8 Easy DIY Gifts to Give This Season - Refresh Financial

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8 Easy DIY Gifts to Give This Season


On just about every list with tips to save money this holiday season, you’re going to find the suggestion that you make your own gifts to give to loved ones. You’re probably imagining cheesy, crafty things that look like they’ve been made by your kids; little trinkets you’d be embarrassed to give to those you care about. In the age of Pinterest, though, your Christmas gift DIY projects don’t have to look like a copout. There are a tonne of little projects you can easily do at home that will put a smile on anyone’s face.

Firstly, here are a couple of ideas for the kids in your life, who are much easier to please than you might think:

Lava Lamp Kits

Pick out one of those nice, designer bottles of water. When you’ve finished drinking the contents, remove all the labels (nail polish remover will get rid of the leftover stickiness) and clean it. Put the bottle in a cute basket from the dollar store. In the same basket, pop in a couple of Gladware containers, one with enough vegetable oil to fill just over half your water bottle, and one with enough water to fill the remainder of the bottle. Make sure you colour the water using food colouring of your choice. Arranging everything nicely, pop in a ziplock with 10 or 20 Alka-Seltzer tablets cut into four pieces each. Now, write out the instructions: pour the oil into the bottle, then the water, then drop in an Alka-Seltzer tab quarter, seal up the lid and watch the magic! Kids will enjoy putting it together themselves, and they’ll love adding seltzer tablets over and over and watching those little-coloured bubbles float around the bottle.


Flubber is an ooey gooey tactile toy that kids will never get tired of playing with. It’s sort of like silly putty but with a weirder feel and more strange behaviour. It’s super easy to make with just a few household ingredients. Find the instructions on how to do that here: Flubber instructions.

Now, the gourmet foodie. You know the type: they’ve got seven different types of salt in their spice rack and use words like, “umami” and “accumulated juices”. These people are probably the easiest to make gifts for and here are just a few ideas:

Vanilla Sugar

All you need for this is a tall mason jar, some Christmassy ribbon, granulated sugar, and a real vanilla bean. Pop your real vanilla bean in a mason jar and fill it with sugar. Twist the lid on, tie a ribbon around it and when the recipient finally opens it on Christmas morning, it’ll fill the room with the glorious smell of real vanilla. The vanilla scented sugar can now be used to sweeten coffees and teas or to top the creme brulee you know your foodie friend is eventually going to make. Not only is it tasty, it’s elegant, rich, and smells amazing.

Spice Blends

In your local dollar store, you’ll find all manner of jars, some with shaker lids and others that have magnets on the bottom. You can grab yourself a really expensive looking spice jar, perhaps with a stainless steel lid, and fill the jar with your favourite spice blend. For a steak rub, fill it with fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, a little onion powder, some kosher salt and some paprika. For a cajun seasoning, add all the spices in the steak spice, plus some cayenne pepper, some dried oregano and thyme, and some red pepper flakes if your friend likes heat. If you’re going for sweet, you can make an apple pie spice blend with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground allspice, ginger, and cardamom. Perhaps something for a pumpkin pie instead? Just add some ground cloves to the apple pie spice mixture. Make a nice label for your spice mixtures and the foodies in your life will love you forever.

With the foodies out of the way, let’s tackle the parents and grandparents in our lives. These are the sentimental types, especially when it comes to their kids and grandkids. Give them something that reminds them of their amazing offspring. Here are a few ideas that will accomplish that:

A Photo Book

There was a time before digital photos when everyone had to get their pics developed. They would store them in photo albums - actual, tangible albums that sat on shelves and coffee tables and had real pages you could turn. Nowadays, everyone just sorts their photos on Facebook. Why not go through some of the photos of their kids on Facebook, print them off using photo paper and make a real photo album they can display with pride in their living room? Just grab yourself a photo album from your dollar store and a pack of photo paper for your printer and you’re halfway there! They will be moved by your thoughtful gift!

Wood Mounted Photos

It’s not as hard as it sounds, but just as beautiful. Pick their favourite family photo and print it on wax paper. Yes, I said wax paper. Just cut it down to fit your printer, print the image and rub it onto a sanded piece of wood of your choice with a credit card (if you're not going to go into debt this Christmas, you ought to use it for something!). Now, you have a beautifully mounted family photo on a piece of wood that any mom or gran would be happy to hang on their wall.

For the pet lovers in your life, DIY gifts are perfect, or should I say, purr-fect? Here are a few ideas for furparents:

Rope Toy

Using 1-inch thick cotton rope and some treats at the center, tie a monkey’s fist knot. You can read how to make this rope toy in more detail here: rope ball toy - this is a long lasting toy that all four-legged tail waggers are bound to love.

Easy, Homemade Pet Treats

These days, pet owners are just about as concerned with the health of their animals as they are their own health, so offering them some homemade, unprocessed dog and cat treats to feed to their furbabies is going to mean a lot to them. Here’s an easy recipe for pups: dog treats, and here is one for kitties: cat treats.

These gifts are all thoughtful, easy and won’t put your credit card in the red. Any recipient of these gifts will see the time and effort they took to create, and the value they will continue to get out of them. Gifts do not have to be flashy and expensive to impress, so save yourself some cash and get crafting!

What are some DIY gifts you’ve given in the past? Let us know in the comments!

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