhaps buy bread from our local bakery.
    Although, crap it’ll be day old since they will close Xmas day.

    • I solved that problem years ago, when everyone asked me to bake bread for the holidays and I was going crazy trying to do it the day before Christmas. I promise you, this will work and they will never know.

      Bake your loaves – 2 to 3 weeks ahead of time. Let them thoroughly cool (not over night). Wrap them tightly in tin foil. If your tinfoil is of the very “thin” variety, wrap them twice. Put them in a freezer bag and freeze them. Take them out of the freezer the night before you need them. Let them defrost IN THE TINFOIL! When they are defrosted, they taste like they are freshly baked. Hasn’t failed me yet, and they are still asking for my bread around the holidays. Good luck!

      • Cred says:

        If love you, Susan! I didn’t ask for tips but I was secretly hoping that some expert baker on here had figured this out, would read my comment and say, “Oh that’s simple, you just have to…”
        Just like you did! Thank you so much.

      • Oh, I am no expert. I just like to bake bread in the winter. I think that’s why Karen’s blog is so popular. We are all here to help … if we can.

        Caution: My freezing method does not work for bread that has the top sprinkled with sugar before baking. Found that out the hard way. When defrosted, the sugar gets … well, let’s use the technical term here … icky. Bread sprinkled with flour prior to baking is fine, but not sugar.

        Enjoy and have fun!

      • Frances says:

        All well and good, but who the heck has room in their freezer for a whole loaf of bread?!

      • LOIS M BARON says:

        replying to Frances. You eat all the ice cream from the freezer first. :-) I can be flippant because I have a standing freezer in my basement, so I always have freezer space.

        Thanks, Susan, for your answer!

  6. Melissa says:

    Genius ideas! If better get high behind!!
    Now, where did I put that saw……

  7. Gretchen Sexton says:

    I made the tooth polish last year and it was a big hit! Still loving that serving board idea….

  8. ronda says:

    The apron is fabulous! I’d include the “blood” stain!

  9. maggie van sickle says:

    purchased and wrapped but nothing homemade..

  10. Cathy says:

    Where do you find tent-size tea towels? I know you’re enviously thin but my regular shape + 65 yrs = myWinnie the Poo shape.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Yes, I am kind of miniature sized. But as long as it’s a generous tea towel it’ll work. If all else fails use a bath towel. :) That way one can slide themselves along the floor on their belly to clean up any massive kitchen spills. ~ karen!

  11. Debbie D says:

    Gold Rush Alaska??? Rats!!! I don’t think that one is available here in the States–at least on Dish. However, I do occasionally watch Ice Road Truckers! Does that count?

  12. jainegayer says:

    Love the gift ideas! My daughter-in-law was here on Thanksgiving and brought something wrapped in a beeswax cloth. She was so excited and asked if I’d ever seen anything like it. I remembered when you had done a post about them years ago. Now I can make some for her. And the horseshoe tissue holder is a great idea. I would use one of my horses shoes but it would be tough getting all the “organics” off. But Tractor Supply has horsehoes and they’re about $8 a pair. Great idea!! Thanks, Karen for having our backs again.

    • Karen says:

      HI Jaine! Just make sure you get a pony shoe. A regular horseshoe is too big and heavy. :) ~ karen!

      • And don’t wash them in the dishwasher!

        I bought 10 of them to make for presents, thought I would toss them in the dishwasher just to clean them up (I am so nuts!), forgot about them for a couple of days, and they rusted!

        Dang! Now I have 10 rusty pony horse shoes sitting around the house. Can’t toss ’em (that would be sinful), not worth the time to get the rust off, and I don’t know anyone who has a shoeless pony.

        Sometimes, you can hear the Universe laughing at you.

      • SusanR says:

        If you have a Walmart nearby, go to their section where they sell cleaning supplies and look for their gallon of White Vinegar. It may be marked as “Cleaning Vinegar”. It’s a couple of dollars for the gallon.

        Put your pony shoes into an old baking pan that’s deep enough for the pony shoes to be covered, and with a mix of somewhere between 50-60% vinegar to water, put the shoes in the pan and pour that over them.

        Let sit for several hours, depending on how bad the rust is, and then you should be able to just use a washcloth to wipe off the rust while you’re rinsing off each shoe.

        This is the process metalworkers use, instead of purchasing rust removal products. Just make sure you’re not using a teflon pan. Aluminum is best, especially if it’s an old, dirty aluminum because the vinegar mixture will also clean the aluminum pan.

        After the pony shoes dry, spray them with whatever color paint Karen recommended, before they have a chance to rust again.

      • Really?? That is terrific! I have a gallon of that in the closet!

        Thank you so much!! I will begin soaking them tonight.

        I really appreciate your help, Susan.

      • SusanR says:

        Happy to help! Heavy rust takes a few hours, so yours might not take tht long. After half an hour, just rub a rusty spot with your finger, and if it comes right off, they’re probably all done. If most of it comes off, thta will give you some idea of how much longer to soak them. I don’t think you’d want to leave them soak overnight.

  13. bill keiser says:

    Slacker! 2:04 am! I had to stay up two hours later to read this.

    • Karen says:

      Sorry Bill, lol. There was an issue with the scheduling of the post. :) I’ll be on top of things from now on. ;) ~ karen!

  14. Thera says:

    Something must be wrong, can’t be second lol.
    I am always behind on the shopping part due to payday dates etc but great ideas though, thank you!

  15. Louise says:

    Oh my goodness, I can’t be first, can I?! I just wanted to say how much I love the photo of your tea towel apron . . . with the blood on it and the cleaver in your hand! I actually went to the article and am very pleased, as I have some gorgeous tea towels, too pretty to use as regular towels. But they’ll make great aprons, so thanks!

    • Karen says:

      You were first Louise! The post accidentally didn’t publish when it was supposed to so it went up a few hours late. :) ~ karen!

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