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Budget Christmas Gifts | Handmade & Thrifted

When you think budget Christmas gifts, it’s easy to think that low price equals low quality, but that is not the case! Join me as I share some beautiful homemade gifts for under $5!

This is the time of year that I love to challenge myself to beat the system that seems to shout at us that we have to spend more to have quality gifts to give to our friends & family members.

I do this by using what I can from what I already have at home and putting my DIY skills to good use. It has also proven to be a great motivation to try my hand at new skills that I’ve been wanting to try.

*This post contains affiliate links to products I know &/or love.

Today I have seven handmade and thrifted gifts to share:

These work great for a variety of recipients such as:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Teachers
  • Co-workers
  • Neighbors
  • Hostess Gifts

And they’re all around just $5 (depending on which supplies you already have on hand)!

Let’s get started!

Seven Budget Christmas Gift Ideas

Gift Number One | Homemade Wreath

This one is a great one to DIY! I bought an wire wreath form for $1.25 at the Dollar Tree and cut the greenery from around my yard!

If you do not have pretty holly or evergreen bushes of your own, you can often ask neighbors or on local sales sites for locations that wouldn’t mind you coming in to cut your fill!

Once I collected my pieces (in the pouring rain…but that’s Washington for you!) and let them dry in front our our fireplace, I collected them into small bundles and then used floral wire to attach it to the wire wreath form.

After the base pieces are all on, it’s a good idea to step back and view your wreath from a few feet away to fill in any sparse spots or trim/secure fly away pieces.

I added a beautiful satin ribbon at the bottom of mine, and viola- it’s ready to be delivered to my friend.

Gift Number Two | Candles & Matches

Two great things about gifting candles are that they’re 1) really easy to make yourself if you want to, and/or 2) often really easy to score at thrift stores!

If you want to go the making them yourself route, here’s how to do it:

  • Prepare your jars by sealing any seams (like in vintage tin cans) with gorilla glue.
  • Stick your wick in the center of your jar and use the included stabilizer to hold it in place.
  • Heat a pot of water on the stove and place a disposable aluminum tray on top (like a double boiler). Fill the tray with 1lb of soy pellets.
  • Heat until the soy pellets are melted and reach 160 degrees (Fahrenheit).
  • Add 2 teaspoons of your favorite essential oil and stir for 1 minute.
  • Carefully pour into your prepared jars and let cool.
  • Trim wicks as necessary

I like to add a small jar of matches as a cute touch! These white matches from Amazon are beautiful and of a vintage style, but you can also just buy the inexpensive box sets at Walmart!

I cut a small section of the striker area from the cardboard box and hot-glued it to the bottom of the jar for easy lighting.

Gift Number Three | Homemade Caramels

Homemade caramels is one of the things I have been wanting to try for a while – and making them as a Christmas gift to share is the perfect occasion to try it out!

I followed this recipe for Easy Homemade Caramels from the blog: House of Nash Eats.

The only thing I did was substitute homecare corn syrup for store-bought. That recipe is from Bigger Bolder Baking.

Once the caramels were cooled, I cut them into about 3/4″ squares and wrapped them in 3×4″ sections of wax paper.

I recommend carefully pinching the edges before you start to twist to help avoid tearing!

Once wrapped I placed a generous handful in a clear treat bag and tied with some pretty red satin ribbon.

Gift Number Four | Linen Tea Towel

Next I wanted to make a personalized linen tea towel for my sister. We lost our Mom earlier this year, so this recipe written in her hand-writing is even more special than ever before. It’s been in the family for generations and is used for every major Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner.

I had some left over linen from a different sewing project and cut it down to 24×18″ and did a simple hem along all four sides.

Then I used iron on transfer paper (I like either Jolee’s or Up & Up brand) to add the recipe.

Gift Number Five | Crochet Dishcloth

Crochet dishcloths are another fun item to either thrift or create as a DIY. I love finding older textured doilies that work well as elegant dishcloths. If you know how to crochet, or want to learn, you can find many great tutorials on YouTube like this one by Cynthia Johnson.

I love gifting these along with another fun or useful kitchen gift like the new linen tea towel, or a great smelling dish soap in a pretty bottle.

Bonus: If you’re looking for another sweet crochet project to use as a Christmas gift, check out this Pom Pom Garland tutorial from last Christmas!

Budget Christmas Gifts Number Six | Christmas Cookies

Pretty molded shortbread cookies have been making the rounds again this year, and I just knew I had to try it out for myself! I found this cute pinecone cookie mold and used this short bread recipe from Sincerely Marie Designs.

If you’re looking for another style of mold, you can try searching here on Etsy, or Marian over at Miss Mustard Seed has some fun ones linked in her post here for salt dough ornaments.

I placed my cookies in a plastic treat bag and tied it off with green ribbon and a fun piece of faux Christmas greenery.

Gift Number Seven | Homemade Soup & Bread

Last but not least, homemade minestrone soup & bread! This one is a fan-favorite for those busy weeks leading up to Christmas! When dinner comes wrapped in a pretty package from a thoughtful friend it’s a double blessing!

I followed this great minestrone soup receipe by Salt & Lavender.

If you have the time and desire, you can make homemade bread to go along with it as well! This time I opted for the pretty artisan style bread that you can find at Costco, 2 loaves for $6.

I placed the cooled soup in quart size mason jars and added a fun gold tape accent across the top and down one side.

For the bread I wrapped it in white and tied a green satin bow with a sprig of faux greenery.

I hope you’re inspired and encouraged by these budget Christmas gifts and that you find something in this list of ideas to share with friends and family of your own this holiday season!

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