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Snowflake cookies and gifts on a white surface.

I’d bet that most people would agree the holidays are one of the most expensive times of the year. And if you’re on a tight budget or on a debt-free journey, your holiday budget may be looking real short this year. Don’t worry friend, I see you.

I have been there too, in fact, even now, being debt-free I have a lot of people to buy for, so I still DIY some of my Christmas gifts. Now stay with me here…I’m not talking bricks of fruit cakes here; I mean super cute DIY Christmas gifts your friends and family will actually love!

The best place to start is to sit down and create a holiday budget so you know exactly how much money you’ll have to put towards purchasing supplies for your DIY Christmas gifts.

The idea is to have a very specific plan for the holiday season so you can avoid overspending and stressing about money. This will allow you to really enjoy all the holiday festivities instead of feeling anxious and worried.

DIY Christmas Gifts People Will Actually Love

When you hear “DIY Christmas Gifts” what comes to mind? Before I started making my own homemade Christmas gifts, I used to get immediate visions of fruitcakes, cheesy crafts, or your typical tin of chocolate chip cookies!

There’s not necessarily anything wrong with those gifts, but I think in our Pinterest-worthy culture, there’s no excuse for giving gifts like these when you can give wonderful creative Christmas gifts that people will be excited to receive and actually use!

Give some of these handmade Christmas gift ideas a try this year to show your friends and family how much they mean to you without busting your budget…

Homemade Candy

Who doesn’t love sweets? Giving people some yummy candies for a holiday gift is a great way to show how much effort you put into making their gift!

Think simple holiday-shaped chocolates, homemade sea-salt caramels, festive fudge, or other varieties such as chocolate-dipped pretzel rods or chocolate-covered pretzels, or even some easy no-bake truffles!

Supplies you may need:

Holiday candy molds
Holiday sprinkles
Cello bags
Tulle ribbon for bows
Mason jars

Check out this post for some great Christmas candy recipes.

DIY Scented Room Sprays

We made Christmas-scented room sprays last year using these directions, and not only were they a huge hit, but they were SO easy to make plus my kids loved helping!

I was able to use a few essential oils I already had on hand, but I also purchased a few Christmas-y scents just for this project. If you don’t have any essential oils already in your cupboard, don’t worry, you can find good quality oils on Amazon for a great price, and a little goes a long way so you can purchase the smallest bottles you can find and still have plenty of material to make a large number of room sprays!

Here are the supplies I purchased to make my room spray:

Homemade Bath Bombs

Not only are bath bombs super popular these days, but they are pricey. That’s why DIY bath bombs were such a great gift that all the women in our family absolutely loved.

My kids had a lot of fun making these as well. I just ordered this kit from Amazon and followed the directions on one of the thousands of posts on Pinterest…easy peasy.  Here’s a great recipe from one of my favorite natural living blogs.

Other ingredients needed to make bath bombs:

This kit includes every single item you’ll need if you don’t want to purchase each ingredient individually (the kit itself would even make a great gift).

Homemade Christmas Cookies

Sure, technically, any cookies will do, but it’s fun to get fancy for the holidays! Try something different from your good ole standby!

Try your hand at some decorated sugar cookies or some French macarons! They may require a bit more skill than your average Snickerdoodle; they sure will stand out from the crowd!

Check out this huge list of 85 awesome cookie recipes to find your favorite.

Handmade Soy Candles

These were on my shortlist last year until I decided to go with the bath bombs, but I think homemade candles would be an amazing DIY Christmas gift for anyone!

Grab your A.C. Moore coupons or head to Amazon to grab some soy wax melts and wicks (this kit includes both!) and raid your cabinets for some mason jars. You could even upcycle empty or decorative jars you have around your home.

Use any scents of essential oils you already have, or grab a few of your favorites (here are a few of mine). These directions I found are SO simple.

Homemade Dog Treats

When talking about giving gifts to our loved ones, we certainly can’t forget our furry friends! Everyone who has dogs will love receiving homemade dog treats for their pup.

These are so simple to make and use all real food ingredients (so you can even sample them yourself) plus you can make a large batch at one time.

To make them extra fun, grab a dog-shaped mold like this one or this adorable one. Here are some super simple recipes you can use. And don’t forget some cute packaging while you’re at it.

DIY Wooden Ornaments

I stumbled upon these beauties on Pinterest one day and thought they were so plain and beautiful and ended up being super easy to make.

The awesome thing about these ornaments is that you need so few supplies. I was able to purchase some white birch logs at the craft store; my husband cut them down into discs and drilled a small hole at the top.

If you are not able to cut them down, you can grab these instead (they also have pre-drilled holes and twine included).

I also grabbed a roll of this or these to hang them.  Personally, I think the twine helps them look more rustic than these do (and is cheaper), but it depends on the style you’re going for.

You can do SO much with these DIY Christmas ornaments…add a personalized monogram, plain shapes, or your favorite holiday quotes.

We still put these on our tree years later, and they would make a really great gift idea that would get used over and over each year.

Homemade Sugar Scrub

Homemade sugar scrub is a super easy gift to make, and it’s a huge hit! Sugar scrub represents luxurious bubble baths and the ultimate relaxation. Unfortunately, you can gift them the sugar scrub but not necessarily the time to actually use it.

You can save yourself some time and grab a complete kit to make some fun sugar scrub cubes or make the more traditional DIY sugar scrub in jars.

You can use a lot of ingredients you already have in your home, which could save you some extra dough.

You’ll need sugar, coconut oil, essential oils, glass jars (or try upcycling some you already have around your home), and some food coloring (if you’d like to make them pretty colors).

This kit comes with the cutest glass jars, plus hangtags, labels, and even wooden spoons to give as part of the gift. If you want to get extra fancy, go ahead and add pieces of dried herbs or flower petals…these are so cool; I didn’t even know you could purchase items like this?!

This recipe is great because it’s super festive.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have to give credit to a neighbor for these last two items. I’m going to share my two favorites.

First, she gave us homemade vanilla extract…this was seriously genius. As someone who bakes a fair amount and always gets annoyed with how expensive vanilla extract is…and for the tiniest little bottle (when I do have to purchase it, this is my favorite because it’s reasonably priced and has no artificial flavors or colors), I absolutely loved this gift.

It was practical, useful, delicious, and she promised me it was a breeze to make.

You’ll need some little bottles (these are perfect), a bunch of vanilla beans…. try grabbing them in bulk like this, and some vodka. Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, just follow this easy tutorial, and you’ll be on your way.

Homemade Spice Mixes

The last DIY Christmas gift is homemade spice mixes. Grab some jars and fill them up with any unique spice mix you like! My neighbor chose a pair of cinnamon & sugar in one jar and a pizza blend in another…so simple and unique.

Here are the jars she used…which were perfectly airtight, and here’s a recipe for pizza blend and one for cinnamon and sugar (I know it sounds self-explanatory, but you gotta have that good ratio.)

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Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.

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