Homemade Gift Series: Wrap-Up (Both Literally and Otherwise)

Throughout the fall, I ran a series of posts on homemade gifts with enough lead time so that interested parties could make some of the gifts on their own if they so chose. I wanted to top off the series by listing all of the items in the series, showing off the small mountain of stuff we made, and providing some pictures of some of the ways in which we packaged items.

Here are the homemade gift items we covered in the series:
Vanilla extract
Homemade soap
Caramel apple jam
Homemade beer
Wine jelly
Meals in a jar
Crocheted hat and scarf
Personalized cards and stationery
Handmade ornaments
Homemade cookies and gift bundling
Photo cubes

Everything

That’s our collection of completed gifts. A few of them (some of the beer and a few of the jars) had already been given as gifts when we took this picture.

As you can see, we made quite a bit of everything. The handmade greeting cards are the one thing that’s not very visible here – they’re in the white boxes near the back of the picture, with white ribbon (which I’ll show again below).

Beer and ornaments
Beer and some jars

As you can see, we made custom labels for the beer, depicting me with a Santa hat drinking a pint. We entitled the beer “Nit Wit,” mostly as a self-deprecating joke but also because the type of beer we made is a witbier.

Since we were reconstituting six pack boxes for this, we simply took extra Nit Wit labels and affixed them to the side of the carriers.

Also, something worth noting with the homemade ornaments: we’re using a ribbon to attach them to some of the jam, jelly, soup, and brownie mix jars that we’re giving as gifts.

Vanilla and mailing
Soup and vanilla

We found some food-safe jars for the vanilla from an old friend who had extra jars from a food laboratory that were never going to get used. They hold eight ounces of liquid with screw tops.

For them, we made up labels entitled “Super Joe’s Super Homemade Vanilla Extract” (referring to our oldest son’s superhero alter ego).

A few of our gifts are traveling through the mail. For those, we’re packing up the soup in Ziploc bags so that they’ll ship easily.

Handmade cards
Cards

For the greeting cards, we wrapped each bundle (we made two bundles of 38 cards each) in tissue paper as you can see above, then sealed each bundle with a small snowflake sticker.

We then put these bundles into small garment boxes, closed the boxes, and wrapped some red ribbon around them, creating an understated look.

This was actually my favorite packaging of all of the gifts we made.

Soap
Soap

As we had a wide variety of soap sizes (including some “ball” soaps, which are something of a part of soapmaking tradition), we packaged them in different ways, as you can see above. Three soap balls make a cute little snowman!

Around each soap bundle, we wrapped a small piece of paper entitled “Princess Katie’s Handmade Castille Soap” (after our daughter).

We actually ended up with a lot of these, so there are many people who are getting two or even three bars of this soap as a gift.

Final thoughts
My wife, Sarah, deserves a lot of credit for helping all of these gifts reach completion. Some of the gifts were largely her project (like the scarves). Others were almost entirely my project (like the greeting cards). Others required both of our efforts (like the jams and jellies).

In any case, these gifts were made as a team, and without working together, we would have never been able to complete so many gifts.

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21 thoughts on “Homemade Gift Series: Wrap-Up (Both Literally and Otherwise)

  1. Stacey says:

    Thanks for the great ideas. I did the wine jelly, and it was a big hit. Merry Christmas!

  2. Jessica says:

    Very nice! I love that you assembled everything and took a photo. I hope to do that next year!

  3. Angie says:

    I would love to know a per person cost to the presents… and then a comparison to the “average” amount spent by folks each year. You’re usually so good about the numbers!

  4. 2million says:

    Im so impressed you can make all these with kids. They look really awesome.

  5. Bob says:

    My wife and I made the homemade soap. It came out wonderful and was a big hit. We also made homemade ornaments however we purchased clear glass ornaments and printed out photos of the recipients or their pets and hung them inside the ornaments and painted different glitter designs on the outside and they came out great. Thank you very much for the great gift ideas I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas.

  6. Kelly says:

    Those look really great Trent! I’d love to be the recipient of your handiwork!

  7. chuck says:

    Your picture on the beer shows how successful your weight loss has been. Congratulations!

  8. Adam P says:

    Very nice gifts! Good job!

  9. Tricia says:

    I love your presentation! It really makes your gifts shine. I’d be happy to receive any of these!

  10. Kate E. says:

    This has been one of my favorite series that you have done on the blog. Thank you!! Merry Christmas!

  11. Evita says:

    Wow! I am so impressed! I love the “country boutique” packaging! you’ll have many happy recipients for sure!

  12. Jamie says:

    I absolutely loved this series. It not only gave me ideas (year-round gift ideas, too!), but it totally got me in the holiday spirit. To me, these sorts of projects done with the younger generations is a huge part of the season.

    Happy Holidays, Trent and fellow readers!

  13. Meg says:

    Wow! You did awesome! I like that you walk the walk when you talk the talk! Great job! I am looking forward to trying some of these homemade gifts next year! And yes…I’m already planning for next year’s Christmas. I’ve strated cross-stitching already for gifts!

  14. spaces says:

    This was a great series! Inspired by the wine jelly, we wound up making red and white wine jellies, and followed our own taste to include a Thai inspired lime-ginger marmalade w/red pepper flakes (it came out green with red flakes). And also homemade crackers to accompany. I think they will be hits!

  15. rosa rugosa says:

    This was a great series. There was so much substance here. I’ve seen so many uninspired lists of frugal gifts that this series was indeed a treat!

  16. kristine says:

    Great series! And the labels were done well. Happy holidays. The wine jelly is the one I want to try-got a hug new box of unused Mason jars and lids for $2 bucks last week at a moving sale!

    I am also thinking about using old cooking oil for the soap. I can get some from our local Dunky D, and my son would be thrilled if he got a soap that smelled even vaguely like donuts!

  17. beth says:

    handmade from the heart is the best!
    i like the way you folded the tissue paper around the greeting cards with what looks like you were using some diaper folding skills:)
    Merry Christmas

  18. Victoria says:

    Thanks — inspired by your post on them, I made some greeting cards with my own photographs, and am very happy how they turned out. Hopefully my recipients will be as pleased as yours are likely to be!

  19. Elderly librarian says:

    Very creative gifts! I have a relative who has a huge model train display that fills his entire garage. This year he made a gift calendar with pictures of the trains and created a “story” to go along with the entire reconstruction. He has also used the names of his children to label the “towns” in his set up. It is really clever, like your own gifts.

  20. socalgal says:

    Really inspiring! All the gifts look wonderful. Merry Christmas to you & yours.

  21. Vickie says:

    I really enjoyed this series. Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

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