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10 Simple, Cheap Homemade Christmas Gifts

Cocoa Mix

If you've never had a homemade cocoa, you’re really missing out. It's so far beyond Swiss Miss that there's not even a comparison. Go find a good recipe. Evaporated milk adds a little richness, and you can season it to taste yourself with anything from cinnamon to nutmeg to a dash of cayenne. You'll have a great treat for friends and family, and people will think that you're basically a wizard for making it yourself.

Bath Salts

Not the drug, obviously. Bath salts are super easy to make, and, since the oils and colors you use are entirely up to you, it's easy to personalize and a joy to receive. When buying ingredients, get ready to make a dent in your list because you’ll have enough supplies to make several gifts (bonus)!


Everyone loves cheesecake. Cheesecake isn't the cheapest thing in the world to make, but making one is still a heck of a lot cheaper than buying one. The great thing about cheesecakes is that people tend to assume they're harder to make than they actually are. Some tips—add a little cornstarch to thicken it up, and use a water bath to prevent cracking. This trade will make you a hit at parties, too.


That's right, furniture. Everyone knows at least one Ron Swanson type who builds tables instead of saying "I love you." Bookshelves are a nice, easy place to start, and you'll be surprised by how empowered you will feel after pulling it off. Of course, this isn't something to do for everyone on your list—lumber and time are both expensive—but it's still less costly than buying furniture that's not made of plywood. Plus, nothing says "I love you" quite like taking a pile of nothing and turning into something they can use every day.

Spiced Tea

We have the recipe you need: 2 cups Tang, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup Lipton instant tea, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves... Yes, it's a sugar bomb. This isn't the health section of the website. It smells and tastes like Christmas, looks like sand art, and people will love it.

Sugar Scrub

Give your friends and family the gift of gentle, silky-smooth skin this Christmas. All you actually need is sugar and oil (coconut oil is used a lot, but canola works, too), but adding some food coloring and essential oils help make it look and smell legit. Who doesn’t love a nice beauty gift?


Soap is something everyone needs, and you can make it yourself with a handful of oils and some lye. (The lye really is important to the process, so don't stress about using it.) Be gentle with your scents—remember that some people are easily overloaded—but again, soap has an everyday utility to it that not everything on this list has. 


We've talked before about how making your own clothing isn't always the best financial play, but scarves are so easy (and can get so pricey in stores) that this is not only a heartwarming choice (no pun intended) but a great one for your wallet as well. Not to mention that scarves are a relatively easy way to get into knitting, so if you don't have tons of experience, you shouldn't be intimidated. Plus, you get to pick your own colors and textures!


Candles are a go-to gift for many people anyway, so why not add that personal touch? This way you can control the color and potency for friends who might have allergies. You'll need some kind of double-boiler—you don't want heat directly on the wax—and you'll need some kind of candy or meat thermometer to make sure that the wax reaches the right temperature. This craft really isn't hard, and there are plenty of guides online.

Tote Bags

Totes are easy to make. You can find a pattern online, or you can even buy a kit that takes you step-by-step if you're new to sewing. It's another item with plenty of utility, whether you make something small and snug for a laptop or larger and more multi-purpose. Try monogramming for an extra-personalized gift!