Top 10 homemade Christmas gifts
Save your meager student budget with these DIY presents
‘Tis the season to open your hearts and empty your wallets. While I do love showering my loved ones with gifts to show my appreciation, I don’t like the idea of spending $400 or more on thoughtful gifts for my boyfriend, family, friends and pet rock. So, when faced with a student’s bank account, that is to say a black hole of nothingness, I was curious as to what kind of unique gifts I could come up with this Christmas for free. I wanted to give something my loved ones would find sincere, useful or delicious, in some cases. I used everything I already had in my house so I didn’t have to spend any money, but others may need to buy some materials — be resourceful. I dug through my old Barbie dolls and found a fairy that dispensed glitter from her butt — for what purpose I can’t remember, but it came in handy this holiday season.
1. Boudoir photo album
For your significant other, why not create a private boudoir photography album? This one’s easy. Just set your camera to self-timer, have a glass of wine or two, or three or four, and have fun dressing up in old Halloween costumes and strutting your stuff. Sexy cop, sexy doctor, sexy Darth Vader or sexy pumpkin. Whatever you’ve got — work it. Pin sheets to the wall for a colourful background, and bring out the high heels and fishnets. Fellas — follow the same formula. Make sure to show off that pair of tight Calvin Klein boxer briefs, and you’ll look absolutely fabulous in (faux) studio lighting. Get at least 20 photos and make sure they’re more interesting than you looking sheep-ishly at the camera. You don’t want to be on Santa’s good list this year. This will be much easier after the first bottle of wine. Compile the photos and place them in a spare photo album. Materials: old Halloween costumes, spare photo album, photo paper or plain paper and a home printer.
2. Mixed CD or USB Key
Remember mixed tapes? Remember clutching the cassette box to your heart, relishing in your lover’s eclectic music taste? Take it to the 21st century with a mixed CD or USB key, filled with songs your love will love. Create a booklet with handwritten lyrics. Col-our. Draw stick figures. It doesn’t matter how crappy and illegible your writing is, it comes from the heart. Materials: one blank CD or one gigabyte USB key, construction paper or regular paper and crayons for lyric booklet.
3. Skill certificate
Does Aunt Gertie want to start a blog with all her fabulous knitting projects, but she doesn’t know how to write code? Get Gertie a gift certificate for blog design! Create a gift certificate using a template in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages with your blog’s header as the background. Not into coding? Give the gift of guitar lessons, cooking lessons, sewing lessons, anything you’re good at and someone else might want to learn. Materials: paper, a home printer and a few hours of your time when someone wants to use that skill certificate.
4. Homemade Liquor
This will make every student in your life very, very happy. For basic coffee liqueur, dis-solve two cups of white sugar and two cups of brown sugar in four cups of boiling water. Then take it off the stove and add a quarter cup of instant coffee, and when cooled, add four cups of vodka and a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract. Place in a reused bottle. Re-cycle the front of an old Christmas card that’s blank on the back, and write out the recipe for a good cocktail, and attach with a ribbon. Materials: liquor ingredients, a nice jar or bottle to hold
it in, a Christmas card and ribbon.
5. Cookie in a jar
Who doesn’t love cookies? Find your favourite cookie recipe and layer the dry ingredients in a reused jar. Write out the recipe on a Christmas card, noting that all they have to do is mix together any wet ingredients in a bowl, and then dump the contents of the jar. Attach the recipe to the jar with a ribbon. Materials: reused jar, ribbon, Christmas card and dry ingredients from your favourite cookie recipe.
This one is my favourite. Find a small jar and fill it up with baby oil, which will make the glitter fall slower. Fill the jar to the brim as much as you can. Add a teaspoon of glitter. Find an old Christmas ornament and add super glue to the bottom of the figurine. Hold it steady on the jar cap for at least a minute, and then let it sit on the super glue for a few more minutes. Once the super glue is dry and the figurine is stuck securely to the cap, flip it upside down and screw it to the jar.
Turn right-side up and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Marvel at the magic and wonder as the glitter falls on your Christmas friend like snow. Materials: Small reused jar, old Christmas ornament, glitter, baby oil and super glue.
7. Lemon sugar scrub
This is super easy to make on your own and it smells better than cake. Materials: One cup sugar, half cup vegetable glycerin, one tablespoon grated lemon zest, a small reused jar, Christmas card and ribbon or bow. Don’t have vegetable glycerin? Use olive oil. Leave a note attached to the jar cautioning the recipient to wipe off the bathtub floor as oils are slippery.
8. Silhouette picture
This is a good one for the family. Find a photo of a loved one where they are turned to the side. Cut out the shape of their head, including their shoulders. Use this as a guide to make a silhouette on black construction paper. Place the silhouette on construction paper of a different colour and place it in a frame. It’s thoughtful and not much is required besides your time, which is worth a lot when students have so little of it. Materials: Construction paper, frame and a photo of a loved one.
I have access to an air popper, and I love how many flavours I can play around with! Make this a few hours before you bring it to the recipient, and sprinkle the popcorn with cinnamon and sugar, nutritional yeast and salt, or whatever else you can think of! Put it in a reused Christmas tin. Materials: Popcorn kernels, air popper, your choice of spices and a reused Christmas tin.
Make enough of your favourite vinaigrette, pour it into a reused bottle, add a ribbon or bow and add a personalized note with the recipe. Improvise with olive oil, vinegar and your favourite spices until you find something delicious. This is a fantastic gift when going over to someone’s house for dinner. Materials: Bottle or jar, vinaigrette ingredients, Christmas ribbon or bow and reused Christmas card with recipe. There you have it. Now go forth, be creative and fear not for your bank account.