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5 DIY Christmas Gifts (That People Will Actually Like!)

I’ll be honest with you: I’ve never been good at giving gifts. Either I wait until the last minute, or I suddenly forget everything I’ve ever known about the person and end up getting something totally not their style. But recently, I’ve been trying something new: instead of spending too much money on stuff that my friends and family don’t really need (and don’t really want . . .), I’ve started making gifts for people! I know for some, homemade = garbage, but if you put in a little effort, you can actually come up with some really awesome and meaningful presents! So, I’ve put together a list of my favourite tried and soon-to-be-tried DIY gifts. Time to get crafting!


1. Photo cubes

What you’ll need:

  • Wooden cube

  • Matte Mod Podge

  • Foam paintbrush

  • 6 cute photos!

  1. Paint one side of the cube with a thin layer of Mod Podge.

  2. Stick a photo to the wet side and paint another layer of Mod Podge over top of the photo. Be sure to cut the photos slightly smaller than the cube itself to allow for a seal to be made between the Mod Podge and the wood. (Don’t worry: it’ll dry clear, so no need to be alarmed by the white streaks over your photo!)

  3. Allow to dry and repeat until the cube is done!

If you are still a fan of the classic picture frame, you can also DIY your own photo collage frame! If you’re not sure where to shop, I was able to find everything I needed at Michaels for under $15. And if you do shop there, be sure to use their online coupons from their website!!


2. Paint-your-own pottery

What you’ll need:

  • A free afternoon

One of my favourite things to do, Christmas season or not, is to paint pottery at Fired Up! right here in town. There’s so much you can do with just a little bit of imagination. You could take some inspiration from your friend’s favourite movie, book, or TV show, or just have fun with their stencils and silkscreens, too!

At Fired Up! you choose a pre-priced item to paint and that’s what you pay, so prices will vary depending on which item you pick. But you can stay as long as you’d like and keep coming back to finish it later if you want to take some more time.

4Cats is another pottery-painting place in Victoria. I personally prefer Fired Up! as they provide the pottery for you (I need all the artistic help I can get), but both are definitely fun experiences.


3. Arm-knitted blanket or scarf ( . . . or blanket scarf?)

What you’ll need:

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who is always cold. Arm knitting is awesome, because it allows you to make super cute and cozy blankets and scarves in under an hour. I like Maggie’s tutorials because they are super informative and easy to follow, and she is definitely an expert on the subject!


4. Writing

What you’ll need:

  • Creativity!

When we think DIY gifts, most of us think of crafts. But there are lots of ways to express your love and creativity! As a creative writing student, my sister has written lots of poems, stories, and collections of memories for people close to her. These really make meaningful presents that show a lot of thought. One of my favourite gifts to give was a choose-your-own-adventure book that I wrote for my sister. Just look at that reaction!


5. Homeless care package

What you’ll need:

  • Ziploc bags (and/or a purse or backpack)

  • Snacks

  • Toiletries

  • Money (or gift cards)

  • Etc.

People already receive a lot of gifts around Christmas, so another idea is to give someone something they can pass on to someone else (or you can even make these for yourself to give out!). Putting together a care package that you or a friend can give to someone in need can be a really simple act that can help someone’s day or week get a little bit better. Here is a helpful list to help guide you through deciding what to put in your package. And remember, this doesn’t have to be something you just do at Christmas—this can be an all-year-round project, too!

So, with a few ideas to get you started, take on the make-it-yourself challenge this Christmas. Let us know what you decide to make!

Abby was born and raised in Victoria and loves it here on the island. She's a fourth-year (!) student studying Political Science and the Human Dimensions of Climate Change. When she's not studying, chances are you can find her playing soccer, biking, or watching The West Wing.
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