My Ultimate Gift Guide to Christmas

Want to give your friends or family something special this holiday? But don’t want to break the bank? Or maybe you’re stuck.Back in my last post I hinted I was composing something special for you. Here is my ultimate list of DIY budget friendly gifts you can make and of course I’ll share some link love to some of my favorite products!

DIY

Food

Giving out edible goods is such a great idea especially if you’re on a budget. You can double or triple a recipe to make more batches for more people. Because you’re making it yourself, it means so much more than just buying a box of chocolates. My edible list is long and creative, things like homemade nut butter(if you have a blender or food processor),cookies, cookie jars, biscuits,granola,soups,artisan crackers…the list goes on. I like to put my gifts in mason jars with a cute little tag attached(I make less using hemp string and paper which you can probably find at the dollar store). Plus who doesn’t like baking during the holidays? Or any time of the year.

1)Granola

Image source- www.kitchentreaty.com

Image source- www.kitchentreaty.com

Cost: varies depending on what ingredients you use, but much less expensive than store-bought that can cost more than $10 for a handcrafted blend.

I love making homemade granola. So hearty.healthy and customizable! I end up always making a lot with one recipe so why not share with friend? I pack it in a mason jar with a cute little gift tag and voila! It’s also a great rush out of the door food.

Try this seasonal pumpkin spice granola from Minimalist Baker

or one of my staples, the buckwheat granola from Kath Eats

2)Homemade crackers

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Cost:roughly $10.72 for 3-4 loaves. 1 loaf makes 2 gift servings. So one gift serving equates to about $1.80. This calculation is based on my modified recipe(with oat flour and coconut sugar) the cost will be even lower if you follow the original recipe.

I tried making these for the first time this year! I always had my eye on those cheeky thin toast like crackers beside the cheese aisle,but it cost $7 for a pack. Thankfully I found a copycat recipe from Ohsoverycheeky. The crackers feature a delicious blend of nuts,seeds,dried fruit and herbs such as rosemary. I added the suggested 1/2 cup of raw hazelnuts(or filberts) and slightly under a cup of cranberries(because I ran out) and chopped fresh rosemary. I also substituted all the flour for oat flour and brown sugar with coconut sugar. In my opinion, these crackers are quite sweet but it would be perfect paired with cheese, and the rosemary really stands out so I suggest you add it. For a more “salty” or savoury cracker try Sarah’s Happy Crackers, inspired by the brand Mary’s Gone Crackers, from My New Roots.

3)Soup

Cost: varies depending what soup you make/ingredients you use but guaranteed at least half the price of what you would normally pay at a restaurant($5 to $7 for a bowl)

I’m sure your friends would appreciate a nice cup of warm, soothing homemade soup. Especially in this weather! Whip up a few more servings from your favorite soup recipes and seal in a mason jar.

Check out my super easy vegan Carrot Coconut Soup recipe

4)Banana chocolate chip cookies(gluten-free/vegan)

Cost:roughly $3.98 per batch of 6 cookies.

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Who doesn’t love homemade cookies during the holidays. This recipe I made is healthy,vegan,gluten-free and low sugar but tastes delicious. Approved by my dad(who seems to gulf these down) and another gift recipient.

I will link the recipe to this shortly after this post is published.

Easy brittle nuts

Spiced brittle nuts by Elana's Pantry. Image source from Elana's Pantry

Spiced brittle nuts by Elana’s Pantry. Image source from Elana’s Pantry

Yum brittle nuts are a total comfort food/snack. Making your own is extremely easy. Check out these recipe from Food Babe and Elana’s Pantry.

Craft

Even though you’re not the best artist, you can still make great gifts. Little canvas paintings, candles, mason jar crafts,bracelets, necklaces,rings, and bookmarks are cute things you can make that mean a lot.

1)Paintings/drawings

Cost: Medium Canvas($1.50) + assortment of acrylic paints($1 each, will last many uses)

I’m attempting to “paint” or draw even though I’m really bad and unprofessional. Oh well at least my attempt will seem cute…maybe?Test out what your strengths are, perhaps its realistic painting or a more animated or cartoon.

2)Mason Jar snow globes

Cost: Mason jar(About 60 cents-read note below) +paper($0.01)+mischievous artsy supplies(paint,sparkle cutouts,stickers,tapes,designs..ect)($1-$3)= under $4

One of my friends said that she always wanted a snowglobe. So I’m going to attempt to make one. This idea came to me in the middle of the night and I knew I had to put it into action.

In brief, I started with the lid of the mason jar. I cut paper into very thin strips and crumbled them together to make the “snow” base.I taped a cardboard penguin cut out I got from a local art supply store to the base too. At the top of the mason jar, I taped sparkly circles and stars to string and taped them onto the bottom of the jar for a dangling effect.Then I finished it off by taping cotton balls as clouds onto the bottom.I also cut paper into tiny pieces and threw them into the jar before sealing it to the falling snow effect. Be in mind that this “snow globe” stands with the lid of the mason jar as the base, so the bottom of the jar is actually the top in this case. Also, there are much better tutorials than this, a quick search on the internet will get you more detailed tutorials with specific looks and supplies you need. I know most tutorials call for something called glycerin and glitter. Don’t limit yourself to mason jars! You can also use leftover canning jars, baby food jars,olive jars,pasta sauce jars…ect.

note: I believe I got a pack of 12 mason jars for the price of around $7. It was at Superstore. Check your local grocery store or wholesale for bulk mason jars and the best prices.

3)Cards

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Cost: under $1

I used 1 piece of plain printer paper, folded it in half and cut it to produce 2 cards. Then painting or using a sharpie to draw a cute design on the front and pouring my love and soul into the content inside. Make your friends and loved one’s christmas extra special with some kind words and thank them for being in your life. Like yikes, cards from hallmark can be expensive(like $4.50 a card) and ones from the dollar store aren’t so attractive. You can also use card paper or hard paper.

4)DIY Mugs

IMG_0917 IMG_0922

Cost:($1 per mug)+paint or sharpie

A classic trick is to draw a design with a sharpie on a plain white mug, then baking it at 350 F for 30 minutes. Now you have a permanent design. The sky is your limit. Put fun or meaningful quotes or draw some sick pictures.*But make sure to remind whoever you’re giving the mug too, DO NOT USE THE DISHWASHER!!!WASH BY HAND!

5)Beadworks

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Beadworks is a jewelery company located in Granville Island. I’ve been there twice and you can make tons of cool jewelery on a budget. I think I probably spent like $15. How it works is that you get a tray and you walk around selecting beautiful pieces for your designs. These beads aren’t like the tacky ones at the dollar store(although there’s nothing wrong with that). And then you choose what cord you want to hold it together and the people working there will help you put it together.

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I had a great experience the two times I’ve been there. The employees are super nice and readily helpful.And you can stay in there for as long as you like since there are so many options. They also put out these beautiful examples of jewelery other people made for inspiration. You can make earring,necklaces,bracelets, brooches, hair pins and rings.

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The price depends on what beads you choose since they all have an individual price. I’ve made really cool necklaces with only a few beads and always get compliments on them; people are shocked when I tell them I made it myself.

Product Love

1)Lush bath bombs

Cost:$3.95-$6.95

I never would have tried these because I don’t take baths but for my birthday one of my dear friend’s got me this beautiful bath bomb and when I popped it into the water, magic happened.My favorite/ the only one I tried but fell in love instantly is the Shoot for the Stars bomb. The colors were amazing and it made my bath look like the night sky with this fizzling star running all over the place during the duration of my bath. It also leaves purple and blue shimmer, and includes a little suprise! It also smells great and leaves my skin feeling soft. I suggest you buy it online or at less populated store because they tend to run out and takes a long time to restock because all their soaps are made by hand.

2) Handmade bookmarks from Front and Company

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Cost:($4.95-$11.95 small to bigger)

When I first saw these stocked up in one of my favorite hipsterish store I was so excited. They are the cutest things ever. There are so many designs too from characters from popular tv series and movies.There’s everything from sailor moon and unicorns to Sherlock Holmes ,GoT and Sherlock Holmes. They’re also handcrafted by two local Vancouver girls, how cool is that? Give these to your book nerd friends.

3)Online Shopping

Yeek. Online shopping can be deadly. But sometimes you can save a lot of time and money. Go to the sale or clearance sections of the clothing site and look for nice scarves or hats. I got two cute toques for $9 each! Pretty good deal. You can also buy some things for yourself(heheh) because you know it’s Christmas and you deserve it! Plus when usually there’s free shipping with $50 or something. Some sites I recommend are Hollister, Garage, American Eagle, and Red Dress Boutique(I found this on Dragon’s Den, check it out)

4)Crate and Barrel Ornaments

Last year during december, Crate and Barrel(one of my favorite places because I love furniture and dining furniture) had a beautiful Christmas tree on display with hundreds of ornaments. These ornaments were so cute and such a wide variety to choose from.

Even though I said “ultimate” there’s still so much to add to the list.

Feel free to share your favorite gift ideas for the holiday!

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One thought on “My Ultimate Gift Guide to Christmas

  1. Pingback: Dealing with Failure | Choose Happy

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