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Running low on your Christmas budget this year? Want to give something a little more personal for the family gift exchange? Well, look no further!

Every year for our family gift exchange, we have a wide variety of gifts, some store bought and some homemade. I always love the homemade gifts because it means you thought about the person more than the 20 minutes you were at the store. We’ve got a great list for you to get those wheels turning and provide the inspiration for a personal, homemade gift!

A Time Capsule

The time capsule can be kept in any kind of container, but paint tins help keep it safe from water damage.

This is one of my favorite homemade gifts because it is cheap, personal, and lets the gift receiver be very involved! My favorite way to encapsulate the time capsule is in a cheap NEW paint tin. That way, it gets a nice seal in case they want to bury it, but it can also easily be decorated with paint, ribbons, or a mod-podge photo collage. Or, it can simply be housed in a decorated shoebox or other container.


Inside, you can include personal items, such as photos or drawings from their children. My favorite things to include: a giftcard to a photo printing shop, a thumb-drive for them to put unlimited pictures or videos, a fill-in-the-blank template, and a list of what they should include before sealing it up (such as grocery receipts, ticket stubs, or a letter to themselves).

As I mentioned, the receiver gets to be very involved in the final time capsule, which makes it a lot of fun for everyone!

Homemade Videos

Homemade videos can be sweet, meaningful, and even super hilarious! And they last forever!

For my sister’s last present before college, I recorded her friends’ personal messages to her! It was a wonderful way to let her know that she was very loved! You can also do picture compilations or make a funny music video. I would attach an example of one we made, but it’s still a little embarrassing for everyone, haha!

Family History

This is a great way to record family history before it is lost! And it’s something they can share with their family for generations!

As a gift to my brother-in-law, I contacted his parents and recorded an over-the-phone interview with them. I then transcribed the conversation and made it into a book for him. I asked them questions about where they were born and grew up, and how they met, and some of their favorite memories. I also gathered pictures from his family of when they were younger. It was a great way to get to know his family, and also have something that he can pass on to his family.

Personalized Calendars

A personalized calendar is a great homemade gift that anyone would love! #thisbluedress #personalizedcalendar
This is a cheaper take on the photo calendars, but adds a lot of meaning to the dates!

Instead of paying for an expensive calendar with impersonal pictures, personalize a new calendar with notes, pictures, and special dates already marked. For example, have their sweetheart write a message for the month of February for Valentine’s Day, or maybe have them take over the month of their anniversary.

Mark special dates like birthdays or holidays so they don’t have to track those down! Maybe even write memories from this year on the day they happened like a time capsule! Add pictures with glue, tape, or even paperclipped to the pages! This is a gift that they can enjoy all year round!

Memory Jar

There’s so many ways to do this, but it is always meaningful!

This can be done in one of two ways. First, you can have everyone contribute favorite memories of someone, and write them on strips of paper for them to pull out and read! This is something that makes people feel so loved, and is great to look back and remember.

Or, you could leave the strips blank, and let them write their own memories from the year, or funny things that are said, or special moments. This is perfect for parents to keep track of things their children do throughout the year, and then read them at the end of the next year!

Pillow Cases

Pillowcases can show someone’s personality and add a splash of color to a bedroom or living room!

My grandma made homemade pillowcases with each of us when we were growing up. I love the memories I have of sitting next to her by the sewing machine. It was a great way for her to teach us a skill, while also spending time together! You can give the gift of making it together, or just simply wrap up a homemade, personalized pillowcase. I still use mine to this day!

Rice Heat-Packs

These are so simple to make and are a super practical gift for everyone in the family. They are great to use for cold nights, as hand warmers, for period cramps, anything! It’s also a great quiet toy for children to use during church. You can buy new material, or just use an old cloth or pillowcase. Just cut a 12-in square, fold it in half, sew up two sides, fill 2/3 with rice, and sew it closed! It’s that easy!

Bow Organizer

Homemade gift ideas like this initial bow organizer will be loved for years!
My nieces still use this daily! It’s a fun way to incorporate their initials into the room too!

I made this for my niece for Christmas! Again, using a wooden letter from Hobby Lobby, I covered it with an old handkerchief that I had had forever, and hot glued the edges. For the elastic bands, I just used old stretchy headbands and hot glued those in strips. It used a lot of old things that I had lying around the house, and made something that she still uses everyday! By adding hooks, it can also be designed as a jewelry hanger!

Stuffed Animal “Zoo”

A creative idea for kids AND their parents!

 Depending on how you look at it, this gift could be for children (a fun place to play with and store stuffed animals) or for parents (to keep them sane)! Either way, this homemade creation has been a family favorite for years! Using a wooden base and secured bungy cords, this gift keeps stuffed animals in a fun, organized place.

Bath Salts

There’s nothing like a hot, relaxing bath. (Ask Chandler, from Friends) Photo credit: The Idea Room

Who’s going to say ‘no’ to some homemade bath salts? I crave relaxing moments alone in my bath! It’s a simple mixture, but I love the instructions from The Idea Room.

Tea Towels

From Your Kids! 

Homemade gifts from children are always more meaningful!

An easy gift for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone who adores your kids as much as you do! All you need is a set of tea towels and fabric paint. You can do handprints, have them write I Love You…sky’s the limit! And it’s all made even more personal because your kids made it.

A Key Hanging Shelf

There are so many ways to make these! I love these Lego ones from Dave Hacks. However, my brother made an even fancier one out of wood for my sister-in-law, which included a mail sorter. So, if you’re handy with a screwdriver, put your brain to work and get going!

Fold a Book

This gift shows that this person is worth your time, and makes a great addition to a homey decor.

Have you seen those incredible book folding designs? You can fold any book to make a lot of designs! You can pick up an old book from a thrift store, or maybe even one that’s just lying around your house.

To make it more meaningful, you can choose one that has a special meaning to you or your loved one! It does take a lot of time and precision, but it makes a beautiful display! Here’s a tutorial online, but seek out the shape you want! 

“Service” Coupons

Coupons are like a giftcard, where the price is your time!

Although these have been extremely overdone for romance, you can make these for any member of the family! For your child, you can give them the coupon of an extra book at bedtime or a piece of candy at the store. For your friends, maybe a guitar lesson or a “Girls’ Night” coupon! You really can’t go wrong! It’s like a giftcard that’s free!

We hope these gift ideas have inspired you to be more personal, thrifty, and ready to have a marvelous Christmas season!

-Makayla & This Blue Dress

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