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5 Nostalgic Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

Updated November 8, 2018
Hand-made holiday cards
No matter who's on your list this year, make this a Christmas to remember when you give them something that can't be bought.

When we’re little kids, the presents are the most exciting part of Christmas. And as we get a little older, we still love the presents part—but now we enjoy giving the gifts almost as much as we enjoy receiving them.

Maybe you have a few handmade items your grandma gave you when you were a kid, and that are among your most cherished possessions. And now that you’re an adult, you get to pass on that feeling with handmade gifts of your own. There’s just something so heartwarming about putting your time and talents into a present and giving it to someone to show how much you care. Sure, homemade gifts might take a little more time to make, and they might not always look perfect, but when a gift is made by hand just for you, that makes you love it even more.

1. Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Ornaments

Scented Cinnamon Ornaments

Even young kids can help with this one! These fragrant Scented Cinnamon Ornaments are made with loads of real cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, so they don’t just look cute—they also help make your house smell like Christmas. And if you pack them away carefully, you can enjoy them year after year.

This gift is also easy to customize—you’re limited only by the cookie cutters you can find. We used hearts, stars and circles, but you could also use family members’ initials, or holiday shapes like Christmas trees or gingerbread men. If you want to make them look even more festive, you can decorate them with puff paint (AFTER the ornaments have dried for a few days).

2. Family Recipe Binder

Homemade Recipe Binder

Help pass on family traditions to new generations with a homemade recipe binder. Buy a few dozen plastic sheet protectors and fill most of them with your family’s favorite recipes, leaving the rest empty so the recipient can add new recipes they try and love. If one member of your family has all of grandma’s handwritten recipes, this is a great opportunity to make high-quality digital copies you can share while preserving the originals. To make this gift even more special, get a binder with a clear cover sheet sleeve and fill it with a collage of family photos.

Here are a few of Pillsbury’s favorite recipes to get you started. Remember to click on the print icon by the recipe name to get a version that’s formatted specifically for printing.

3. Tin of Homemade Treats

Holiday Cookies

A certain Doughboy we know says it often, and we have to agree: Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven! Show how much you care with a gift they’re sure to remember for years to come. Make a selection of homemade Christmas cookies and candy, and package into pretty holiday tins to give anyone you want to show a little extra appreciation this year. In addition to friends and family, DIY treat tins make wonderful gifts for mail carriers, teachers, school crossing guards, scout troop leaders, neighbors, or anyone else who has made a difference to you and your family this year. Here are some of our favorite homemade treats to get you started!

4. Hot Cocoa Kits

Chocolate Spoons

Make an all-in-one hot cocoa kit! (After all, who doesn’t want a little extra coziness this time of year?) Pick out a fun holiday or monogrammed mug and fill it with cocoa essentials liked these dipped chocolate spoons and packets of different flavors of hot chocolate mix. No matter who’s on your Christmas list, they’ll think of you every time they sip hot cocoa or coffee from their new mug—this year and beyond.

5. Homemade Christmas Cards

Hand-made holiday cards

Tucked away with all your Christmas decorations, you probably have a stack of cards you’ve received from loved ones over the years. There’s already something so special about receiving a card in the mail; this Christmas, go beyond sending store-bought cards to the people on your mailing list, and send a keepsake made by you and your family. Whether you go with construction paper cards your kids have cut out with safety scissors, or a nice cardstock with metallic paint pens for a more grown-up look, everyone you send a card to will know it was made with love.

Tip: Write the year on the back of your DIY cards to make them even more memorable for the people who save them. Imagine how much grandparents will love looking back on years’ worth of homemade cards from your kids!