DIY Last Minute Gifts (Without Breaking the Bank)

DIY Last Minute Gifts (Without Breaking the Bank)

It’s that time of year again…
The kids are asking me daily at this point, “How many days until Christmas?” and there’s not enough hours in the day to finish all the tasks on my to-do list as it is.

Yesterday, one of my kids found a favorite bracelet of mine and thoughtfully asked me if they could gift it to their best friend. Now, the bracelet in question isn’t real as far as quality is concerned, and in fact, it’s missing a few stones. It’s junk jewelry. But, nonetheless, it’s a bracelet I wear often and I think it’s still pretty and I wasn’t about to let it be re-gifted, no matter how sweet my kid was about it. And we DO re-gifting in this family, the key being to “re-gift responsibly.”

That being said, this whole conversation about gifting items to their friends is something my kids are feeling very passionate about. They are givers, truly and wholly, and that’s a good thing to be in this day and age.

Now, the easy thing would be to give them each a small budget and let them shop. After all, that’s what we do each year. But unfortunately, this year we don’t have a lot of extra for outside-the-family gifts. So what do we do?


And I’m not talking about the kind of DIY that costs more than going up the street to Hobby Lobby and buying the same item made there.

I’m talking about AFFORDABLE, useful items that will be a blessing and not clutter for your friends.

…and because it’s December 12th, we’re gonna call this the “Last-Minute DIY Gift Idea List– that Won’t Break Your Budget.”

#1 Homemade Playdough
I love this recipe from iheartnaptime. It’s my go-to recipe and we find it smells better, lasts better, and costs less to make than the store bought stuff. We like to color the playdough and then add in whatever kid-friendly essential oils we have in the house. This is usually lavender, peppermint, and theives oil. It’s a great gift for most kids.

#2 Sugar Scrub
I hate store bought smelly stuff. I really do. The artificial scents annoy me at best or they make my asthma kick up. However, there are some great DIY recipes out there for facials and so forth. I like this recipe from One Little Project at a Time. It’s simple and it’s refreshing. We already keep coconut oil and sugar at our house, so the hardest thing is to have a container to store it in.

#3 Recipe Book/Journal
We came up with this on our own. Years ago, before the multitude of kids arrived into our home, I crafted as a hobby. And anytime there was some craft supplies on sale, I bought. That means I have lots of paper things here, although I did cull a lot of things in our last move.

Anyhow, one of the kids’ friends is really into cooking, and so we decided we would print out recipes we liked. each page of the scrapbook has a recipe on one side, and a page with a hand – drawn picture on the other side. Then the last 10 pages, we made a place for the budding chef to keep her own journal on recipes she liked or created for herself. We’re hoping it’s a hit. It took maybe an hour of work, paper, and an album we had that contained exactly 5 pages of previous scrapbooking attempts. I’ve rehomed those pages and now our little friend has a lovely album of her own to enjoy.

#4 Lego Set
No, this isn’t going to the store and purchasing yet another Lego set. But our son, who is turning seven this winter, is planning to create one of his own Lego creations and then, with some help from Mom, we’ll be taking it apart, reverse-engineering, with photos, and creating an instruction manual. Then we’ll bag the pieces up with the instructions and we’ll have made our very own Lego Creation for his friend. Pretty cool, right? And yes, it will require a sacrifice of some Legos. But really? Giving is better than receiving and it’s such a great project- how could I say no?

5: Salt Ornaments.
A nice handmade ornament is a great thing. We love to make salt ornaments here, but instead of having the kids paint them, we let the kids color the ornaments with markers. Making for a perfect addition to anyone’s tree.
You can find many recipes for this online, I like the ones that are salt and flour based.

Other DIY ideas we’ve done over the years:

DIY Bowling Pin Set
Chemistry v. Physics Chess Set
Mug Shelf
Gardening Apron with Handprints
Game Tote
No-Sew Blankets & Scarves
Cookies/Drink Mixes
Movie Night in a Bowl (Dollar Store Finds)
Stationary Set

What ideas do you have for Last Minute DIY Gifts? Do you encourage your kids to do these? Why or why not?

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