Christmas Gift Ideas to Make Yourself

With budgets tighter than in previous years, many people are looking for christmas gift ideas that can be made at home. This option is economical, and it also gives recipients something unique that can't be found in any stores. There are no shortages of creative ideas for Christmas gifts, and it can be hard to narrow down which ones to pick. For the artistically inclined, the process of making gifts can be as enjoyable as giving them to friends and family. The following are highlights of some of the best homemade gift ideas.

Personalized Travel Brochure

This is a popular gift idea for those with young children or even pets. It helps to have some basic Photoshop experience for this one. Gather some stock photos from the Internet of travel destinations such as the Eiffel Tower, Mount Fiji, Big Ben, and the like. Use Photoshop to super-impose photos of your niece, nephew, friends' children, or their four-legged children onto them so it looks like they have traveled the globe. Put these photos together into a brochure layout and use some good quality paper for printing.

One of a Kind Coffee Mugs

If you happen to have a ceramic hobby, you have a ready source of unique homemade gifts. Clay studios sell varieties of ready-made bisque ware coffee cups made from clay molds, usually for only a few dollars. Buy a few of these and glaze them with a crackle glaze in your friends' and relatives' favorite colors. Crackle glazes are mixed with crystallized particles that explode in when fired in the kiln, creating blasts of contrasting color on the ceramic surface; no two ever come out exactly the same. If you have been diligent with your wheel-throwing practice during the year, you can instead make your own mugs from scratch. Line your finished mug with bright colored paper and fill with candy, then gather the paper together at the top and tie off with some ribbon. You can use the candy recipe below for an even more personalized touch.

Christmas Peppermint Bark

This homemade candy recipe has been described as "addictive." Start with 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup of white chocolate chips, and 6 to 7 regular sized peppermint candy canes. Crush the candy canes in a Ziploc bag with a meat mallet or hammer and strain with a fine strainer to remove the ultra fine dust. Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with wax paper. Melt the white and semi-sweet chocolate with 1/2 teaspoon each of cooking oil in two separate heat-proof bowls on top of pots of simmering water; these melt quickly, within 1 to 2 minutes. You can also melt it in the microwave, but be careful not to set the timer too long. Stir each bowl of melted chocolate while adding the candy pieces and 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Pour both chocolate mixtures into the pan and drag the tip of a butter knife through it to create a swirl pattern. Refrigerate the peppermint bark for 15 to 20 minutes, or until solid. Break into pieces and wrap a few pieces into small brightly-colored cellophane gift bags, and tie the tops with ribbon.