Plan Ahead DIY Holiday Gifts

I know you’re probably rolling your eyes “Really lady, it’s not even December yet!”. And I totally agree with you. Why the heck am I even bringing up the subject?! Well, if you’re anything like me, you start stressing out over the holidays much too far in advance than is healthy. You would probably have even preferred to have everyone’s wish lists back in August so you could get a jump start on the shopping. Yes, I am borderline insane. But this year I am taking a huge step back – I want the holidays to include as little stress as possible – and that includes cutting back on the amount of money that I will be spending. Of course I will still be buying some gifts, but I will also be making a few of the gifts.

Making gifts can bring on a whole different kind of stress, but with some planning ahead, it doesn’t need to be a chore. Here are a few ideas, as well as a DIY below.


1. Terrarium – I shared my own terrarium here but you could really get creative with this gift. Pick an interesting and inexpensive vessel (go vintage!) or create a little scene catered to your recipient’s interests (Doctor Who themed?!). Stuck for ideas? Pinterest is an amazing invention.

2. Knitting – This requires probably the most planning ahead, but there are lots of projects that you can make quickly and easily, especially with a chunky yarn. My advice is to make something that you’ve made before that you know will come out well – don’t be ambitious with a fancy sweater (of course I don’t take my own advice because I’m currently working on a very time-consuming holiday gift). My favorite easy knitting projects are ear warmers and wrist warmers. This neck warmer is on my knitting to do list and the pattern is free!

3. Custom embroidery on a linen dish towel. This can also be catered to your recipient’s interests – I’m currently working on this tomato themed one via You Grow Girl for myself.

4. Preserves – This is probably one of the easiest gifts if you have done any canning or preserving throughout the year (heaven knows I did). And I usually reserve a few of the tastiest and prettiest jars to give as gifts. Glam up your jars with some pretty labels and some baker’s twine (my favorite thing to wrap gifts in!). If you don’t have a stash of preserves on hand, take a look at my favorite canning blog, Food In Jars for some ideas – I just made the Pear & Cranberry Jam about a month ago.

5. Embossed leather key chain or luggage tag (personalized with name/phone number) – lovely DIY found here via Fair Goods.

6. Handmade recipe book or recipe cards. A book might be a bit ambitious, but putting your tried and true favorite recipes on pretty cards, tying them in some baker’s twine, and gifting them to your loved ones – easy and meaningful. I found a lovely free printable recipe card  (shown above).

Lavender Rosemary Foot Scrub DIY

I don’t know about you, but this time of year means my seasonal lizard skin comes out, especially on my poor neglected feet. I don’t usually notice just how bad my feet are until they start cutting holes in my socks. A few years ago a friend made me some natural foot scrub and it was the best thing I’ve ever used on my feet. It can be made with things you probably already have, otherwise you can pick these things up at the grocery store (I’ve also purchased natural products online from New Directions Aromatics and I’ve been pleased with the quality and selection).


– 4 tbsp olive oil (alternatively you can use coconut oil or another oil of choice, but olive oil is my favorite for soft skin)
– 6 drops lavender essential oil
– 6 drops rosemary oil (you could also use eucalyptus or peppermint oil if you want)
– 1 cup epsom salts
– a spoonful of dried lavender buds

– Combine the olive oil and essential oils.
– Stir oils into epsom salts (I used a fork)
– Stir in lavender buds.
– Put into glass jar and seal.
– Glam it up with a label and some pretty ribbon (any excuse to use my vintage typewriter to make a label!)

What are some of your go-to handmade holiday gifts? Or what are some of the best DIY gifts you’ve ever received? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas!

Look forward to more gift guides throughout the month of December, including more DIY gift tutorials!