8 Sustainable DIY Gifts You Can Give During the Holidays

Aroma Potpourri With Different Spices On Wooden Table, Flat Lay

Photo©Olga Yastremska/123rf

As the holiday season approaches and you discover your gift list getting too long, sometimes the best thing to do might be to look into DIY gifts. DIY gifts can help you cut costs, and they can be sentimental to the recipient. But best of all is that everyone knows DIY gifts come from the heart.

Here are a few sustainable DIY gifts you can make to delight your recipients and help cut down on extravagant waste this season.

1. Wreath

Traditionally, wreaths were a symbol of victory or celebration in ancient Rome, which has evolved into a symbol of tradition or continuity today. This makes them a perfect gift for everyone on your list this holiday season. Nowadays, it has become popular to hang a wreath on your front door or in the home, sometimes year-round and not just in the winter. When made with all-natural materials, people can return the organic matter to the earth and repurpose the base of the wreath for the following year.

You should easily be able to find the components for your wreath in the wild: herb branches, grapevines, boughs, leaves, cones and berries. From there, use a wire loop and wrap the larger materials around it, weaving sprigs of berries and other decorations into the wreath without the help of artificial adhesive.

If you have to opt for synthetic materials because pine branches aren’t available to you, use hot glue to hold things like pinecones onto the wreath. An artificial wreath should last your recipient years to come, so it’s still a reasonably sustainable investment.

2. Potpourri

Give someone a naturally scented home with the aromas of the season. Create and package potpourri mixes in a thrifted jar using rosemary, spices, cranberries, and other natural items. One of the best ingredients you can add to potpourri is flowers, as the petals can create a naturally sweet scent when fully dried in your mixtures. Ensure your dry mix looks lovely in its jar, as this adds to the beauty of your DIY gift. It’s a great alternative to artificial fragrances, and can be placed in every room.

3. Marbled Mugs

If you have nail polish you aren’t using, buy some plain white mugs and prepare to make great DIY gifts that your recipients can use over and over. Decorated mugs are an affordable gift for anyone who loves warm drinks.

To create the mugs, fill a craft container that you don’t mind getting messy with warm water, then drop some nail polish into the filled container and swirl it around a bit. Dip a mug into the color, rolling the mug around to ensure it’s as covered as you want it to be, but keep the nail polish away from the inside. Once dry, the mug is ready to use, but advise your recipient not to put it in the dishwasher or microwave. Remember to dispose of your nail polish bottles responsibly once you’re done with them.

4. Baked Goods

Baked goods are sure to delight anyone at this time of year, since the holidays are all about eating sweet baked treats! Check if your intended recipient has any allergies, then bake cookies or some other delicious dessert. Put the gifts in metal tins that your gift recipients can reuse for years to come, or even to package their own edible gifts next year.

5. Personalized Items

One of the easiest ways to make someone feel special is to offer them a gift that’s been personalized for them. You can do just about anything with vinyl transfers. Pick out a gift you want to give your loved one, then use vinyl to make it special with their name, an inside joke, or a sentimental message.

You can make anything from a personalized t-shirt to a rustic decoration for the festive season using adhesive vinyl. With a customized gift, your recipient might be more likely to keep it for years and think twice before throwing it out, extending its life span.

6. Homemade Pet Items

With 471 million dogs and over 350 million cats owned as pets worldwide, it’s safe to assume you have gift recipients on your list who have pets. Consider making something for a beloved pet instead of for the recipient directly. Alternatively, if you have only a few people to give gifts to this year, consider making something for their pet as well.

For the pet cats on your list, sew a little fabric square together in the shape of a gift box and stuff it full of catnip for your loved one to gift to their cat. Dogs love treats and would be happy with anything homemade. Consider making bite-sized treats of healthy snacks with ingredients like apples, pumpkins and peanut butter; easy recipes are abundantly available online.

7. Used Fabric Quilt

You can make your loved one a quilt out of used fabric like old t-shirts or baby clothes they would cherish being memorialized. Many quilts have deep-rooted sentimentality and are passed down for generations. Whenever your loved one looks at the quilt you made for them, they’ll remember a moment in their life associated with those fabrics, such as their time in college or the first year of their baby’s life. Because making quilts is time-consuming, you may only be able to finish one or two by the time the holidays roll around. Still, a t-shirt or used fabric quilt is a special way to breathe new life into clothing that would otherwise be thrown away.

8. Mix In A Jar

Find attractive jars from secondhand stores or save them yourself throughout the year. Make sure they’re clean, then get ready to fill them with different mixes. You might want to put hot cocoa mix in the jar, then put a recipe tag made out of recycled paper around the lid. Dress the jar up with fabric and ribbon to look festive, and people will appreciate the gift of a warm, cozy drink on a cold evening.

If your recipient doesn’t have a sweet tooth, consider packing a soup mix in a jar. Include bouillon cubes in your soup mixes so your recipients can have a flavorful broth with the dried vegetables, macaroni, herbs, and spices you’ve packed in. Add a marbled mug (see above!) and your DIY gift is ready to go!

Rose Morrison is the managing editor of Renovated, and has been writing in the home living industry for over five years. Her work has been featured on The National Association of Realtors, the American Society of Home Inspectors and other reputable publications.

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