by Texas Homesteader ~
Homemade gifts are special. But how do you come up with homemade gifts they’ll actually LOVE? I’m sharing gifts we’ve made over the years that were very well received. Come see!
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Deciding To Give Homemade Gifts
One year I just got completely frustrated with all the consumerism associated with the holidays. Every year we were struggling to equal or top last year’s gifts. Then there was the shopping, the crowds and the mounting EXPENSE!
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not against gifts. They’re a fun way to share our love with those around us.
But whatever happened to my vision of the real meaning of Christmas? Those times when RancherMan & I focused on gathering with family & friends and spending time together in celebration of the birth Christ??
When did that get shoved aside & it all become about the GIFTS and the tunnel-vision mindset of “what’s in it for me??”
So RancherMan & I had a heart-to-heart talk with each other that year & decided although it would take much more effort on our part, we wanted to give more personal gifts. Something from both of us, straight from our hearts.
We’ve now been doing this for several years – way before I had this website. So I don’t necessarily have pictures of everything to show you. But I thought it would be helpful to know some of the gifts that we’ve given that were well received.
Whether your gift recipient has a wood-burning fireplace or is a camping enthusiast, these wax-dipped pinecones are a great gift idea. And they’re super easy to make. You can even use old candles for the wax!
RancherMan & I have these in our home and we love them!
This gift has been wildly successful with all our family members both old and young. Just warm them in the microwave for a few seconds and BOOM, delightful warmth.
Place ’em in your pockets to keep you warm when you must go out on a cold day.
My dad is probably the biggest fan EVER of these pocket warmers. He once asked me “Does anyone else know about these? If so, why doesn’t everyone have one – they’re AMAZING!” LOL. Thanks dad…
~ Pasta & Pasta Sauce –
We like to make consumable gifts whenever possible since we don’t often know preferred colors or designs, nor what the gift recipient already has or wants. Often our consumable gifts are food items because c’mon, everyone likes to eat!
Our gifts come from BOTH of us, not just me. When making our Christmas gifts RancherMan is right there beside me doing the work. It’s a true sacrifice for him since cooking & canning’s not something he enjoys. A true gift from his heart!
One year we planted extra paste tomatoes in our garden and when they were harvested we cooked and canned pasta sauce. We also made homemade pasta and packaged it all in stainless-steel colanders with stainless steel spaghetti utensils.
We also made homemade tamales to give as our Christmas gifts one year. We gifted those tamales in a small glass casserole dish so there would be no disposable plastic wrappings included.
Our tamale gifts were very well received and we had enough to store several in the freezer for ourselves too. You know that makes RancherMan a happy boy!
~ Homemade Food Gift Baskets –
One of our favorite things to give are homemade food baskets. The contents of these baskets obviously change year to year based on what I’ve been able to grow in the garden or make & can throughout the year.
One year we shared my favorite Pumpkin Granola packaged in a huge reusable hinged glass jars.
Of course work on this gift started waaaaay back in the spring with the planting of heirloom pumpkin. Then the weeding/watering/harvesting of that pumpkin. Followed by cooking that pumpkin down into puree and then finally using that puree in my recipe.
I felt good knowing we’d put so much of ourselves into this gift. Even the pecans are harvested & shelled from our own trees!
One year our gift basket was entirely apple themed. My aunt invited me to pick the apples from her tree and we came home with bushels of delicious apples. RancherMan & I spent weeks in the kitchen peeling, chopping cooking and canning apple products.
We made apple-pie filling so our little bakers could just plop that jar of pre-made filling into a crust and have homemade apple pie in a flash.
We also made and canned creamy apple butter, Cinnamon/Vanilla Applesauce, cinnamon-spiced apples and apple slices in light syrup. Another big hit was the dehydrated sugar-cinnamon apples perfect for snacking.
~ Homemade Preserves –
A fun thing to include in a food gift basket is homemade pear preserves. A sweet friend shared her pear preserves recipe that has always been RancherMan’s FAVORITE. And another dear friend allowed me to harvest the leftover pears from her tree. The results were this delicious pear preserves.
Since we have a small apiary, I typically have a supply of beeswax. One year for Christmas we decided to make beeswax lip balm for our grandbabies.
I tinted them with KoolAid (but be careful it’s easy to make the flavor too tart using it) I now almost always tint my lip balm with a bit of lipstick instead.
(Note: If I have extra, I sell beeswax from our hives on my Online Store)
It’s always a puzzle how to present a gift of cash. I mean, you hate to just hand over the dough. Surely there’s a cute way to present money as a gift.
Whether you’re including cash for those gift recipients or leaving the cash out to make a cute inexpensive gifts for your children’s classmates or your office co-workers, this candy snowman gift comes together quickly and costs precious little to assemble.
~Gifts Packaged Beautifully –
Sometimes if I was giving a jar of home-canned goodies to a neighbor or friend, I wanted a lovely, rustic way of presenting my gift. Mama always says: “Presentation is half the gift” and mama’s always right.
I started making these fun and oh-so-cute denim baskets using repurposed denim from RancherMan’s worn jeans. I love that they are so easy to make even with my beyond-novice sewing skills. And can be embellished in so many cute ways.
~ Homemade Jerky –
RancherMan’s a skilled hunter and he keeps all manner of meat in our freezer. A couple of years ago we gave homemade wild-game jerky using venison and elk meat. You could just use ground beef if you wanted.
It was easy! We bought a * jerky gun and a couple of flavoring kits. Then it was simply a matter of taking the ground meat, adding the seasoning, mixing it all up and “shooting” it onto the dehydrator trays and drying the meat.
This gift was very, very well received by all of our gift recipients.
~ Wild Game Summer Sausage –
One year we gave processed wild hog meat. One of the wild hogs that RancherMan harvested right here on the ranch was processed by a wild-game meat processor.
Some of the meat was made into summer sausage and jalapeno-cheese snack sticks. The meat was presented in a new small soft-side cooler with reusable ice pack.
~ Dehydrated Salsa In A Jar –
Now this is clever! One year I took various vegetables from my garden and dehydrated them in my Excalibur dehydrator.
I dehydrated diced tomatoes and onions, garlic, even cilantro. When all was ready I assembled my dehydrated salsa gifts.
Into each jar and measured each dehydrated ingredient along with my homemade seasoning mix and BOOM! Dehydrated salsa in a jar.
My gift recipients only needed to add hot water & allow everything to rehydrate. It was certainly a popular gift that year.
~ Homemade Cold-Press Soap –
One year we made a couple of kinds of homemade soap. This was a really fun and unique idea that everyone loved. One of the soaps was made using rosemary from my plants right out back that were dried and crushed. We made gentle unscented Castile soap as well rosemary-scented and vanilla-scented soaps.
UPDATE: I’ve posted about our homemade Rosemary/Lavender Soap using botanicals from right here on the Homestead. I’ve also posted about our Vanilla-Scented Shampoo Bars. They were both very well received by our gift recipients. And of course RancherMan & I are able to spoil ourselves with some pretty incredible homemade soap too!
~ Soapberry Infusion & Soap Boxes –
The homemade soap a few years ago went over so well I had family members asking for them for gifts again. So we obliged, yet expanded upon the gift idea. This gift would be a box of various soap/cleaning items.
I purposely grew luffa that year so I could include them in these gifts. So planning for that year’s Christmas gift started waaaaaaaaay back in the later winter months when I was Planning My Garden.
Along with the home-grown luffa we added a few bars of different homemade soaps. But we added something else.
I harvested Soapberries from our remote property and made Soapberry Infusion with them. I used small repurposed jars and heated the infusion and poured it into the small jars. Then I turned the jars upside down to heat the jar’s seals.
Although this would never be good enough for sealing food, it worked great for sealing the infusion so the gift recipients could either use it for shampoo or general cleaning whenever they were ready for it.
The soaps were all packaged in boxes I made from Repurposed Christmas Cards.
~ Hummingbird Feeders & Nectar –
When we bought this property there was a large area of trash tucked away in the trees of one of our pastures from the previous inhabitants. Now the house that was on this property burned over 50 years before we ever purchased it. So I’m guessing that’s just the way they did things back then.
There wasn’t much plastic in those piles but lots of glass, metal, old cars, etc. We cleaned up that area by taking all the metal to a recycling facility and much of the glass as well.
But some of those glass jars were just so cool and obviously old. Maybe there’s something we can do with them…
We took some of the more interestingly-shaped ones and washed them up. We bought glass paint pens and painted a different design on each one.
Then we bought rubber-cork/flower *hummingbird feeder tips and made our own very cool hummingbird feeders. We included a package of homemade hummingbird nectar along with the instructions so they could make more homemade nectar when it ran out.
~ Something For Fido –
Can’t forget those pups! Many of our friends & family have dogs and my healthy Homemade Dog Treats is a fun thing to include in our gift baskets for their fur babies.
Although not technically a gift for Christmas, RancherMan & I also made this gorgeous solar light feature from Bois d’Arc trees on our property as a gift for our daughter.
It was personalized specifically for her with her love of elephants. She loved it! And the cost to make it was minimal.
One year we made homemade cheese as our gift. We wanted to present that cheese on a small Cutting Board (ie: cheeseboard).
But we were shocked at how expensive this small cutting board was going to be. So we made them ourselves.
We even personalized them. It was easy and they turned out beautifully for a fraction of the cost.
So there’s a list of some of the fun homemade gifts we’ve presented over the years. What are your favorite homemade gifts to give or receive?
Other Christmas Posts You Might Like:
- ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?
- How Will I Be Able To ‘Provide’ Christmas This Year?
- Holiday Cooking Shortcuts, Tips & Recipes
- A Small Christmas Tree Can Be BEAUTIFUL!
- Keeping The JOY In The Christmas Season
- Want To Keep Christ In Christmas?
- Thinking Of Adding A Pup To Your Home This Christmas?
- The Truth Behind Perfect Facebook Posts
- Don’t Judge The Need Of Others
- Homemade Gifts We’ve Given
- Gift Ideas For Mom
- Gift Ideas For Dad
- Must-Haves For Any Home Cook
- Christmas Gift-Idea Roundup
- Repurposed Denim Hand Warmers
- 8 Eco-Friendly Gifts Your Friends Will LOVE!
- Low-Waste Christmas Gifts We’ve Received
- Cute Santa Sleigh Made With Candy
- MYO Snowman Treat Jar Gift
- Keeping Track Of Gift-Card Balances
- Experience Gift Ideas
- Easy Homemade Jerky
- Candy Snowman With Gloves (and optional CASH!)
Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas:
- Gift Ideas For The Eco-Friendly Mom
- Homemade Gift Ideas
- Homemade Chai Tea Mix
- Gardener’s Hand Scrub
- 3-Ingredient Beeswax Lip Balm
- Repurposed Denim Pocket-Sized Hand Warmers
- Rustic Repurposed-Denim Baskets
- Cedar Solar-Light Garden Feature
- Rustic Bois d’Arc Solar Light
- Photo Wall Hanging Using Reclaimed Barn Wood
- Making A Small Gift Box With A Greeting Card
- Make a Customized Label With Plain Ole Shipping Tape
- 8 Environmentally Friendly Gifts For Your Friends
- Low-Waste Gifts We’ve Rec’d & Loved
- Environmentally-Friendly Gifts Can Be Fun
Low-Waste Gift Wrapping & Presentation
- Reusable Gift Wrap Ideas
- Low-Waste Gift Baskets
- Make A Cute Gift Box Using A Christmas Card!
- No Wrapping Needed: Experience Gifts!
- Wrapping Gifts In Seconds Using Cloth
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