Holiday DIY Gifts for Family, Friends, and Colleagues

Need a last minute gift for a cousin you completely forgot about? A colleague who left a little something on your desk and now you feel super guilty you didn’t return the favor? Do you just want to stun your girlfriends with some homemade gifts?

This is the post for you! These DIY gifts are super easy to make and can be put together within a few minutes. I had a blast making them and know you will too. You’re welcome, Mamas!

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I have an obsession with mason jars. I love to drink out them, use them as vases, get crafty with them, etc. I couldn’t think of a better homemade gift than a creative mason jar idea! For this year’s Christmas, I put together these adorable cocoa and marshmallow mixes, complete with mini Bailey’s bottles. I figured everyone likes a nice cup of cocoa, and Bailey’s, well… those definitely won’t go to waste!

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For 6 mason jars (here) or 12 mini mason jars (here), all you need is:

3 bags small marshmallows

3 boxes Swiss Miss (10 packets each)

6 Bailey’s nips

thick printing paper (for the labels)

twine (to tie the bottles to the mason jars)

Empty 4-5 hot chocolate packets at the bottom of each mason jar, add the marshmallows, then seal the jar. Poke a hole through your label (I like to print each name in a nice font, then cut it out!) With the twine, make a knot around the neck of the Baileys bottle, feed the label through, and tie them both to the jar. The result is super cute!

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These lip balms are amazing, you guys. They’re only three ingredients, take about five minutes to make, and honestly work like a charm! I made a test batch and they’re super moisturizing and smell delicious. I love that you can personalize the scents with essential oils, based on preference. I went with peppermint and lavender, but you can use orange, lemon, eucalyptus, and the list goes on!

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All you’ll need is:

 5 tablespoons coconut oil

3 tablespoons beeswax (you can get some here)

12 drops essential oils (of choice)

You can use metal tins or actual chapstick containers. I got mine from here.

Just melt the beeswax and coconut oil in a pot, then add the drops. The mix will take some time to solidify, so just be patient and try not to move the containers if you want a nice smooth finish. Voila!

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For some reason, I always thought candles would be a challenging craft to tackle. I couldn’t have been more wrong! They’re not only super easy, but make great gifts, too.

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All you’ll need is:

A glass container/mason jar (I got mine from here)

Soy candle wax (enough flakes to fill your container – I got mine here )

12-15 drops essential oils

Small candlewick (I got a set here)

Fill your container with just enough soy wax flakes, melt them in the microwave (keep filling the container as the flakes start to melt), add essential oil drops to the wax while it’s still hot, then set the candle wick in the middle of the candle until it sets. I used two chopsticks to make sure it stayed centered and didn’t budge.

I like to add orange slices, coffee beans, rosemary, or lavender to my candles. Get creative with it! The add-ons look great when the wax solidifies. And don’t worry about them floating at the surface… they eventually sink to the bottom when the wax sets.

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Everyone likes a nice scrub once in a while. When I used to live in the Caribbean, my mom and I used to always sit by the edge of the ocean and use wet sand as a body scrub on our elbows and knees.  Unfortunately, this isn’t something I can do in New York, but who knew body scrubs were so easy to make at home? I love this coffee/brown sugar scrub recipe!

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All you’ll need is:

Mini Mason Jars (I got mine here)

1 cup ground coffee

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut or almond oil

10 drops orange or peppermint essential oil (optional)

That’s it! Just store the scrub in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

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Those are my last minute DIY gifts! You have a full day to gather your supplies – go, go, go! And don’t forget to let me know if you try any of these and love them as much as I do 🙂

Note: If you’re interested in stocking up on mason jars, tin containers, and other craft supplies, my two favorite websites/shops for DIY projects are Nakpunar Craft & Party Supplies (they have everything craft-related!) and Smith’s Mason Jars (they have the cutest mini mason jars and soap dispensers!)

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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