DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

At a time when unemployment is in the double digits, instead of spending a wad of cash on expensive gifts that don’t always mean quality, put those handy skills to work in the kitchen, on the computer or in the craft room. These homemade presents will add a personalized touch that loved ones will appreciate and enjoy. First, some edible DIY Christmas gift ideas:

Chocolate-dipped Pretzel Rods

These treats make the perfect gourmet Christmas gift for those who find the combo of sweet and salty irresistible. They are easy to make and don’t require an oven or a long list of baking tools. To start, have on hand a bag of pretzel rods, dipping chocolate pieces, wax paper and a choice of holiday sprinkles.

  1. To prepare, spread out wax paper on a cookie sheet.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a microwavable cup that has a height a little shorter than the length of a pretzel rod.
  3. Dip the pretzel in the cup to cover about three-fourths, take it out and decorate with sprinkles, and then set it down on the wax paper.
  4. After the chocolate on the pretzels harden, place about 12 rods into a clear cellophane bag and tie it with a fancy ribbon.

Homemade Truffles

Fancy and impressive, these homemade edible gifts are sure to impress anyone who receives them. They are also easy to make and don’t require an oven. Follow the recipe on Food Network, which yields about 30 to 35 truffles. Packaging can make the most inexpensive gift look costly, so choose it well. is a family-owned site that sells gold foil and white paper truffle cups in a pack of 100 for $2.59. To finish, find a small box, place the truffles and wrap with cellophane and ribbon.

Crafty DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

  • Fancy Card: Instead of giving people chocolate or candy this Christmas, give them heartfelt words to chew on. For a homemade card, get some paper stock and personalize with scrap book paper, felt, ribbons, gems, rhinestones, buttons, leaves and/or cotton. Some ideas to put on the cover include: baby Jesus, a manger, Santa, a reindeer, a snowflake, a snowman, stars, a Christmas tree, ornaments, a present, an angel, a mistletoe branch, a poinsettia plant or a reef.
  • No-sew tote bag: No thread or needle is required for this clever do-it-yourself no-sew tote bag. (Follow the steps at the Martha Stewart Web site.) Materials and tools needed for this project is a pencil or fabric marker, a yard of sturdy fabric, iron-on vinyl, two yards of one-inch webbing for straps, a stapler and duct tape.

Techie DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

  • Create a music mix CD: Compile a list of favorite songs and burn them onto a CD. Customize it further by designing a CD label and insert for the jewel case.
  • Create a slideshow of memories: Gather favorite pictures taken with the person who is about to receive this gift and create a slideshow with music playing in the background. This is one of those priceless gifts that friends and family will cherish and always remember.

Avoid driving to crowed malls and department stores this season and get those creative juices flowing. These DIY gifts not only save money during a cash-strapped holiday season, but they also make valuable gifts that can’t be measured with a price tag.