Anti-Black Friday DIY gift inspiration for da Homies

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Photo by Angie Tabaczynski.

It’s Black Friday, y’all! And as much as we love (and SO encourage) consumerism, we at Offbeat Home thought we’d put together a little DIY gift roundup from the annals of our archives. You can either brave the throng of bargain shoppers today, or you can save your precious toes from being stomped on by tackling any of these DIY gift projects…

Gingerdead Men Cookie CutterMake cookies for the masses! Use Ariel’s idea of making skeletal gingerbread man cookies.

ThankYou CD CookiesIf you make traditional round cookies for everyone on your list, you can use Liz’s idea of CD wrappers as alternative cookie packaging. Head over here to find out how.

green peppercorn vodkaMy favorite DIY gift idea came from Cat who taught us all how to infuse vodka with different flavors to make individual, thoughtful, boozy, holiday gifts.

Finished sleeve, tied with ribbonYou could even DIY a fancy bottle cozy for your hand-infused vodka gifts by using this tutorial for wine (or vodka, or beer, or whatever) sleeves.

For those who want a sweet treat, but don’t want to get buzzed, you can make contest-worthy apple cider caramel candies for your loved ones.

What about taking my idea of a road trip care package and making individual care packages for your friends and family?

You could even DIY the wrapping with custom photo paper a la Anna Kim’s awesome gifts, or make a gift bag out of old maps, newspaper, calendars, magazine pages, wrapping paper, etc., with this awesome tutorial.

Okay, fess up non-shoppers, what are YOUR go-to DIY gift ideas?

Comments on Anti-Black Friday DIY gift inspiration for da Homies

  1. My current favorite is canned preserves; we recently bought a house with pear trees, so I picked allll the fruit when it was ripe and packed it into the freezer. While that part (peeling/quartering/spritzing with lemon juice/dusting with sugar) was time intensive, making gifts is now as easy as defrosting a bag, picking a syrup (usually boozy), packing up some jars and boiling them to set the seal. I love DIY gifts because people usually work with what they have, and everyone has something different.

    Also, I just saw instructions in the latest Food & Wine magazine for dehydrating fresh fruits and spices (in a regular oven!) to make DIY mulled wine spice bags. I sense a new project on the horizon!

  2. My Dad is impossible to buy presents for, so I’ve usually stuck with baking something like brownies or a batch of cookies, which he loves. One year I even made his birthday cake (December 21).

    Otherwise, I’ve just taken up knitting, and I’m really excited to try making a scarf for my mom and a beanie for my boyfriend. Those gifts may be a little late, though!

    • I too have a dad with a birthday just before Christmas and have sometimes made the cake. 🙂 I’ve also made him homemade dark chocolate turtles.

  3. I love making soaps for people. I don’t make them from scratch, but you can go to a craft store and pick up glycerin, dyes, scents, and molds. Then you melt the glycerin and customize the soaps. Super cute and super useful.

  4. I’m big on the homemade goodies. I like to make some of the more complicated things that people might not make for themselves — truffles, Nanaimo bars, and so on. Last year, I decided to DIY the boxes for the truffles, which was a bad idea, since they were a freaking pain. This year, I’ve been thrifting Christmas cookie tins in preparation, so I should be good to go! In the same line, one of my aunts makes chocolate croissants every year, and they’re definitely one of the most coveted gifts to receive. The great thing about giving foodstuffs is that pretty much everyone can use them (just watch out for dietary restrictions!), and they won’t clutter up people’s spaces!

  5. I’m doing a huge knitting binge for gifts this year. I bought the yarn at a neighborhood store, and even went as far to choose yarns made in the USA. So I feel pretty good about where my money went, AND it’s a handmade gift.

  6. My friend just had a baby, so I’ll be making a little baby quilt. I also might make one for my sister, since she just left for college and could use something cozy.

  7. I do DIY or “Nothing new” Christmas giving every year, since highschool, since I have ten people in my family and buying for everyone has never been an option- so here is a list!
    1)The cookie tin! Its one thing to get some cookies for the holidays, its another when you buy a holiday tin for 25 cents (or so) at your thrift shop,line it with wax paper fill it with cookies, one mini loaf (great space filler) and assorted tea bags. I also chuck a cheap candy cane or two in there if need be. These tins have actually become requested by friends and family

    2)Hot Chocolate mix or muffin mix mason jar- (recipes here

    3)Photos in fancy photo frames, your photo, and a DIY frame (tutorial here: I like to throw on a poem or something as well for those who are into that sort of thing

    4) Green cleaning kit- look up green cleaning recipes for homemade laundry soap, all purpose cleaner, furniture polish etc and put them into cute jars and bottles in a basket. Stick a bow on it.

    5) Whatever gift I received last year that I still haven’t used. That’s right, regifting IS DIY 🙂

    6)The read along book- a book I have loved, read, and no longer need. I fill the book with notes about sections I loved (on sticky notes on appropriate pages)with commentary I think they will enjoy. So when the gift receiver is reading, its like we are reading together. This works especially well for long distance relationships or friends far away. An example- I gave away a cookbook that no longer “does it” for me, but that had a few recipes I love to a couple who just got married. I added notes to the pages with the recipes I loved with suggestions on how to improve or tweak the recipe and something funny about being in a relationship.

  8. I made this as a wedding card for some friends last year:

    That’s double happiness, the double-character for marriage.

    …and am making something similar (different characters – 福,春,壽 for prosperity, springtime or long life) for relatives and friends this year. They’re flat pieces, not cards, and will be framed in a multi-photo matte with some other photos of sentimental value to the receiver.

  9. This year I’m making homemade peppermint hot chocolate for the gifts I have to send away and the local peeps are getting salted caramel BACON popcorn!!! Just finished all the HC’s last night and will be making some pretty labels for them tonight. Popcorn will have to be done closer to Christmas but I am so pumpt to try the recipe. UM? Bacon caramel popcorn?!?!?!

    “I don’t like bacon at all” -Said no one evar!

  10. I like to give people little satchels or containers of boiling spice. Just some sticks of cinnamon, a peeled knob of ginger, slices of lime, whole cloves, a bay leaf or two and presto! There’s no actual hard recipe for it. Plus it can also be used to make spiced wine or spiced cider.

    So that and some cookies in cute containers and its the perfect bulk gift to give to bosses, coworkers, in-laws, and couples or families you’re friends with.

  11. I froze two gallons of the basil I grew this last year, for the holidays I am making pints of basil/almond pesto with toasted pine nuts on top, I am also making my mom a bunch of frozen soups and sauces that come in vegetarian for her and meaty for my step dad since she just retired and he works seasonally and doesn’t bring a lot of money in during the winter.
    I have tons of random things in my freezer and pantry to work with so I am making minestrone soups with different meats, potato corn chowder (with ham for him…I used some huge bags of uncooked french fries and tater tots someone gave me). I am making a cheese sauce and a broccoli cheddar soup and sweet potato and lentil soup and vegetarian split pea soup and a batch of white bean soup, all with bulk stuff I have stocked up.
    I will also make her a bunch of my breakfast protein muffins which is a cake mix, 3 cups of oatmeal, 2 cups of milk, 3 eggs, 12-14 oz of pureed fruit, apple sauce, pumpkin, banana even peaches work and 2 heaping scoops of protein powder bake like cupcakes and freeze in snack bags

    • I am also making mints with some powdered sugar left over from a wedding and cream cheese with mint extract.
      For a friend of ours who doesn’t have local family I am making up a goodie tray with cinnamon rolls, fudge and cookies and for the people in my family with small kids I am making salt dough ornament making kits, I got a bunch of 6 piece Christmas cookie cutters at the dollar store and little pretty 6 oz juice cups so I will premix the salt and flour so that all they and the kids have to do is use the glass to measure water into it, I am including pipe cleaners, googly eyes and glitter glue from the dollar store to decorate them with

  12. I picked 25lbs of apples in October and made and canned apple butter two weeks ago. I also made pickles. I chose these two b/c they are low-fat and low-sugar (none added to either). So everyone in my life like co-workers, aunts, grandmas, boyfriend’s mom, etc. will be getting a gift bag with these homemade treats.

    Food gifts mean no more “stuff” in the house (Sorry but I hate getting decorative “things” b/c then it adds to the clutter). I also will make labels that ask people to return the jars to me for a refill, so no waste!

    For people like my parents, sister, boyfriend I am buying experiences for us to do together like tickets or classes. I am not buying any stuff from major retailers.

  13. the flavour infused vodkas is somethign i do all year round, infact i have a gorgeous lime flaour one that im drinking at the moment, and a a cherry one and a melon one which should both be ready for christmas. i also have a special ‘christmas flavour’ vodka which i need to start soon which i made last year and definitly went down well…. its so easy to do and really fun.

  14. My family has been doing homemade gifts for the past decade instead of buying since we finally agreed we have enough stuff. There’s a lot of food gifts given, but we’ve also had these things: calendars made from travel photos (lots of ways to do this online), decorated candles, neck warmer pillows (filled w/buckwheat & rice), crocheted blankets, wine given in decorated cloth bags, drawer sachets (filled w/homemade potpourri), personalized bookmarks, make-a-recipe kits (like soup or cookies where you get the dry ingredients & just have to buy & add the wet ingredients), knitted scarves, reusable grocery shopping bags, decorated cloth napkins, & more I can’t remember!

    I’m always on the lookout for new ideas…

  15. I like to give homemade gifts to my extended family and a few friends. I love giving gifts, so this is a budget-friendly, earth-friendly, and fun way to do it. I can often even patronize local businesses for the supplies!

    Last year I made those cider caramels above and also soup mixes in a jar.

    This year I’m sewing headbands and weaving “survival bracelets” for the teens in my life. I’m a little undecided for the “grown-ups” gift. Lotion bars? Salt or seasoning blends? I’ll keep watching the comments for others’ ideas!

    My sister has a bread machine (and is on a tight budget) so I’ve suggested that her gift to me be a bunch of homemade breads for me to freeze. I’d love that from anyone! She’s going to make pounded-washer necklaces and keychains for our teenage cousins.

    I have a Pinterest board devoted to gifts and wrappings, most of it DIY:

  16. Yes, I am doing some major DIY this year for some folks. I’m making fudge, spiced almonds, and pretzel-peanut butter-chocolate sandwich thingies. I was also thinking of making some homemade flavoured peanut butter, too.

  17. Each year I scrapbook a few years of family photos for my parents. They look forward to this so much, it’s become a big thing to open their gift and get teary-eyed and laugh over the memories with the whole family. I limit it to 2 to three years per Christmas to stretch it out a bit, and add to the same books until they fill up. Up to now, we’re on the 4th book, and all of them will be hauled out come Christmas Eve no doubt. To keep it cheap, I save cards given to me, and other bits and pieces I can cannibalize rather than buying supplies. For friends this year, I’m doing baked goods (for the guys) and scarves (for the girls). You can never go wrong with home-made heath bar cookies! Also, candied nuts ALWAYS goes over well, just mix equal parts sugar and egg, add cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg to taste (I usually add a pinch of allspice too) coat the nuts and bake on low flipping every 20 minutes or so.

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