A wrap on homemade gift ideas


(Sarah Fidahussain / The University News)

As the cold front approaches, the holiday season does too. The month of December is known as the “World of Holidays,” featuring celebrations such as Krampusnacht, St. Nicholas Day, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Hanukkah, St. Lucia Day, Santa Lucia, Las Posadas, Winter Solstice, Festivus, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Osaka and New Year’s Eve. This can be very intimidating for a frugal college student. That being said, nothing is better than an inexpensive semi-handmade gift to show your loved ones you care about them without breaking the bank. Listed below are simple gift ideas for everyone on your list. 

Personalized Mug

This is the perfect gift for lovers of coffee, hot cocoa, tea or sentimental gifts. The best part is that this gift is long-lasting and will actually be used. Begin by drawing or painting a design on your mug. Make sure to check if the gift receiver is left-handed or right-handed before choosing which side to decorate. After you have layered coats of paint to your satisfaction, let it dry for a full 24 hours. Optionally, you could then add a thin coat of Mod Podge to your mug to ensure that it is water protected. It is best to simply hand wash the mug in order to preserve your design.

To personalize a mug, all you need is: 

-A plain colored mug ($2)

-Oil-based paint markers ($3 for one, $12 for a pack)

-Or ceramic paint ($0.99 a bottle)


-Paint brushes ($5 for a pack)

-Mod Podge ($5)

Cookies and Other Baked Goods 

(In a Mason Jar)

We all know the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart and feed the stomach. This gift is completely customizable to your skill level so you can make sweets completely from scratch, from a box or you can just buy them pre-made and put them in a Tupperware container. Alternatively, you could also simply gather the ingredients for your favorite baked good, put them in a mason jar, and attach the baking instructions. One classic recipe that puts smiles on peoples’ faces year-round is Snickerdoodle cookies.

To make Snickerdoodles in a jar you will need:

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 ½ cups white sugar

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir the mixture with a whisk, then place it into a one-quart canning jar. Attach a tag with the following recipe to the jar:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit  (175 degrees C). 

2. In a large bowl, cream one cup of butter and two eggs. Pour in the snickerdoodle mix and stir until the dough forms. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and one tbsp of cinnamon. Roll the dough into one inch balls, then roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cookies should be light brown. Cool on wire racks. This yields around 3 dozen cookies. 

Anything made from clay!

If you are more on the crafty side, an investment in either oven-bake or air-dry clay may be in your favor. You can craft pendants for necklaces, earrings, or keychains. You could handcraft a trinket dish or incense burner. Another option could be to make a pencil cup for someone’s desk. The possibilities are endless! The best part is, it is possible to create multiple gifts from just one pack of clay. 

Listed below are items potentially needed for crafting with clay:

Oven-bake clay ($10)

I recommend Sculpey 

Or air-dry clay ($10)

I recommend Nara

Acrylic Paint ($1 a bottle)

Paint brushes ($5 for a pack)

Mod Podge ($5)

   Just because a gift is more affordable does not mean it can’t be extraordinary. Any homemade gift shows your loved ones that you took the time and effort to make them something they truly love, even if you do not have much money to spend on it. If you still haven’t found a good DIY gift idea, Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration. No matter what you end up creating, your gift will forever hold special meaning with the person you gift it to. After all, doesn’t Santa make his own presents, too?