Imagine that it's a week before you want to give a gift (hello procrastinators and busy parents!). It might be the week before a holiday, a birthday, teacher appreciation day, or any other special day.
Life can be too busy to squeeze in a shopping trip. Finances can be too tight to go buy gifts (especially if those gifts are the “oh crap – I need a gift!” type).
Having a few ideas up your sleeve and a few simple supplies on hand can make it easy to give a homemade gift!
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A Tin of Christmas Cookies
I love homemade gifts! Because it takes time to make, this gift has more value to me than some others do. A tin full of a variety of sweet treats is one of my favorites, especially at the holidays. I love seeing and tasting so many different kinds of cookies!
Lisa and I make a variety of cookies each December and give tins away to friends, family, teachers, doctors offices, the mail carrier, and more. It's a fun way to spread a little cheer (and it gives me my baking fix)!
Download a few of our family favorite holiday cookie recipes!
Hot Cocoa Mix in 10 minutes
Over the last few years, I have started making my own hot chocolate mix because 1) I believe that anything made at home is healthier than a comparable store-bought, mass-produced version and 2) it's cheaper!
I've tried several versions of this hot cocoa mix, and my family loves this version! It gives a great chocolate flavor without being too sweet. If you happen to like your hot cocoa a little sweeter, simply add more sugar to the recipe or put a few marshmallows into your cup while it's still hot. Yum!
I will preface this by saying that I always prefer the taste of hot chocolate made with milk instead of water – it tastes creamier and richer.
DIY Hot Cocoa Mix
- 3 cups cocoa (like this one)
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 tsp ground vanilla bean powder (optional; I like this one)
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
* Put sugar (and vanilla bean powder, if using) into a food processor and turn on the food processor to make the sugar more fine and powder-like. Let the food processor run for about 2-3 minutes. Remove and put in a large bowl.
* Combine the remaining ingredients in the food processor and run the food processor until these ingredients have a powder-like consistency (about 2-3 minutes).
* Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended.
* Put your hot cocoa powder into small jars to give away and add our free printable label for that final colorful touch, or store in an air-tight container.
If you have the time or are planning ahead, make this hot chocolate mix a complete package by including it in a gift bag with a cute mug, some marshmallows, and maybe even some crushed candy canes.
4 Ingredient Lip Balm in only 5 minutes
What you put on your body is just as important as what you put into your body. I love this lip balm because it only has 4 ingredients! Simple, natural ingredients like beeswax pellets, coconut oil, and avocado oil (which is also great for cooking) are super nourishing without containing harsh chemicals.
All you need to do is combine and melt these ingredients together in a double boiler, then add them to your container of choice: lip balm tubes, plastic jars, or aluminum containers. Let the ingredients cool – they will solidify as they cool. Finally, add these our labels as the final touch!
There are so many options for how to package and present homemade loaves of bread. You can go as simple as just the loaf wrapped in food wrap and tied with a ribbon. Or you can dress it up by using a ceramic (or metal) loaf pan that you gift along with the bread.
Pro tip: If you can go early in the holiday season, I have found really cute mini loaf pans in the dollar section at Michael's (but I've only found them during the holidays). I love great deals!
Presentation is everything
Once you have your gift created, it's time to package it up to give away. Gift bags are really easy to use and add a nice decorative touch to your gift. However, they are so expensive!
Lisa's Pro Tip: Buy blank white gift bags (much cheaper!) then decorate them yourself or have your kids decorate them. You can find them in many different sizes to fit your needs. Buy in bulk and keep on hand to use as needed. This is perfect for friends, family, and school!
These same bags can also be used as party favor bags for birthday parties 🙂
Let us know in the comments below…when do you typically start your holiday shopping? When do you usually finish your holiday shopping?
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