Have a Very, Merry Do-It-Yourself Christmas!

Have you been searching the mall top-to-bottom and still don’t know what to get your friends, family or partner?  Then try making something yourself!  Do some online “window” shopping to get some ideas.  Hunt through every nook and cranny of Pinterest.  You can even try Google, ‘cause this Christmas you’re going DIY!

To get your creative juices flowing, I’ve compiled a short list of DIY gift ideas that are inexpensive and relatively easy to make.

1)    Personalized Jewelry:  There’s a nice little shop in the Byward Market called The Sassy Bead Co.  This place is crawling with beads—more shapes, sizes and colours than you could ever imagine!  Take an hour or two to just walk around, feel the beads in your hands and get creative.  Their staff is very friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand in design and especially tying knots!  Make sure to pick up one of their necklace trays so you can carry and design your necklace as you walk around the store.  This might be the most pricey DIY as the price is based on which beads and other material you use to create your personalized jewelry, but it’s a great gift idea for your friend or even for your mother, if she isn’t as picky as mine!

2)    Catch-All Mason Jar:  Are your friends’ dorms or apartments always messy?  Then maybe you can give them a little help this Christmas by making them a catch-all—a nice little jar that they can toss their change, keys, pens or anything else into.  For this quick DIY, you can pick up all your supplies from the local dollar store.  All you need is a jar of any size, decorative paper, ribbon or anything else you’d like to decorate the jar with.  Once you’re home, go nuts!  Take out all your supplies and go for it—there is no wrong way to decorate a jar.

3)    Scrapbook-Style Photo Album: Nothing says “I love you” or “Thank you” than a photo album filled with photos of you and your parents.  Photocopy and print off all of your favourite photos, go pick out a small refillable photo album and scrapbooking material at any dollar store or craft store and let the memories lead you.  You can even add nice little messages on the pages—they can be hopes, dreams, thank you’s or even random thoughts.  The best part about this gift is that if you get an adjustable photo album, you can keep adding more and more pages over the years.  It’s the gift that just keeps on giving!

4)    Homemade Lip Balm: Grab those empty lip balm tubes and pots, gather them around and follow this nice recipe to make your own lip-smacking balms. It’s the perfect gift to give out since the cold, and dry winter weather affects everyone’s lips.  It’s great for friends and that special someone you’d like to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas.

5)    Handmade Stuffy:  There are so many sewing tutorials online, it’s crazy!  If your friend is obsessed with a certain movie or book character or if they love pizza or some other kind of delicious food then make it with felt!  Go to your nearest craft or dollar store pick up some of that nice colourful felt and get going ‘cause you’ll be known as the snazziest DIY Christmas gift-giver ever!

6) Baked Goods: When in doubt, BAKE.  Take out your mother’s recipe book or scour the web for baked, and even no-bake, deliciousness.  www.allrecipes.com is a great source for recipes.  If you think your cookies or other goodies look to plain, remember: cookie cutters and decorations go a long way!  Don’t forget to wrap them up in parchment paper before putting them in the tin or gift box.