5 Simple Gifts to Make, With or Without Kids

Nearly every year, I like to make a bunch of one kind of gift that I can give to any number of people: relatives, neighbors, friends. It’s always good to have some on hand. I try to keep it something fairly simple so it’s not a stressful process.

Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Hand-Rolled Candles

I just discovered rolled beeswax candles (above) and have only actually made them with the kids at a bazaar. They’re dead easy but so pretty, and the kids loved the process. Instructions here. We did not prime the wicks, as suggested in the link—not sure if ours were pre-primed or what but they burned just fine.

2) Hand-Decorated Cloth Totes:

This is another fun one that’s useful, too. For information on materials, click here.

3) Self-Mixed Loose Teas:

I like to make Rooibos Chai, but over the years I’ve also made up various combinations involving spices, citrus peel, even dried cherries. Get creative with your favorite flavors.

4) Body Balm:

Another good, easy one is Lavender Body Balm. You melt beeswax with some oils and voila!

5) I don’t have a picture of this one, but Spice Rubs are another good gift, especially if the recipient likes to grill. I love Stephen Raichlen’s basic barbecue rub, from his book, How to Grill. Penzey’s is a good place to get the bulk spices.

Cardboard Christmas Trees:

This one’s more a craft than gift but it’s so easy to do with the kids or to make a bunch for table decorations. Make them fancy or plain. You can recycle them and make them again next year, which is one of the things I love best about them. Instructions here.

4 thoughts on “5 Simple Gifts to Make, With or Without Kids

  1. Hey Emily! I love all of these ideas. Where are you getting your supplies here in Deutschland? I miss Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc!

    • Hey Shannon—Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 We have a large craft store here called IDEE (it’s a chain so maybe you have it, too?). But mostly I go to the little neighborhood art store. Don’t know where to get fabric bags here but those are the places I’d look—and I’d look there for candle supplies too—-may be able to order them, I don’t know, but it seems a fairly common craft here so the materials must be available somewhere. For beeswax for body balm: apotheke—had to order it but it came in shortly. For coconut and almond oils: asian/ international food shop. Essential oils: natural food/ beauty store. Tea: bulk tea can be found at grocery stores, galleria kaufhof, and tea shops. Spices: grocery store or we have a stand at the Christmas market. Hope that helps!

  2. You are so clever! I wish I had my grandchildren closer so we could arts and craft together. Hope your precious family has a wonderful Christmas.

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