7 Homemade Christmas Gifts (To Start Now!)
It’s September. The leaves have barely started to turn, and that Fall feeling hasn’t yet hit. Let alone that wintry Christmas feeling. So it makes perfect sense if Christmas gifts are not on your to-do list right now.
But! If you want to make homemade Christmas gifts, September is the time to get started! If you don’t start now, and work on them a little each day (I recommend quiet evenings and mornings with a hot cuppa), you’re not going to have much ready by Christmas.
But what will you make? The answer to that is as large as your creativity and skill set, but I’m going to help you out and offer 7 easy gift ideas to get you started. Don’t worry, I’m including tutorials too (did you think I’d leave you hanging?!).
Tip: I make things all throughout the year and store them in a box in my craft closet. This box has become somewhat of a little Handmade Christmas Store but I use the gifts all throughout the year for birthdays or any other occasion a gift is warranted.
Alrighty then, let’s get started. The clock is ticking. . .
Knit gifts seem to be a given in the handmade world, but that’s for good reason. Traditionally, the end of summer has been a time for women to knit new hats, scarves, sweaters, and socks for the family to get them ready for the oncoming winter.
Not a knitter? No problem - this tutorial does a wonderful job helping beginning knitters knit a simple hat in the round (using circular needles). She uses chunkier yarn, which will make the hat go quicker, so I’d recommend starting there if you’re new to knitting. I use smaller needles and a non-chunky alpaca yarn and it knits up in the same way, just a tighter knit, with an 80-stitch cast-on, but most of the other instructions remain the same, but here’s the tutorial I use for my tighter knit alpaca hats if you want to go that route.
Once you finish one hat, you’ll be hooked and then you can crank out several more!
2. 3-Button Cowl
This is just a spin on the standard scarf, but I love these 3-button cowls so much more than scarves! They remind me of something Claire would wear in Outlander.
Essentially, you just knit a large rectangle, then add buttons (this tutorial explains how to add buttons). The rest is all about how you style it. Here’s a tutorial explaining how to style the 3-button cowl:
3. Knit Neck Warmer
These are just simple round neck warmers. I’m sure there’s a more elegant way to go about it, but I just simply knit a shorter than usual scarf, then stitch it together to form a circle. Voila! Neck warmer!
I use chunky yarn and, let me tell you, these things are COZY! I made myself one years ago and realized how amazing it was so I started knitting everyone a chunky round cowl. This year, I’ve made one for my husband to match the one I made for his brother last year, but he won’t get it until Christmas so I don’t have a photo to show you what I’m talking about. Here is an example from Pinterest though, although it is crocheted, not knitted, you get the gist.
If you live in an area with cold winters, this thing will become your best friend!
4. Beeswax Candles
If you haven’t embraced the magic that is beeswax candles yet, allow me to make a sales pitch of sorts…
Beeswax candles are farrrr superior to all other candles and evoke an old-fashioned quaintness throughout the home while they burn, illuminating their golden buttery beauty.
Most candles are harmful to burn in the home, did you know that? Either due to the chemicals and fragrances used in the wax or from wicks that have metal in them (both of which are very common). Not only are beeswax candles pure to burn, but they actually help cleanse the air!
Check out: How To Refresh The Air In Your Home to learn more.
We stay stocked up on them and this year I’m making them to give as gifts!
You might be able to find beeswax by the pound locally - type in ‘beeswax’ on your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and see what you find. If not, you can buy it online by the pound.
Here is the wick I use - all cotton. Now all you need is a good tutorial:
There’s another even simpler way you can make beeswax candles using sheets of beeswax. Here’s a quick tutorial for that:
And even though this is not the route of handmade gifts, if you do want to buy good beeswax candles, here is a good deal on them! Stock up for winter! Oh, and psst… Goodwill is great for finding old brass candle holders.
5. Quote Pillow
I started making these last year, and I love them! It’s easy and meditative and highly customizable. My approach is very folk art-y, so if you’re a serious embroiderer or seamstress, you might scoff at my directions. Alas, here is how I go about it…
a yard of fabric of your choice
an embroidery hoop (I recommend a larger one, for the sake of quote legibility)
embroidery floss (color of choice to complement fabric)
An embroidery needle
A coloring pencil or thin marker
A quote in mind!
Sewing needle and thread
Cut your fabric to the size and shape you wish your pillow to be, leaving about an inch on all sides to account for sewing it together
Stretch your fabric across your embroidery hoop
Using a coloring pencil or thin marker, lightly trace out the quote so that you have a guide while embroidering
Start embroidering! I use a simple split stitch as demonstrated here.
Once you’ve finished embroidering the quote (be patient, this can take a little time), remove your fabric from the hoop.
Cut out a second piece of fabric, the same exact size as the piece you embroidered the quote on, to use as the back of your pillow. It can match the fabric you used to embroider on or you can get quirky and add an entirely different fabric as the back of the pillow— completely up to you!
Now sew the pillow together by hand! To do this, lay out both pieces of fabric on top of one another with the decorative sides facing one another and the plain non-decorated sides out. You’ll be sewing the pillow in this way and then turning it right side out later and this keeps the ugliness hidden away inside the pillow! Sew all three sides together and then sew most of the fourth and final side together, leaving an unsewn gap of about 6 inches.
Now turn the pillow right side out and, using the unsewn 6-inch gap, stuff the pillow to your heart’s desire.
Once it’s adequately stuffed, it’s time to close up the pillow! To do this, you’ll use an invisible stitch and this tutorial:
6. Wood & Yarn Wall Hanging (Talisman)
Honestly, I’m just not sure what to call these. But they are earthy and organic looking, easy and enjoyable to make, and are great for gifts. I’ve made two as gifts and two for our own home.
I call it a talisman because with every thread I add, I like to infuse it, if you will, with a wonderful thought/prayer/wish or good memory.
A piece of wood about an inch in diameter (not too heavy or it’ll be difficult to hang). I live by the sea, so I like to get driftwood branches.
Yarn - the more colors and textures and weights of yarn, the better!
Now, here is how to make it:
Optional: Sand your branch down a bit (by hand) just to clean it up.
Loosely plan your color spectrum of yarn. I like to lay my skeins of yarn that I’ll be using out in a row to get an idea beforehand of how I want the driftwood talisman to look.
Then start adding your threads, one at a time, slipknotting them around the branch so that both ends of each cut of yarn hang evenly downward. I think a hanging length of atleast 2 feet looks best, so you would need to cut each yarn length to 4 feet before looping it around the branch. This part is kind of difficult to explain, so just refer to this picture instead.
7. Rose Petal Epsom Salts
Epsom salt baths are one of my favorite things about being alive.
And if you aren’t taking them ATLEAST once a week… well, you’re missing out. It’s as simple as that.
The main reason you should turn this into a regular ritual is not just that it’s super calming for the mind, but there’s the whole magnesium thing. If you haven’t heard, our soils are depleted. The very soils that grow all of the veggies and fruits and grains you get from your local grocery store. They are nowhere near as mineral-rich as they once were thanks to big commercial agriculture. Big agriculture is causing some serious and very large issues out there on this lovely planet we call home, inevitably leading to desertification if things continue along this path… but, I just digressed big time.
We’re talking about magnesium here, and how you need it, and how most people have insufficient levels of this wonderful mineral in their bodies, and how foods supposedly rich in magnesium aren’t able to give it to you, so… epsom salt baths it is then!
Here’s how to not only treat yourself, but make a few as gifts too.
You will need:
bags of pure epsom salt, no fragrances, nothing else, just salts
dried rose petals (you can find these at your local co-op in the dried herbs bulk section usually, if not here’s a good deal on Amazon)
essential oil: (I recommend Rose or Jasmine)
Wide mouth mason jars (any size - quart, pint, half pint, quarter pint)
Decorative packaging details like twine, a sprig of evergreen, etc.
That’s it! Now, to mix it.
Fill a large mixing bowl about 3/4 full with epsom salt. Add atleast half a cup of rose petals (or as many as you like the look of), and then sprinkle in about 20 drops of your essential oil.
Using your hands or a big wooden spoon, mix everything together really well to incorporate all of the smells and yumminess.
Then, fill your jars with the mix, maybe add a few extra rose petals on top so when the recipient opens it, they are even more delighted.
Screw the lid on and add some fun little packaging details to make it feel special! I recommend putting a piece of fabric over the top and tying twine around the neck, then topping it with a sprig from a pine tree, and a little paper description of what’s inside and how to use it is nice, too. This part is up to your imagination and creativity!
Let me know if you have any questions or have an idea to add to the list! There’s a comments section below just waiting for your voice to sound.
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