Homemade and DIY Gift Ideas

Handmade gifts are great—and inexpensive—ways to show people you care. And this holiday season, we have just the ideas you need to let out your inner creativity. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Food Gifts

Nothing says loving like something in the oven, goes the old saying, and we couldn’t agree more. From cookies and cakes, to candy and chocolate, you’re sure to make someone’s holiday bright and tasty with the gift of treats.

Get Crafty

Crafts make for some of the best—and unexpectedly useful—gifts imaginable. Here are some simple, inexpensive ideas for you to choose from.

For the foodie in your life: Take an old wine bottle, paint it with non-toxic paint, fill it with olive oil and, presto, you have a lovely and useful gift. Not much of a painter? Don’t worry. You don’t need to create anything elaborate. A simple flower or nice design is all you need to let someone know you care.

Handy with a needle and thread? Then we’ve got just the idea for you. Get some cloth napkins and add a monogram to each one with cross-stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, or embellish with buttons, appliques, or stencils.

Live wreaths also make great gifts, and are easy to make. All you need is some evergreen boughs, assorted greenery and wire. In just a few hours you’ll have several wreaths.

You could also go with this holiday classic: The gift basket. Just get a nice basket, some ribbon and fill the basket with an assortment of whatever you think the recipient would like. Popular items include bundle handmade soaps and herbal cachets, potpourri, jellies, organic candies and treats.

Top 10 gifts the woman in your life will love

For guys, figuring out what women want is a lifelong process. Trying to decipher what they might want as a holiday gift is harder than trying to decipher an ancient language. Whereas guys want “stuff,” women often are happier with gifts that are event- or experience-based. Here are 10 gift ideas for the woman in your life. And if none of these gift ideas work, don’t blame us!

Adopt a pet (after careful consideration) – If the woman in your life is a pet lover and has been nagging you about adopting a furry friend, why not make this the year you finally give in? Go to a local shelter and save an animal’s life. Having a pet is an enriching experience and frankly doesn’t add that much more responsibility to your life. But do not adopt in haste; only if you’ve previously discussed that a pet is in the cards.

Plane tickets – Ooooh, ooooh. There’s no better gift than plane tickets to an exotic destination. Actually, an ordinary destination will do, but the idea of getting away from it all is really appealing to women and makes a great holiday gift.

Jewels/jewelry – Ah yes, diamonds are a girl’s best friend, aren’t they?! Well, you’ll come out looking like the hero if you get the lady in your life some nice jewelry. A necklace or bracelet would be great. You’ll be getting the bare minimum if you opt for earrings … unless you get really nice earrings.

A huge diamond – Hey big spender. You want to make her month? How about her year? A really ginormous diamond will send the message loud and clear: “I’m willing to spend a LOT of money on you!”

Massage/spa day – Now this is a great gift to get the woman in your life; especially if she loves to be pampered. Plus you’ll be getting her out of your hair for the day, which means you can watch as much UFC and drink as much beer as you like and not have to hear about it.

Weekend getaway – If you want to come off like a knight in shining armor, plan a getaway weekend for you and your woman. Plan on hitting at least one upscale restaurant and lots of shopping. Bring your iPad or iPod to keep yourself amused while she’s off buying stuff.

Wine tour – Reserve a spot for two at a local winery and participate in a wine tasting. Bonus points if you can find a nearby location to have a romantic dinner after the tour.

Bath or Spa Set – Pampering is in! And you’ll be in her good graces if you gift her a basket full of bath and body goods. Handpick them yourself, but make sure you go for some good stuff so she can bathe in luxury!

Merry Maids gift certificate – If you think women really enjoy cleaning, think again. OK, maybe those who are obsessive-compulsive get some satisfaction out of it. But a gift certificate to a maid service? Now you’re talking!

Endless shopping day – Take the woman in your life on a day-long shopping spree including lunch at a half-decent eatery. You may have to reach deep into the wallet on this one, but it makes for a great holiday gift just the same.

Children’s gift ideas: What the kids want for Christmas this year

Kids love Christmas. And they love getting gifts! And while going out Christmas shopping for your children can be a chore (it’s really best if you do your shopping online) somewhere deep down inside, most parents relish picking out the perfect gifts for their little loved ones. Here are some great gift ideas for the kids starting with the wee ones and all the way through the tween years.

For the just born through the first two years, it’s hard to go wrong with Baby Einstein products. While there is some controversy over whether or not watching television has a negative impact on infants, Baby Einstein also makes a variety of tools that encourage exploration and learning.

For the pre-schoolers, Magna-tiles are an educational toy that stimulate the mind and help kids explore and discover. They’re good for kids as young as three and up to age nine. LeapPad is also suitable for the same age range and is a learning tablet designed just for kids. Just be warned, once kids pick up the LeapPad, they may not want to put it down.

Legos have stood the test of time and continue to fascinate kids of all ages, including adults who never really grew up! Legos have also become increasingly sophisticated and cool toys. Kids just cannot seem to get enough of Legos and if you want to see your child’s face light up on Christmas morning, give them some Legos!

Video games rank high on many kids’ wishlist. There are age-appropriate games for all sorts of age ranges and across a variety of platforms including Wii, Xbox and Playstation. Then there are the portable Nintendo DS and 3DS. Hopefully your family already has at least one of these gaming systems, so all you’ll need to do is pick up the latest game(s) this holiday season.

If your kids are fashionistas (and some of them are), getting new clothes for the holidays can be a make-or-break proposition. Get them something too functional and they’re likely to get bummed out. But get the hip brand that all the other cool kids have and they’ll go nuts. Next time you go out shopping with the kids, let them wander around their department and they’ll give you plenty of ideas on what things they think are awesome!

Musical instruments can always be a great gift around the holidays, especially if a child seems pretty committed to pursuing music or is ready for an instrument upgrade.

Lastly, if your child is in the tween years or beyond, chances are they’ll want, er, NEED the latest and greatest mobile phone to keep in touch with all their friends.

If you don’t have kids, but instead have furry friends, some new Nylabones for the dogs or some catnip for the kitties would likely be well received.