By Cora L. Diekman and Lindsay Cohn

Published on November 24, 2017


The season of holiday shopping is upon us, which means mega-long lines at your favorite retailers. One way to avoid the crowds? Order online. Another? Get crafty. Putting on your creative cap is a thoughtful way to show friends and family just how much you care. And while homemade gifts often get a bad rap—knobbly knit sweaters and string art aren’t helping the cause—there are plenty of projects that you can easily DIY at home.

For beauty junkies, whip up a sugar scrub with some essential oils. Foodies won’t be able to resist peppermint hot cocoa or layered brownie mix. And a fragrant candle is always a covetable hostess gift. (Finally, make your presents pop with festive wrapping.)

So, to help you get a head start on your holiday crafting and homemade gifts, ahead are the seasonally-inspired DIYs for everyone on your list.

Whipped Peppermint Cream Hand Scrub

A sweet treat for your skin and your senses, this whipped peppermint scrub will keep hands soft, hydrated, and heavenly-scented all season long.

Get the how-to on A Beautiful Mess

Photography by SNIXY KITCHEN

Gluten-free Walnut Cocoa Brownie Mix

Well, if this isn’t the tastiest DIY treat, we don’t know what is. All the ingredients you need to mix up a batch of indulgent walnut cocoa brownies—neatly layered in a jar. A gingham ribbon and instruction tag is the proverbial cherry on top.

Get the how-to on Snixy Kitchen.

Photography by HAPPY GO LUCKY BLOG

Christmas Candles

Looking for a hostess gift? All you need to create this beautiful, handmade candle is a ceramic mug, soy wax, and essential oils of your choosing.  

Get the how-to on Happy Go Lucky Blog.

Photography by A BUBBLY LIFE.

Retro Glitter Ornaments

Glitz and glam galore! A handmade ornament is the gift that keeps on giving. Each year when your loved ones festoon their tree with these retro, glitter-filled globes, they’ll think of you.

Get the how-to on A Bubbly Life.

Photography by A PUMPKIN & A PRINCESS

Gingerbread Sugar Scrub

Scrub a dub dub, gingerbread in the tub? Yes! Bring the warm aromas of this classic Christmas cookie into the bath (or shower) with this homemade sugar scrub.

Get the how-to on A Pumpkin & A Princess.

Photography by CRAFT CREATE COOK

Peppermint Bath Bomb

For the pal who needs (and deserves) some pampering, this DIY bath bomb—infused with invigorating peppermint essential oil—is sublime for a long soak on a frosty winter day.

Get the how-to on Craft Create Cook.

Photography by HEART & VINE.

Simmering Potpourri

‘Tis the season to show gratitude for all those who have helped you throughout the year. This simmering potpourri is a great handmade “thank you” gift. It’s easy and inexpensive to create and has a wonderfully-earthy scent—courtesy of bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, and dried orange slices.

Get the how-to on Heart & Vine

Photography by A PUMPKIN & A PRINCESS

Baking Gift Basket

For those with a sweet tooth, we’ve got your present inspo on lock. Pick up a basket at your local craft store, or Etsy, and fill it with Christmas-y cookie cutters, measuring spoons, cupcake liners, crinkle paper, and sprinkles. Baking (and gifting) made easy!

Get the how-to on A Pumpkin & A Princess.

Photography by A PUMPKIN & A PRINCESS

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Pails

Who doesn’t love hot cocoa during this time of year? The addition of peppermint and mini marshmallows makes it all the more festive. And it’s something people can (and will) enjoy all winter long.

Get the how-to on A Pumpkin & A Princess.

Photography by MAD IN CRAFTS

Pecan Pie Sugar Scrub

Sugar, spice, and everything nice! Inspired by the beloved holiday dessert, this pecan pie body scrub smells delicious and leaves skin touchably smooth.

Get the how-to on Mad in Crafts.

Photography by A BEAUTIFUL MESS

Marbled Clay Ring Dish

Just when you thought these were too amazing to DIY, the step-by-step instructions (and photos!) make the entire process fun and simple. That gorgeous marbled effect is created by twisting different colors of oven bake clay before rolling and flattening into these clever dish shapes.

Get the how-to on A Beautiful Mess.


Homemade Peaches And Cream Soap

Just when everyone is gifting cinnamon and pumpkin-scented EVERYTHING, you step in with these sweet bars of homemade peaches and cream soap.  Because who doesn’t love peach?

Get the how-to on Happiness is Homemade.

Photography by POPPYTALK

Gold Dipped Mugs

If you like the idea of DIY Christmas gifts but don’t have a lot of time, this project is perfect and still plenty glamorous.  Simply cover mugs in painter’s tape before spraying with matte-finish gold spray paint and DONE.  It’s really that easy.

Get the how-to on Poppytalk.

Photography by MOMADVICE

No-Sew Blanket Scarf

The term ‘blanket’ is a little misleading, as you’re not creating a scarf out of a blanket.  Rather, you’ll need to find some flannel fabric with the pattern printed on both sides for this project.  You need 2 to 2.5 yards of fabric per scarf, which is a bargain for a gift this useful and chic.

Get the how-to on Mom Advice.


Peppermint Bath Bombs

A few grocery store ingredients and silicone molds are all you need to make your own bath bombs at home.  If you have trouble sourcing the citric acid, it can be bought from Amazon here.

Get the how-to on A Pumpkin and a Princess.

Photography by LILLUNA.COM

White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels

Make extra batches of these to share with friends, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and anyone this season. If peppermint isn’t your fave, keep in mind that you can swap in any kind of chocolate or crushed candy to customize these versatile pretzel treats to your liking.

Get the how-to on Lil Luna.


DIY Marbled Mugs

Kids and teens will love helping with this fun project, that’s as simple as adding nail polish to water, and dipping white mugs into the mixture. These dry quickly, making them ideal for last minute gifts, too.

Get the how-to on DIY Candy.

Photography by CRAFTS BY AMANDA

Scrabble Tile Ornaments

If you’re looking for a gift idea that kids can help out with, this is it.  Did you know that you can purchase replacement Scrabble letters online?  (Yes, the tutorial provides a link.) How’s that for a homemade Christmas gift?

Get the how-to on Crafts by Amanda.

Photography by HOW SWEET IT IS

Homemade Snickers

This might just be the ultimate dessert of 2017. Who wouldn’t want to dig into a batch of these?

Get the how-to on How Sweet It Is.


10-Minute DIY Milk & Honey Soap

This tutorial includes a links for purchasing every single ingredient needed for these cute soaps, including the silicone honeycomb mold.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Get the how-to on Happiness Homemade.

Photography by POPSUGAR

DIY Spa Kit

For an extra special gift idea, this 3-piece spa kit includes a Peppermint Scrub, Whipped Body Butter, and Foot Soak.  Make double – you’ll definitely want to keep some for yourself.

Get the how-to on Pop Sugar.


DIY Scented Pinecones

These make an excellent hostess gift for the holiday season – especially if you place them in a serving bowl that your host can reuse again and again.  Add the essential oil you like best, but cinnamon is classic this time of year.

Get the how-to on Apartment Therapy.


Infused Vodka

Much like making your own extract, this is a simple recipe that needs time to rest.  Depending on the flavor, some need at least 4 days to steep, so plan on making these in advance – and give them what they REALLY want this holiday season.

Get the how-to on My Baking Addition.

Photography by KIRBIE’S CRAVINGS

Homemade Extracts

If you’ve never made your own extracts before, you might be surprised to know just how simple they are to DIY – especially when you consider how expensive they are in the store!  It takes nothing more than vodka and the essence of your choice (spearmint, vanilla, or mint, for example) to create a gift-worthy batch of delicious homemade extract.  Just be prepared to start in advance, because these need to rest for about four weeks before using.

Get the how-to on Kirbie’s Cravings.

Photography by CLEVERLY SIMPLE

Paint Dipped Kitchen Utensils

You barely need any instructions for creating these adorable utensils.  Simply select three colors of acrylic craft paint and dip!  We love the idea of using three shades of the same hue for a chunky ombre effect.

Get the how-to on Cleverly Simple.


Photo Transfer Ornaments

This is a great gift idea for moms, grandparents, and long-distance relatives – because there are never enough cute ways to display photos of your favorite little ones.

Get the how-to on Landeelu.

Photography by MAKE IT – LOVE IT

Engraved Wooden Spoons

Don’t worry – you don’t have to be a calligrapher to master these sweet spoons.  This tutorial offers a cheat that allows you to trace the words onto the spoons before going over them again with a wood burning tool.  Best of all, the finished product never fades or imparts any harmful chemicals into food (like paint or sealer).

Get the how-to on Make It Love It.

Photography by MAKE IT – LOVE IT

Flavored Whipped Butters

This is such a great gift for anyone who loves to entertain.  When guests pop over unexpectedly (or not) grab a pot of this delicious flavored butter and some bread or crackers, and you have an instant no-prep snack that’s perfect any time of day.

Get the how-to on Make it Love It.

Photography by ALICE & LOIS

Copper And Wood Bead Necklace

This modern necklace is nothing more than painted wooden beads and copper coupling (available at home improvement stores).  You would never believe that something this chic could be so simple and inexpensive to make.

Get the how-to on Alice & Lois.


Gold Animal Ring Dishes

Spray paint, glue, and done.  These sweet dishes are great for rings, or any small trinkets that need a cute home.

Get the how-to on Pink heels Pink Truck.


Coffee Scrub

While coffee is the perfect year-round scent, doesn’t it just seem even more appropriate this time of year?  Best of all, this recipe is all-natural, and simple to mix up with ingredients found in the grocery store.

Get the how-to on A Pumpkin and a Princess.


Matcha Mexican Wedding Cookies

Just when everyone is baking chocolate chip, do the unexpected.  Matcha is not normally associated with the holiday season, but a snowy-white coating of powdered sugar will bring it all together.

Get the how-to on Pop Sugar.


Pinecone Fire Starters

Perfect for the holiday season and great for anyone with a wood burning fireplace.  When you’ve run out of ideas for family and neighbors, these are sure to be a hit.

Get the how-to on Something Turquoise

More DIYs that inspire:

10 Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Decorations You Can DIY
DIY This Faux Fur Pillow in Under 20 Minutes
A Super Simple DIY for the Chicest Keychains Ever

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Originally published November 2016. Updated November 2017.