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Gift Ideas

11 easy homemade Christmas gift ideas

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Giving away handmade presents for Christmas is not only thoughtful, but it can also save you so much money. Here are the best DIY gifts to try...

Christmas gift, hot chocolate, cocktail and scrapbook

Credit: Mega Pixel, Julia Manga, Africa Studio, Bondart Photography - Shutterstock

On a tight budget this Christmas, missed the deadline for deliveries, or just fancy getting a bit creative with your gifts? We have some great, cheap homemade Christmas gift ideas for you.

If you're pushing it, you could even make them on Christmas Eve. Most of these can be made in under an hour.

Our top 10 DIY present ideas are sure to impress. They can work as a good option for Secret Santa, stocking fillers and thoughtful gifts for your friends and family.

If you're also looking to buy some presents this year, see our Christmas gift guide.

Best handmade Christmas presents

These are the best and easiest things to make as DIY Christmas gifts on a budget:

  1. Microwave hand warmers

    microwave handwarmer

    Credit: nito – Shutterstock

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... And with that, we're beginning to lose the feeling in our fingers every time we leave the house.

    Handmade microwavable hand warmers make ideal Christmas presents. It's easy to make pocket-sized ones that can be warmed up in the microwave.

    To make them, you'll need some scraps of material (the more festive the better), a bag of rice and a needle and thread. We have full instructions on how to make them in our upcycling guide.

  2. DIY cocktail kit

    This one is great if you've got a whole group of friends you want to make Christmas presents for (and don't want to leave anyone out)!

    Simply buy mini-size ingredients to make their favourite drink, and package them up nicely.

    For example, if your friend likes vodka and coke, simply grab a can of coke, a miniature bottle of vodka, and a jam jar. If you haven't got any jam jars lying around at home, you can buy them in bulk. Then, get a bit of string and some nice paper straws.

    Place the can inside the jar, then attach your alcoholic mini to the side using the string and pop in the straw.

    You can do this with rum, prosecco, gin and pretty much any alcohol that comes in a mini-size version.

    Or, if you already have alcohol in your cupboards, you could buy some small glass bottles and fill those up with their favourite drink.

    This also works well with mocktails if you swap out the alcohol for a non-alcoholic alternative.

  3. Christmas tree decorations

    Orange tree decoration

    These are so easy to make.

    We created the one in the picture (above) by finely slicing an orange and then drying out each slice in the oven on a low heat. We kept an eye on them and regularly turned them over so they could dry evenly on both sides.

    Once the orange slices had dried, we took them out of the oven and left them to cool. Then, the following day, we added pieces of ribbon through the slices to make Christmas tree decorations. We were very happy with how they turned out!

    It did take longer than we'd originally expected for the orange slices to dry out (about a couple of hours). So, to save energy, it's worth drying out the oranges at the same time as using the oven to make something else.

    For example, if you're baking mince pies, this would be the perfect time to dry out the orange slices. It may even give an extra citrusy taste to the pies!

  4. Baked treats

    Home-baked things like cakes, mince pies, brownies and cookies make such good Christmas gifts.

    If you're a natural in the kitchen, you'll no doubt already have your own favourite recipes. But if you struggle a little in that department, worry not – we've got some super easy ones.

    Check out our recipe for chocolate truffles. Or, think about what would be most well-received (or, perhaps more importantly, what you think you'd be best at making).

    The one drawback to baking a gift is that you'll have to do it quite close to Christmas Day. But, if you can find the time, it will be worth it.

  5. Homemade hair and skin beauty treatments

    You'd be surprised just how easy it is to make effective beauty products using only cheap and natural ingredients.

    We have a whole guide on how to make beauty products for your hair, face and body. They're all made from edible things you'll find in your fridge and kitchen cupboards.

    Once you've decided which products to make, pour them into neat little jars. And don't forget to decorate them with some Christmas ribbons!

  6. Personalised Christmas cards

    You could take the easy route and get some personalised cards made on Moonpig or FunkyPigeon.

    But making some cards yourself can be good fun, and make for a pretty thoughtful festive gesture. There are loads of card-making ideas scattered around the web, but it's ideal if you can make something unique and personal to the recipient.

    You could also up your game by adding photos or writing a personalised Christmas poem inside. There's nothing nicer for the card receiver than knowing that loads of thought went into it.

    While the card itself should cost you next to nothing, you'll just need some card-making supplies.

    Our Head of Editorial, Laura Brown, recommends this tip:

    Laura Brown

    I love sending and receiving Christmas cards – especially when they're homemade.

    It's ideal if you can completely personalise the cards, but I often struggle to find the time to do this for all my friends and family.

    What I usually do instead is create a handful of cards in a similar style, each with slight variations of font and imagery. Then I decide afterwards which one I think each person will like the most.

    This way, every card is still thoughtful, but it's an easier way to get them all done in time!

  7. A snow globe


    Credit: Zoltan Major – Shutterstock

    Next time you finish a jar of jam, peanut butter or something similar, don't throw it away! You can upcycle it into a snow globe and avoid it going to waste.

    If you don't have any jars lying around, you could potentially buy one from somewhere like Dunelm. However, the most eco-friendly gift option would be to reuse an old jar that you already have, so do this if you can.

    When deciding what to put in the jar, we'd recommend using dry fillings. Filling the snow globe with liquid can be effective, but you can make an extra special one without it (which may be less hassle).

    The only thing you definitely need is something to act as the snow. Table salt would work. Or if you have any other ideas, feel free to get creative.

    Beyond that, it's pretty much up to you how to decorate the snow globe. You could go for a good old-fashioned tree and reindeer, or you could personalise the scene a little more depending on the interests of whoever's receiving the gift.

    If you do decide to fill your homemade snow globe with water, you could replace the salt (which would dissolve!) with some biodegradable glitter or artificial snow.


    Bookmarks are the perfect gifts for all of your bookworm friends. They can be made easily in one of two ways:

    1. Cut out a strip of white card and glue on some pressed flowers picked straight from your garden, laminate, and voilà!
    2. Alternatively, do you have tickets from an event you and your friend went to together? You could cut off the scraggly edges, add a photo of one of your favourite memories with them, sprinkle on some glitter and laminate the result.

    Put your bookmark inside your Christmas card. This way, you can avoid using wrapping paper unnecessarily which saves you money and avoids waste.

    Did you know that not all wrapping paper is recyclable? If you need to wrap gifts, you could try using brown paper. It looks great and can be recycled.
  9. Photo scrapbook

    scrapbook present

    A photo scrapbook is the most time-consuming homemade Christmas present, but if done properly, it can be the best.

    You can print photos online for free (you just need to pay for postage and packaging). We go through the best sites to try in our guide to free photo printing.

    When making a Christmas scrapbook, approach it in any way that you wish. We'd suggest getting a scrapbook to start with and then personalising each page with jokes, drawings and memories you share with the person.

    It shouldn't cost much to make, and it could genuinely be one of the most thoughtful gifts they've ever received.

  10. Hot chocolate sticks

    For anyone with a sweet tooth, homemade hot chocolate sticks will be very appreciated as Christmas gifts. Just make sure these make it to your friend and don't end up in your stomach...

    Melt the chocolate, pour into an ice cube mould and leave to cool a little. Then, while the chocolate's still soft, add in your sticks and refrigerate.

  11. Embroidered accessories

    embroidery shirt heart

    Credit: Yuriy Golub – Shutterstock

    Do you have a plain t-shirt, tote bag or hat that you no longer use? You can personalise it with some embroidery to make it into the perfect DIY Christmas gift.

    You'll need a needle and some embroidery thread. Or, you can get a full embroidery kit, which also comes with a hoop. These make it a little easier, especially if you've never done it before.

    There are loads of online tutorials on how to embroider anything from a heart to different types of plants and flowers.

Now that the presents are sorted, you can get cracking with Christmas dinner.

Jake Butler

WRITTEN BY Jake Butler

Jake joined Save the Student in 2010 and is the COO. As an expert across student finance, Jake has appeared on The BBC, The Guardian, Which?, ITV, Channel 5 and many other outlets. He particularly enjoys sharing tips on saving money and making extra money with opportunities like paid surveys and part-time jobs.
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