10 ideas for homemade gifts that won't be thrown away

10 ideas for homemade gifts that won't be thrown away

By Lindsay Maxfield | Posted - Dec. 13, 2012 at 8:27 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — It sounds so enticing: a charming handmade Christmas, with gifts lovingly crafted in exquisite detail to let everyone on your list know just how much you care. But if your only DIY ideas have something to do with crochet hook or I-O-U coupons, you should be warned that your gifts may not be received with the most welcoming spirit.

If you're in a handcrafted mood, here are 15 fresh ideas for DIY gifts that won't be thrown away before New Year's.

For him:

Car travel kit

Know a guy who loves a roadtrip? Put together this car travel kit with tools for the road, like a tire pressure gauge, compass, pocket knife and map. Start with a sturdy cardboard box and adhere the smaller items to the box with Velcro and bundle larger items inside. According to marthastewart.com, "This gift idea can be winterized with the addition of a snowbrush, ice scraper and collapsible shovel."

Pegboard tool organizer

Allow me to generalize for the sake of making a point: Guys like tools — lots of tools. So many that, instead of being stored neatly in designated toolboxes and bags, they end up strewn about the house and garage in the places they were last used. To make these tools more grab-and-go (and therefore more likely to be put away), create a pegboard organizer with a hanging hook for each tool. If you want to be overly obvious about where the tools are supposed to go, outline each one.

Remote control holder

Few things are more annoying than sitting down with your favorite snack to catch up on your DVR, getting all settled in and comfortable, and then realizing the remote controls are nowhere to be found. You can solve this problem with this easy-to-sew remote control holder that slips over one arm of the chair or couch and tucks neatly into the cushions. You could also repurpose an old soda pop crate or trophy. Unfortunately, there's still no guarantee the kids won't walk off with the remotes nonetheless.

Framed sports memorabilia

Have a sports fan or athlete on your list? Frame his favorite team's jersey, or better yet, frame one of his. If you're feeling particularly generous, you can put away the knickknacks and use a lighted curio cabinet to display his sports memorabilia.

Customized book

I've generalized a lot here about the stereotypical tool-loving sports fanatic, but that doesn't mean guys aren't sentimental. For a gift that's both personal and adorable (yes, a man's gift can be adorable), work together with the kids to create a one-of-a-kind book all about Daddy, from their point of view. Don't have kids? You can still write down all of that mushy love stuff with a fill-in-the-blank book or journal — and, if you're feeling extra lovey, add a book of couples coupons.

For her:

Bookplates

Got a book lover in the family? Homemade bookplates add a fun personal touch to her growing library. According to marthastewart.com, "A bookplate indicates a volume's rightful owner — and helps to ensure its safe return from borrowers. It also adds a personal touch to a treasured book, and requires little time to make." A one-of-a-kind bookmark made with vintage jewelry adds an elegant touch.

Cupcake kitBaked goods are always fun to receive, but what about for the woman who always does the baking? Put together a cupcake kit with fancy sprinkles, colorful cupcake wrapers, cooking utensils and a recipe or two in a keepsake box. Be warned: This gift could be interpreted as a not-so-subtle hint to send more goodies your way.

Beauty treatments

Here's another generalization for you, but one that's probably more true than the aforementioned messy-man stereotype: Women love to be pampered. You can't go wrong giving bath fizzies, peppermint lip balm, hand scrub and even herbal shampoo. Want something a little less hands-on? You can never go wrong with gift certificates to a spa or salon. It's not exactly homemade, but it will still be greatly appreciated.

Favorite song into art

Let me just stop you right here: This musical gift idea is not about a mixed tape. Now that we've gotten that cleared up, take a look at this canvas art print of lyrics to a favorite song. (Husbands, for bonus points, use the words to your wedding song and your wife will immediately be won over — and maybe blown away that you even remembered what it was.) For something a little more timeless, try turning sheet music of a beloved song into framed art, decoupaged furniture or jewelry.

Coupon book

OK, I know I said that I-O-U coupons are not the most desired of gifts, but for a busy wife and mother, knowing that those you love are willing to give their time and service to you is priceless. Creating coupons for things like a chore-free week, breakfast in bed and a day of help with handyman projects — and then actually following through to let her easily cash in the coupons — will truly show the woman in your life that she is loved.

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Lindsay Maxfield

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