DIY gift ideas for the holiday season

Gone are the days of the personal touch. Christmas, a holiday that should bring families together and induce acts of generosity, is often written off as a commercialized holiday, corrupted by capitalist America and “Buy Two, Get One Free!” posters hanging in storefront windows.

This year, make your gifts mean a little more by putting in a little more creativity, and a little less money.

1.Sugar Scrub

For the beauty buff in your life, or anyone suffering from dry winter skin, this scrub is so versatile it is quite literally one size fits all.

2 parts sugar + 1 part oil of your choice (coconut, olive, almond) + a few drops of scented oil (peppermint, lavender)

Mix up the ingredients in a bowl, pour into a jar and finish with a ribbon or bow. This scrub works as a body, foot, hand, lip or face scrub. Word of caution, go gently when exfoliating your face, as this scrub is very grainy.

2. Baked Goods

As much as people tend to complain about their winter weight gain, everyone loves cookies. Giving someone any type of baked good is special because it requires actual work.

Making something out of a box is just as special as going the homemade route. If you are feeling old fashioned, here’s a recipe for sugar cookies from scratch.

3 cups flour + 3/4 tsp. baking powder + 1/4 tsp. salt + 1 cup softened unsalted butter + 1 cup sugar + 1 egg, beaten + 1 tbsp. milk + powdered sugar to roll out the dough

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Mix butter and sugar together either with an electric mixer or by hand until the consistency is cream. Mix in the egg and once combined begin adding the flour mixture in increments. Once mixed, divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and begin rolling out dough on powdered surface, making sure the dough isn't sticking to the surface. Roll out one side at a time to about 1/4 inch.

Use cookie cutters or a butter knife to cut out shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to bake for 7-9 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.

Allow to cool down for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cookie rack to finish cooling down.

Place your baked goods either in a cookie tin, a paper plate, or decorated paper bags to gift.

3. Homemade Cards

Text messages and emails are sent daily. Show your friends and family how much you appreciate them with something they don’t receive everyday: a card.

Don’t take the lazy route and buy a card with a pre-printed message. Either decorate your own card (which is super fun) or buy blank cards. Fill them with a poem, a memory, or just a little note. You can even get creative and include recipes for holiday staples like hot chocolate or sugar cookies.

While this gift may seem cheap or lazy, taking the time to actually write out something special will mean more to your family than you know.

4. Personalized Ornaments

Pulling out the ornaments from the basement or attic and decorating the tree is a tradition everyone loves. Here’s your chance to make someone’s family tradition that much more special.

Simply buy plain ornaments in whatever color and shape you want, and paint them. It’s that simple. Designs can be intricate or simple and, honestly, are extremely hard to screw up. Just plan ahead and make sure the design corresponds with your level of ability.

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