gift exchange

There is something particularly special about receiving a handmade holiday gift — something that someone put their heart into.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a crafting genius to create DIY gifts that are sure to get a smile. You can make a variety of things yourself with items you likely already have around the house. And if you have Mason jars and some ribbon, you have the packaging too!

Here are five DIY holiday gifts you can easily make with items you already have in your home.

This article contains affiliate links that help fund our Recycling Directory, the most comprehensive in North America.

1. Sugar Scrub

This exfoliating scrub helps boost the appearance of smoother, glowing skin. You can make a basic sugar scrub with three simple ingredients.

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine ¼ cup oil (olive, melted coconut, almond, etc.) and 1 cup sugar.
  2. Add about 15 drops of your favorite essential oil and stir in.
  3. Transfer to a Mason jar and tie a ribbon around it and you have a lovely, handmade gift.
Sugar scrub cubes
Image courtesy of Marilyn Sherman

2. Bath Salts

Bath salts are another very simple, yet classic, gift. To make them yourself, simply combine:

  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • 1 cup of sea salt
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil

For visual appeal, try adding some lavender buds or crumbled rose petals after you’ve combined all the other ingredients. Put the salts in a Mason jar or other glass container, tie with a ribbon, and gift to someone who could use a soothing bath.

Ice Candle
Image courtesy of Happy Mothering

3. Ice Crystal Candle Holder

All you need for the Ice Crystal Candle Holder is a Mason jar, adhesive (like Mod Podge or glue), and Epsom salt. Coat the jar with adhesive and then roll it in the Epsom salt until the jar is coated. Allow to dry. When dry, insert a candle and you have a sparkling holiday gift!

4. Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1¾ cups dry milk powder (whole milk or non-fat)
  • ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • Goodies like marshmallows, broken candy cane pieces, and mini chocolate chips.

You can either layer each item in the Mason jar or combine all of the ingredients and then top with the goodies. Download cute recipe tags to add to your Mason jars.

5. Salt Dough Ornaments

Handmade ornaments add a charming, personal touch to your loved ones’ Christmas trees. This is a fun project for kids to help with.

To make salt dough ornaments, you’ll need:

Combine the flour and salt, then stir in the water. Knead until the dough is pliable and soft. Then, roll out the dough and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Make a hole for the twine or ribbon with a toothpick or straw.

Bake your ornaments at 325 F for about an hour, or until they’re hard. Once cool, paint and add special touches, then tie a ribbon through the hole so the ornament can hang on the tree. You might like to package a few ornaments in a wide-mouth Mason jar or reuse a cardboard box as a gift box.

Salt dough ornament heart
Image courtesy of Elin

These are just five DIY Christmas gifts you can make with ingredients you’re likely to have at home. Reusing items from around the house reduces waste but increases the love.  Happy holiday to you!

Feature image by Bob Dmyt / Pixabay. Originally published on December 2, 2014, this article was updated in December 2018.

By Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.