15 Thoughtful DIY Holiday Gifts Ideas Anyone Would Love

By Laura Fiebert | Updated: October 12, 2023

    We’re going to keep this simple. I’m no Martha Stewart, and neither are most of you. These gifts don’t require hot glue guns, glitter, or artistic skill or talent. DIY only works if you can do it yourself! I chose some that can be done at zero hours because I know some procrastinate.

    Jump straight to the gifts

    What are the best DIY holiday gifts?

    Do you want to spend less, be green, or give more thoughtful gifts? Then, making gifts yourself is the way to go. Get crafty with these DIY holiday gifts for your loved ones.

    1. Flavored Extracts

    These are extracts for cooking, like the little bottles of vanilla you buy in the grocery. But these are made with natural ingredients, not synthetic flavors like many commercial brands.

    A fake vanilla extract is not made with vanilla beans but synthetic vanillin, a byproduct of the wood pulp industry. Many brands also contain added sugar and corn syrup because there is no good reason other than this: Merica, and we put that shit in everything. Like making many things yourself, making extracts is cheaper than buying them.

    DIY extracts

    All you need is two ingredients and a mason jar. We’ll use vanilla, but you could make mint, citrus, almond, or cinnamon extracts. Vodka is the most versatile liquor, matching many flavors, but people use bourbon and rum. You don’t need the top-shelf brand, but it’s not the cheapest.

    You need three beans, cut in half and split, per cup of liquor. Put the beans and vodka in a mason jar, store it in a cool, dark place, shake once a day, and poof, in about two months, you have your extract.

    The longer it steeps, the more intense the flavor. Strain the solids out and pour the liquid into a fresh mason jar. We’re getting a bit of a late start on this one. You can give the not-quite-finished product and let the recipient know it will be stronger if they let it steep for a few more weeks.

    2. Sugar Scrub

    Cold, dry air inside and out is hell on your skin. Summer’s smooth, sleek limbs are gone; we’re all ashy and scaly. You can’t go on your New Year’s Eve date like that! Or, even worse, your annual mid-winter getaway beach break. So we’ll whip up something that will fix that for us and share it with our Christmas list.

    No matter how much cream you slather on, if you’re covered in dry skin, it won’t absorb properly. So you have to remove that dry layer and then moisturize. That’s what the sugar does; it exfoliates that dry layer off.

    DIY Body Scrub

    You’ll need sugar, oil, olive, or coconut are good choices, a scent; you can use an extract as we made above or essential oil, some food coloring for fun, and short, squat, airtight jars. Mint is an excellent extract to use this time of year; it gives a beautiful little lift in the shower on a cold, dark morning.

    Add half a cup of sugar and oil, a few drops or a tablespoon of extract, and a drop of food coloring to each jar and mix, and voila! Let the recipients know that they only need a small amount for this to be effective, and it will make the bathtub or shower slippery, so be careful.

    3. Play Dough!

    Remember playing with this stuff? The salty taste. Don’t lie; we all licked Play-Doh at least once. You’ll need:

    1 cup of flour

    1/2 cup of salt

    1 cup of warm water

    3-5 drops of food coloring

    Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water in a cup. Slowly pour the water into the flour mix while stirring until combined. Knead the mixture by hand until all the water is absorbed. If it’s too sticky, add small amounts of flour until the texture is right. That’s it! Store in an airtight container. Your little ones will love it.

    DIY playdough gift

    4. 10 Minute Cranberry Soap

    These cranberry orange soaps from Happiness is Homemade have a vibrant sweet-tart aroma and can be whipped up an entire batch of these beauties in under 10 minutes, making it a great last-minute gift idea.

    Cranberry and orange are an excellent scent combination, especially during Christmas. Of course, it smells fantastic, but did you know cranberry is also perfect for your skin? It contains many antioxidants and an acne-fighting compound called resveratrol to help keep your skin smooth and clear.

    It makes a quick and easy DIY homemade holiday gift idea perfect for friends, family, neighbors, and teachers! It also makes a great stocking stuffer.

    5. Mid-Century Modern Planter


    This one looks way more expensive than it is. This mid-century style DIY planter By Sugar And Cloth adds a gorgeous plant to it, and BOOM, you’re done. Any guesses what it’s made from? It’s just two stacked bowls!

    All you’ll need is some gorilla glue, one large bowl, and one small bowl. These are from Target, but you can easily find bowls for under a dollar at thrift stores. Then, glue them together. Viola! Your plant-loving best friend will adore this!

    6. Homemade Chocolate-Almond Toffee


    The holiday season is a time to treat yourself and enjoy all the delicious treats, so food gifts are the best. A tin full of homemade chocolate toffee is a simple, easy gift you can make in bulk for friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

    This English Toffee candy recipe is so simple to make and tastes delicious! Like melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the perfect homemade gift. Buy a few cute tins, and voila! You have a gift. Make sure to put some aside for yourself.

    7. Oven Mitt Baking Set


    It’s safe to assume that many people enjoy baking over the holidays. Filling the house with sugary scents and gingerbread goodness brings back great memories and warm fuzzy feelings. Creating a baking gift set is a quick and easy gift that lets someone special know you’re thinking of them.

    This oven mitt filled with goodies works excellently as a DIY Christmas gift for your neighbor, friends, and coworkers. I customized a snowflake print oven mitt with red glitter heat transfer vinyl, then filled it with a cookie mix, whisk, and spatula.

    8. Reindeer Beer

    This is a great last-minute gift idea for any beer or cider drinker. First, grab a six-pack of their favorite beverage and pop them in this fun holiday cardboard holder. Next, grab some googly eyes, red pompoms, and pipe cleaners from Amazon and assemble!

    9. Honey Bear Planters

    My favorite in the WTF category was one of those bear-shaped jars that honey comes in, somehow devoid of honey residue, which is well nigh impossible, spray-painted gold, and used as a vase for fake flowers!

    DIY honeybear

    Only the fanciest people eat honey out of a beer jar, and only the classiest turn that bear into a vase of fake flowers. So one of you make that, give it to someone, and post a picture of their reaction face in the comments.

    10. Mulling Spices


    Mulled Cider or wine is the best winter beverage! It is made with fresh oranges and cranberries mixed with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. This recipe for Homemade Mulled Cider from A Mind Full Mom is better than any store-bought blend. It’s straightforward to make in the slow cooker, instant pot, or stove top.

    You can get some pretty jars and plaid ribbons for a cute homemade Christmas gift.

    11. Money Christmas Tree


    These little guys are just the thing if you need a super last-minute and don’t want to give a gift card. You can use any denomination of dollar bill to create it, so you can provide whatever amount of money you want. The money tree makes the boring gift of cash a little less dull. A Christmas money tree makes a delightful gift, perfect for anyone. You can find the step-by-step tutorial at Thirsty For Tea.

    12. Dog Treats Mason Jar


    Looking for the perfect gift for a dog lover? This mason jar project is an excellent gift for your favorite dog’s mom or dad. This stylish jar has the perfect rustic look and will keep its treats fresh and secure without sacrificing your style. Find the full tutorial on Mason Jar Crafts. Bone appétit.

    13. Christmas Tree Tea


    If you have a tea lover, this easy-to-make gift is the perfect handmade Christmas gift. You can customize this Christmas Tea Tree for any occasion by switching the color palettes using different tea brands and flavors. This super unique and thoughtful gift is so pretty it even makes lovely holiday decor.

    Adhere tea bags starting at the base of the cone (easy to find at the craft store or make your own). Place a thin line of hot glue along the upper edge of the back of a tea bag, then attach it to the cone. Hold the tea bag in place until the glue sets.

    14. Neck Warmer

    These are so nice to use when going to bed at night or when you have stiff muscles from hunching inside your coat in the cold air. It would be best if you had a (clean) sock, rice, string, and ribbon.

    Buy some nice, festive socks, not just some white athletic socks. Fill the sock with rice, leaving a little room at the top to tie it up. You can add a few drops of essential oil to the rice; lavender would be an excellent choice because it’s relaxing.

    sock neck warmer

    Tie up the sock opening tightly with string and cover the string with some pretty ribbon. You can sew the top closed, but I don’t have any sewing skills or supplies, so I wanted to make this one possible for others in the same boat. The user microwaves the sock for two minutes and puts it around their neck.

    15. Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

    You might think cleaning products are a terrible gift idea, and they are for some people. Giving them to your daughter-in-law will imply she’s a slob, unfit to care for your precious son. But some people will love them, primarily hippy types of people. You can identify them because they smell like patchouli and don’t have a job (just kidding!).

    They’re also suitable for people moving into a new home or apartment, people with environmental sensitivities, and people with little kids or pets. I use these kinds of products because they smell more excellent than the store-bought ones and don’t contain any nasty, toxic ingredients.

    If you mix cleaners containing bleach and ammonia, you can poison yourself—no danger with any of these products. Each recipe’s essential oil components are unnecessary; they’ll make them smell nice.

    DIY cleaners

    All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix one-quarter cup of white vinegar, two cups of water, and 30 drops of essential oil into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.

    Glass And Mirror Cleaner: Mix two cups of water, half a cup of vinegar, one-quarter cup of rubbing alcohol, and one to two drops of essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake before each use.

    Carpet Deodorizer: Mix one cup of baking soda and fifteen drops of essential oil in a container with holes in the top. Sprinkle the carpet, wait one hour, and vacuum.

    Scouring Powder: Mix two parts baking soda, one part salt, and one part Borax in a container with holes in the top. Sprinkle in the sink, tub, or toilet and scrub.

    Pack these into a basket and throw in a few dishcloths or tea towels. I would love this as a gift.

    Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

    This homemade hot cocoa mix is layered in a cute little mason jar and easy to make in bulk for your friend’s family or kids’ teachers.

    This recipe by Love Grows Wild might be the creamiest, most delicious hot chocolate they have ever tasted! It’s a great gift idea for the holidays! Layer the ingredients in a mason jar and add a cute gift tag! You’ll need powdered creamer, powdered milk, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, peppermint or candy cane chopped into small pieces, and mini marshmallows.

    15. Nail Polish Marble Coasters


    It’s time to make a beautiful mess! These paint-pour coasters by Artsy-Fartsy Mama are a fun holiday craft or DIY project for any time of the year. All you need are colors and some blank coasters. Each will come out unique and will look hand-crafted. Wrap them with some twine or pretty ribbon to prepare them for gifting. Pair it with their beverage of choice for a great gift set.

    This one was fun to write! Some people are talented with their DIY gift ideas; I couldn’t believe some projects were beautiful and elaborate. And some were WTF.