The average shopper expects to shell out a whopping $983 for holiday gifts in 2017, according to an annual survey conducted by the American Research Group, Inc. If parting with a grand isn’t your preferred method of spreading holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find something for everyone on our list of cheap DIY Christmas presents, whether you’re shopping for coworkers and colleagues or a hard-to-please family member.

Snack Attack

It’s no secret that Americans love snacks, and research confirms that 94% of Americans snack daily. Making your own sweet treats and savory snacks won’t leave you with an empty wallet, even if you use organic or gluten-free ingredients. You can up your gifting game by storing food in a cute container or including kitchen essentials.

Here are several easy DIY gift ideas for the snack lover in your life:

Cookie Mix in a Jar – Grab a large mason jar or a similar translucent jar (old spaghetti jars work well) and fill it with enough ingredients to make one or two batches of cookies. Layer each ingredient separately, starting with flour and sugar and finishing with chocolate chips. Only add dry ingredients; milk, eggs, and butter spoil quickly.

Punch a hole through a notecard with your favorite cookie recipe (make sure you mention missing ingredients!), then string a ribbon through it and tie it around the jar.

Oven Mitt with Baking Essentials – Stuff an oven mitt full of goodies, such as cake mix and a spatula or a box of brownies and a wooden mixing spoon. Wrap a decorative ribbon around the lid to hold everything inside, and top with a shiny bow.

Hot Cocoa in a Mug – Fill a decorative mug with a pack or two of hot cocoa and a marshmallow stir stick. Include a candy cane and a decorative spoon, if desired.

Pringle-Jar Canisters with Popcorn – Chow down on a canister of Pringles and transform the empty canister into a festive container using string and wrapping paper. We recommend the super-simple technique described by Good Housekeeping.

You can fill it with any variety of popcorn, but consider drizzling white chocolate over plain popcorn. Top the coated kernels with finely crushed candy canes.

Bath and Body Bliss

More than half of U.S. workers fail to use all of their vacation time each year, which means many folks are in serious need of some relaxation. If a spa retreat is out of the question, surprise someone special with one of these therapeutic bath and body gifts.

Scented Soak – Combine a scoop or two of epsom salts with a couple drops of essential oil. Make sure it’s an oil that’s safe for external use, such as lavender or eucalyptus, to avoid skin irritation. Add your mixture to a pretty jar, and include a label with ingredients just in case your gift recipient has allergies.

Sugar Scrub – There are tons of different ways to make this simple gift, but they all require brown or white sugar. You can combine the sugar with olive oil, coconut oil, baby oil, or body wash. Don’t forget to add some body-safe essential oil to give your scrub a pleasant scent.

Bath Bombs – Bath bombs are a hit these days, especially with teens and college students. Unfortunately, some commercial bath bombs are full of ingredients associated with urinary tract infections. Lucky for you (and your gift recipient), Wellness Mama has an easy recipe for fizzing bath bombs that don’t contain any dangerous ingredients.

Soothing Lip Balm – Winter weather takes a toll on lips. Help a loved one pamper her pout with some homemade lip balm made from beeswax. The Nerdy Farm Wife has a basic recipe for homemade lip balm, and she even tells you where to find the ingredients.

Kid-Approved Goodies

Kids don’t need electronics or designer clothes to be happy. Encourage creative play by making some of these kid-friendly presents for the little ones on your list.

Homemade Slime – If you have kids, you may have noticed a shortage of glue long after the back-to-school sales ended. That’s because glue is the primary ingredient in most homemade slime recipes, including many of the ones featured on Instructables. You can make slime with common household ingredients, but you may want to buy some glitter or metallic confetti to jazz up your mixture.

Flour Paint – Need to use up some flour? Transform it into paint with help from salt, water, and food coloring. Tinker Lab gives you the rundown on this quick and easy craft.

Soft Dough – Living Well Mom says you can make homemade playdough in less than 10 minutes with flour, cream of tartar, salt, oil, water, and food coloring. Make sure you store your dough in a tightly sealed container so it doesn’t dry out or crack.

Practical Presents

There’s probably at least one person on your shopping list who insists they want practical gifts this year, such as a student loan payment or a gas station gift card. If those gift requests are out of your budget, try one of these suggestions.

Colorful Lanyard – Know someone who loses their keys a lot? The 36th Avenue explains how to make a beautiful key lanyard that doubles as a badge holder. All you need is fabric, a glue gun, a key ring, and scissors.

Decorative Bookmark – Surprise a bookworm with an elegant bookmark crafted from velvet ribbon, clamps, and old earrings or charms. CountryLiving offers a quick tutorial.

Mason Jar Sewing Kit – Momtastic knows how to make the seamstress in your life happy. Just grab a sewing kit from the dollar store or Walmart, place it in a small mason jar, and turn the lid into a pin holder with stuffing and fabric. Easy peasy!


You don’t have to pick up a part-time gig or take out a credit card to pay for holiday shopping this year (unless you want to). Send a subtle reminder that you value presence more than presents when you delight your loved ones with cheap and easy DIY gifts from our handy holiday list.



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