Here are 5 simple homemade gifts for the holiday season


(Photo: Jayde Vogeler/The Simpsonian)

by Belle Ward, Special to The Simpsonian

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The holidays are almost here, and with that comes the pressure to give gifts. College students often feel the pressure to buy gifts for those around them, whether that includes family, friends or roommates. Gifts can quickly become expensive, which is why DIY and inexpensive gift ideas are always an option during this time of year.

Senior Sarah Heiderstadt regularly gives homemade gifts around the holiday season.

“I think they’re a great way to spread holiday cheer and brighten someone’s day,” Heiderstadt said.

Last year, Heiderstadt made her friends care packages with holiday treats.

“Baked goods are always a great, inexpensive and thoughtful gift idea,” Heiderstadt said.

Junior Erica Wardenburg is making all homemade gifts for her friends this holiday season. Her inspiration for giving homemade gifts comes from her grandmother. Her grandmother embroidered parts of her wedding dress for her grandchildren when they were younger, sewing their initial in blue stitching.

“There’s a lot of DIY things that don’t take very long,” Wardenburg said. “There’s a lot of DIY projects that can open your eyes to new projects, and can be really relaxing.”

Wardenburg painted canvases for her friends’ birthdays and enjoyed learning how to create different types of homemade crafts. She feels accomplished after making a gift for a friend, and enjoys the feeling it gives her.

Here are five simple ideas for those looking for gift ideas during the holidays:

1. Sugar Scrub

This is a useful gift, and it is easy to make. It includes mixing coconut oil and sugar for the right consistency. Adding scents like vanilla or lavender is optional, but can add another level of fun.

2. Homemade Baked Goods

Cookies and other treats are common during the holiday season, but with the variety of recipes and types available, there’s a variety to make.

3. Ready-to-Make Baked Goods

For the people who are not as crafty in the kitchen, getting the ingredients together to make hot chocolate or a baked good will give the gift receiver the opportunity to make their own gift. Putting the ingredients in a decorated jar can show extra time was spent on assembling the gift.

4. Salt Dough Ornaments

These can be fun to make and give to others. It is easy to make the dough, and after baking, the ornaments can be painted and decorated. The style of ornament is up to the creator. Some ideas include handprints, snowflakes and Christmas trees.

5. Canvases

Canvases are inexpensive and can be bought almost anywhere. They are easily painted, and can easily be creative. Canvases can even include favorite quotes or characters.

Each of these gifts would only take an afternoon to make, but they inspire thoughtful gifts for little money. The amount of money spent does not make the gift more or less meaningful. Wardenburg found that these gifts can be more appreciated than something store bought.

“Giving your time is more important than giving a gift,” Wardenburg said.

Any gift given in the holiday season is appreciated and shows the time and effort included in the creation and thought put into the gift.