A piece of cake sitting on top of a wooden table

Best Creative and Inexpensive Homemade Holiday Gifts!

Whether it’s something from your kitchen, craft room, woodworking shop, or computer, there’s nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, a plate of cookies, box of fudge, note cards—just a few of the many homemade gift ideas with universal appeal.

I love homemade gifts both to give and receive. No wonder I have so many favorites!


A piece of cake sitting on top of a wooden table

Hand and Body Lotion

A jar of your own signature luxury hand and body lotion will definitely put you on the map. It’s that good. Not particularly crafty? No worries.

If you can assemble, empty, stir and mix well, you’ve got what it takes to make dozens of these gifts start to finish in a single evening.


A bottle of wine sitting on top of a wooden table

And the best part? Under $5 per gift, depending on where you buy the ingredients and containers.


Gift and Cream

I have created a photo tutorial at How to DIY Gifts of Luxury Hand and Body Cream with all of the step-by-step instructions and specifics on the ingredients and where to get them.

Believe me when I say this is the gift your recipient(s) will rave about. And beg for more. It’s that awesome!

Shaving Cream

Seriously. Quite similar in process to the lotion above, you can make a big batch in one evening.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons carrier oil (jojoba, sweet almond etc.)
  • 1/4 cup shea butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap
  • liquid from 2 vitamin E capsules
  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
  • 10-20 drops essential oils (optional)

Heat the coconut oil, carrier oil, and shea butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir gently until fully incorporated. Pour this liquid into mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients—honey, baking soda, castile soap, liquid from the opened vitamin E capsules and optional essential oils. Stir gently until fairly well mixed.

Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture well until it becomes light-colored and super creamy. Should like whipped butter or stiff whipped cream!

Transfer to your gifting containers of choice—small jars are ideal. But this is no ordinary shaving cream!

Your recipients will be blown away by how smooth it is, making shaving a dream. Leaves one’s skin soft and nourished. Add a note that should the contents begin to separate, simply stir vigorously with a spoon.

You can easily double this recipe.


If you have a sewing machine and can sew a straight line, this is such a fantastic gift—a unique, special pillowcase for your recipient. I’ve made dozens (and dozens) of these so I know of which I speak! I’ve made dozens (and dozens … even more dozens of these!)

It’s so much fun—almost miraculous—the way you pin, fold and sew it together in a matter of minutes. My favorite tutorial and the way I learned to do it in this video by Jenny Dolan of Missouri Star Quilt. You don’t even need a pattern! Follow along and you’ll learn the trick in a flash!

Everyone loves a brand new made-for-them pillowcase, especially if made from flannel.

Jenny Dolan MSQ pillowcase tutorial


Bacon Jam

It’s the perfect time to make a big batch of Bacon Jam for all the bacon lovers on your gift list.

Gift and Bacon

Bacon Jam is quite possibly the best holiday gift ever. I say that because it’s what local friends and family clamor for.

It took a few attempts, but finally, I believe I nailed it. And so do my recipients.

Bacon jam

I opted for these Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni 8.5 oz jars with lids from Italy because they have a classy flair for a lovely presentation. Availability can be sketchy for some reason.

As for the yield, I can fill four of these jars with one recipe of Bacon Jam, or about 4 cups.

The recipe doubles well but will take a longer cooking time for it to thicken.

Gift and Bacon jam

You will find my recipe, instructions, resources, and photo tutorial Gifts from My Kitchen: Bacon Jam.

Serve Bacon Jam on crostini …

A close up of food, with Bacon jam

… on eggs, meatloaf, sandwiches, and potatoes. Wow.

A close up of food on a plate, with Bacon jam

Bacon Jam is especially satisfying straight out of the jar, too

Bacon jam

There’s just something about bacon.

Caramel Corn

Could there be anything better than a lovely gift of really good Caramel Corn? This could put you on the map!


A pile of popcornrn

For years, I’ve tried to make good caramel corn, without success. It was either too soggy or too chewy. Or the caramel turned sugary. Once, I needed a hammer and chisel to get the stuff out of the bowl.

I’d really given up until my encounter with Popcornopolis. I had to figure this out―I had to find a way to create a reasonable facsimile in my kitchen that would hit the mark without breaking the bank.

I am excited to let you know that I believe I have.

Just in time for the holidays, here’s a quick and easy way to make what I find to be amazing gift-worthy caramel corn, with both stovetop and microwave instructions, your choice.

Either way, the secret to crunchy, caramelly awesomeness is to finish by baking the caramel corn in a low-temperature oven, stirring often. Recipe and complete instructions

More Incredible Edible Gifts

Need more ideas? I’ve got more at Incredible Edible Gifts. Here’s the great thing about edible and other kinds of consumable gifts—you don’t put your recipient on the spot to make sure they wear, display, care for and otherwise use your gift from now on.

Edible, decadent, awesome, holiday gifts are enjoyed at the moment. There is no expectation of anything more than receiving your heartfelt love and wishes for a wonderful holiday.

First published: 12-10-18; Updated for 2020: 9-28-20

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11 replies
  1. Jeri says:

    Is there a good substitute for Angustora Bitters. I’ve got a great recipe for spiced nuts with bitters but they’re SO EXPENSIVE!

  2. Polly B Deal says:

    5 stars
    I made the bacon jam and used little plastic containers and froze them to gift. It was SERIOUSLY one of the best things I have ever tasted. I was asked for the recipe. It was requested to bring to my church picnic for a condiment. While the gifting looked small, I was able to get 12 little containers from a batch and a half. Enough for a meal or two, and not so much as would go bad in the fridge of my reciepient. If I was making it for myself, I might store it this way for the same reason.

  3. Maureen says:

    I’ve done pillowcases for various occasions. 1 or a set for each month, themed for that month. January snowflakes, February hearts, March shamrocks…. and even threw in some birthday ones too! I did this for my daughter who was heading off to college and her friends couldn’t wait to see what the next months were!

    • Mary Hunt says:

      That is awesome, Maureen. I think I sleep better on a great pillowcase, espeically when it is season-appropriate! Seirously.

  4. Amber B says:

    I prepared two double recipes of your bacon jam last year, used 4 oz jars, and gave away to family, friends and co-workers (and kept some for myself). I was skeptical while making the first batch, as I’m not much of one for onions. However, they really cooked down and the batch turned into this wonderful, bacony, mapley concoction. Will definitely will make it again!

  5. Marilyn says:

    For all you Instant Pot fans, a quick gift idea…A bag of some apples and apple slicer and Dulce le leche (creamy caramely sauce for dipping the apples)…I bought plain red gift bags at the dollar store along with those round segmented apple slicers and some small plastic containers with lids. My Dollar store even had in stock sweetened condensed milk. I make the Dulce le leche, put it in the container add some apples and the slicer and Voila! A quick, unique and appreciated gift….. My recipe for Dulce le leche..Open a can of Sweetened Condensed Milk, remove the lable, cover the can with foil, submerge the can halfway up with water in the Instant Pot and use manual for 40 minutes. Quick release and pour into a dish. Let it sit uncovered for 20 min. Add 1 teas.Vanilla and stir well until smooth. Can do several cans at once. (There are recipes not requiring Instant Pot)


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