Simple Handmade Gifts – Part One

I read a rather frightening post online tonight about Christmas Consumerism and how our spending is completely out of control! Guilty! Don’t get me wrong…I don’t spend LAVISHLY on my family and friends…but I most definitely OVERspend each year. I always have in mind what I want to spend for gifts, food, decorations, etc….and it never fails but that I always go over!

This year I am TRYING to do things a little differently.  My daughter and I were talking on the phone recently about how stressful and expensive Christmas is and decided to make this year a  “handmade” Christmas…at least for the most part. With 12 and 16 year old boys still at home…this isn’t going to fly completely. I will have to make a few concessions in the form of video games, etc.  But, like I said, for the most part, this is what we are going to try and do.

And taking it one step further….we have decided that “doing” something for someone in the family is as much a gift (if not more!) than something wrapped up in paper with a pretty bow. So some of our gifts are going to be gifts of time/effort/SWEAT! :-)  For example…I REALLY want to do a makeover on our “builders special” mirrors in our bathrooms like this one at I just think it makes SUCH a difference and is a fairly easy do-it-yourself project with a lot of “bang for the buck”.  So that is what I am asking “Santa” for this year. If I get it….it could possibly be one of the most fantastic Christmas presents I’ve ever received. :-)

I’ve titled this post Simple Handmade Gifts – Part One….because I have SO many of these I want to share…but feel like posting them all at once would be a bit much. So, since I know there are at least a few more such posts I will be making….I’m calling this Part One. Don’t worry…this is not going to be a day after day after day thing.  Just when the mood strikes me. :-)

So here are the first 6 offerings for your gift-giving inspiration. I didn’t want to “label” any of them as “Teacher Gifts” or “Neighbor Gifts”, etc….but any of them would be great for those and all sorts of other people on your list and in your life.

handmade gifts 7

DIY: Monogram Mugs at

What I like:  Anything monogrammed I think is fun and shows a personal touch.  I’m also partial to mugs…especially WHITE mugs. :-)  I love the font she’s used here for the letters….but you could use whatever strikes your fancy.

handmade gifts 2

Cereal Box Notepads at

What I like:  Two words come to mind… and colorful! But beyond that there are some great possibilities with this one. First of all it’s a great tutorial on how to make a notepad…and with that knowledge you can take this idea in a lot of different directions. You could make the notepads and go a completely different direction for the covers.

CLICK HERE to view a complete list of my “Simple Handmade Gifts” series!

Or you could lose the covers altogether and just make the notepads. How about a custom notepad for teachers like the one here at 4 Crazy Kings? My guess is any teacher could use something like this!

glass tile pendants by

This blog is quickly becoming one of my favs for DIY ideas! She’s got a MILLION (well it seems like a million anyway) of them! I guess her blog name is rather appropriate.

What I Like:  These are so quick, easy and inexpensive to make…you could make them with abandon and not feel bad about giving gifts to everyone you know! :-)
Actually, I think this would be an ideal gift for girls to give to their friends. I remember as a girl making long lists of all my friends I needed to get Christmas presents for…and of course my Mom telling me that was preposterous. lol.  It usually ended up being a lip gloss or a chocolate bar or something….but something like this would have been COOL!  Once again, there are endless possibilities for changing up the look and even personalizing it for each giftee.

monogrammed hand sanitizer/soap bottles at

What I Like:  This is one of the first DIY gift ideas I ever pinned on Pinterest…and I like it as much today as I did then! It’s just a classic idea.  Almost everyone uses liquid soap or hand sanitizer in a bottle (especially teachers! For good reason!). They are actually pretty cheap to buy….but I really hate the thought of throwing out a perfectly good plastic container.  I really do.  And this is SO much more attractive to have by your sink or on your desk than the ones you buy at the grocery store.  AND it’s got the monogram thing going for it….which I always consider a plus.

Christmas {anytime} soap wrapper at

What I Like: This one is a little different…but that’s what I like about it. :-)

A lovely homemade bar of soap (or a pretty bar from the store) is a great gift all by itself…but wrap it up in these cute wrappers and you have something special!

These bars are dressed up for Christmas…but there are also some that are just pretty wrappers…perfect for any gifting occasion.  Bonus: they are free to download and print!

And last but not least (for TODAY)…

handmade gifts 6

fabric covered notebooks at

  • What I like:
    Inexpensive –  as in CHEAP! :-)
  • Broad appeal – Depending on the type of material you choose….these handy little notebooks could be well utilized by just about anyone!  Male, female, young, old, etc etc.
  • Multiple uses – journaling, doodling, note-taking, planning, etc.

I’m definitely going to make some of these (and set aside at least a couple for myself.)

And that’s enough for today….don’t want to send you into INSPIRATION OVERLOAD. It’s only December 5th! We’ve got PLENTY of time to do that! ;-)

CLICK HERE to view a complete list of my “Simple Handmade Gifts” series!

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee



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  • […] happens to be my EIGHTH installment of this post. I started with Parts One, Two, Three, and Four back in 2011 then added Parts Five, Six, and Seven in 2012. This is the […]

  • Because I cannot afford to give what is really needed (lots of cash), this year I challenged myself to make all the holiday gifts with the budget of $1 or less. My ideas came from Jillee & www, my own imagination and food items that I have been giving for years. The hardest part was choosing a gift that the recipient would go gaga over. Luckily I have a short list I give to. This is what I made. DH (Jillee’s recipe) Dove Body Wash and 4 Star Trek themed (I designed) paper snowflakes, Son 1 (27 yrs old) 2 dozen Star Wars themed snowflakes (, D-inL- from felt a Harry Potter (just his face) Kindle cover (pinterest), Son 2 (23 yrs old) paper Super Hero & villains finger puppets ( also Dove Body wash. I broke the budget for my 7 month old granddaughter–spent about $5 -sorry can’t tell you what it was because I have applied for a patent (her college fund). Neighbors & other friends got food items and children got Paper Nativity Sets (like paper dolls) made from a paper box card ( the Nativity design was mine. Christmas was minimal because we help Son 2 with tuition all year long, and help son1 with groceries in the summer (he is a teacher & no pay checks in the summer). Everyone went gaga and said thank you over & over.

  • […] I would squeeze in one more Handmade Gift Ideas post before it’s too late!  (See Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six […]



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