Homemade Gifts For Christmas

Feeding baby bird

Here's another holiday season and I encourage you to give homemade gifts for Christmas again this year. With the way the economy has almost everyone hurting for cash these days, a bit of imagination can go a long way towards putting something under the tree for each loved one.

Of course, food items are always good choices, as I suggested last year at this time. See this article for those of you who might have missed it. I always think that consumables are the best way to go since you don’t have to dust those.

Because I went through a Master Gardener class this year, some of my gift suggestions are going to be for out of doors. These are some simple ideas for homemade gifts for Christmas.

1. If you have saved any seeds from your garden, give those to fellow gardeners who would appreciate them. Heirloom plants would be especially good gifts.

2. Cuttings from plants you already have that are being over-wintered inside would also make great gifts for gardeners. Pot them up in small pots filled with a sterile potting medium and wrap a bow around them.

3. A bird feeder is easy to make with four pieces of wood 1” by 2” or thereabouts. Glue or nail them together to make a rectangle or a square, and put a piece of screen across the bottom. Put a nail or screw in the middle of each side and put lengths of chain around each. Attach them together at the top to a C hook and hang it outside. If you want to get really fancy, use old drawer pulls from any drawer past its prime. Then fill the screen with birdseed and your feathered friends will love you. That's definitely one of the most popular homemade gifts for Christmas for the most "people"!

4. You can make a hummingbird feeder out of recycled wine bottles. I salvaged one from a recent party that was a beautiful shade of red, which is the hummer’s favorite color. A clear one would be better, so that you can see when it is empty, but there are so many beautiful colored ones that you just might want to splurge. Then buy a stopper from a bird store like Wild Birds Unlimited and put it at the bottle entrance. Take copper wire and wrap it appealingly around the bottle to hold it with the top bent to go over a hook or tree branch.

5. Make hummingbird food by using one cup of sugar to four cups of water. Boil the water just enough to dissolve the sugar, let it cool, and then put it in the wine bottle with the stopper holding it in. Turn the bottle upside down so that the sugar water will flow out into the stopper. The birds will come to drink out of it and will put on quite a show for you.

Please be sure to only use cane sugar (preferably organic,) as sugar beets are now genetically modified and could cause harm to the little birds (as well as you.) This is one of the most fun homemade gifts for Christmas you can ever give.

6. If you’re handy with wood, consider making birdhouses. You can go online and find plans for different sizes of birds, such as bluebirds. This will greatly help the wild birds when Spring comes around. Just be sure to hinge it so that it can easily be cleaned out at the end of the season. These houses are used during the winter to help birds keep warm by stuffing as many of their little bodies into one of them as possible, so leave them up during the winter. Also, if you have cats, put some kind of barrier up underneath it if it is to be hung from a tree. Your feathered friends will think it's one of the best homemade gifts for Christmas ever!

7. If you can knit or crochet, you might want to make something simple like a scarf to give. There are patterns for one-hour scarves that really are simple and quick to do, and usually only require one skein of yarn. A web site like Ravelry.com has plenty of patterns, many of which are free. Using one of the novelty yarns like chenille makes it go faster to knit or crochet, but I found the stitches difficult to see through all the fuzz, so be forewarned.

8. Quick-to-make dish cloths are great gifts too, especially in holiday colors. If you know the recipient’s kitchen color scheme, make them to match that for use year round. Granny squares are a good choice for one of the most personal homemade gifts for Christmas that you can give.

9. This year for my gifts, I made calendars from pictures I had taken all year long. Every month I took a picture of something that was growing in my front or back yard. The January picture was of a frozen Amicalola Falls when we had the bad ice storm come through for over a week this year. That’s in my back yard (albeit two miles away.) If you keep your eyes peeled, you can find all kinds of representative things for each month. I used a picture of our reindeer that light up on the front bank as the one for December. Hey, it was in my front yard!

I hope that this list will give you some ideas that you can put to use for your own family and friends. Giving gifts from the heart is always the best way to go and usually the most appreciated. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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