Christmas gifts wrapped in brown paper with red ribbons.

5 Favorite Handmade Holiday Gifts With Complete Instructions (So Easy!)

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

Christmas gifts wrapped in brown paper with red ribbons.

The five gift ideas that follow (with the possible exception of pillowcases) require no particular skill. And if you can sew a straight line, you’re good to go with that super fun idea, too! Basically, if you can measure, stir, pour and assemble—you can handmake gifts this year.

Gift and Cream1. Luxury 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 of luxury lotion, start to finish, in a single evening.

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

I have created a photo tutorial at The Homemade Gift You’d Actually Love to Receive with all of the step-by-step instructions, plus 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!


2. Shaving Cream

For the men on your gift list—ladies, too!—luxury shave cream is quite a treat. You could make a big batch in a single evening, and have gifts all ready to go in no time. This recipe multiplies well should you have an exceptionally long list.


Instructionshandmade shave cream

  1. Heat the coconut oil and shea butter in a small saucepan over low heat until completely melted. Watch it constantly as this will not take long.
  2. Pour this liquid into a 2-cup or larger container. Stir in the olive oil. Set this mixture in the refrigerator and allow it to harden.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator and place it into a medium size mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture well until it becomes light-colored and super creamy—3 to 5 minutes. Should look like whipped butter or stiff whipped cream.
  4. Add the optional essential oil at this time,if you desire, and continue with mixer at low speed until fully incorporated.
  5. Transfer the shave cream to your gifting containers of choice (small plastic jars are ideal): Using a rubber spatula or other kitchen utensil, fill a large zip-type plastic bag. Close the top. Using scissors, snip off a small portion of one of the bottom corners to create a simple “piping” bag.
  6. Fill the jars by gently squeezing the bag so the lotion extrudes from the snipped corner.
  7. Label your containers as desired.

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 to use this homemade shaving cream the same as you would any store-bought shaving cream! Add that should the contents begin to separate, simply stir vigorously with a spoon.

3. Pillowcase

diy pillowcaseIf 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!

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 is in this video by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt. Another more recent video for the same project but with French seams is here.

You don’t even need a pattern. Follow along and you’ll learn the trick in a flash. It really is so much fun you might find it difficult to stop making pillowcases.


4. 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. There’s just something about bacon.

You will find my recipe, instructions, resources, text for the tag, and photo tutorial here: Gifts from My Kitchen: Bacon Jam.

I opted for these Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni 8.5 oz jars and lids  from Italy because they have a classy flair for a lovely presentation, which are available as I write, but they’ve become pricey. Shop around. You’ll likely find more economical options.

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.


5. Caramel CornA pile of popcorn

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

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.



Updated and republished: 11-13-23


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2 replies
  1. 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.


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