Please recommend craft ideas for Winter gift giving.
November 18, 2011 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me gather some project ideas for gift-giving? Food, crafts, fun stuff all welcome.

I like to give a lot of gifts through the holidays, and I get a lot of pleasure MAKING things to give away. What are your favorite craft projects for gift making?

I'm going to end up gifting about 30 people in total, but I'll be doing multiple kinds of gifts to match the appropriate gift to the person (like not giving the Orthodox Jewish woman down the hall a Christmas tree ornament).

I'm hoping for some non-religious stuff, as a lot of our friends are atheist or non-Christian religions. My Gentleman Griphus is originally from Russia and they traditionally give gifts at new years- the color theme being taken from the next year's Chinese zodiac animal- i think it's silver and red this year because of the DRAGON. This might be fun!

Fun ways to present cookies and cakes, recipies, fun decorations, anything really.
posted by Blisterlips to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Some of the answers in this recent askme might be helpful. (Feel free to flag this if you've already seen that one!)
posted by rtha at 10:06 AM on November 18, 2011

This was a low-impact idea I came up with for a bunch of people one year -- "Movie Packs."

Get a bunch of gift certificates to your local movie theater, or a bunch of gift certificates to your local video rental house. Then get a few boxes of microwave popcorn packs, and some "snack pack" size boxes of the candy you usually find in movie theaters (Raisinets, Goobers, and Sno-Caps are in practically EVERY movie theater). Each pack gets a pair of gift certificates, one of the popcorn packs, and one each of the candy boxes. Voila!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:09 AM on November 18, 2011

Clove and Citrus Pomanders are one of my favourite things. You can choose ribbons to suit each person or the colour theme. I've studded everything from kumquats to limes to grapefruit. Usually I do Clementines, because they're so inexpensive and I can make three or four during one TV show. I have had some of mine for ten years, and friends who look forward to them.
posted by peagood at 10:09 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like making these birds. They can be ornaments for those who celebrate Christmas, or sachets, or just lovely little things. (You can also make a bunch of them and turn them into a mobile like that blog post shows. Here's the pattern (pdf).
posted by ocherdraco at 10:13 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

I can't believe I came in here to say pomanders and peagood beat me to it. Anyway, I've been making them for awhile and they're easy, fun, pretty, and delicious-smelling. Here's a link with the last step to the project, which is rolling the ball in spices and orris root powder to make the scent last even longer. Orris root powder can be a little difficult to find (probably easier in NYC I guess) but I used this source and was happy with it. You don't need very much.
posted by CheeseLouise at 11:17 AM on November 18, 2011

Here is a list of homemade food gifts from thekitchn.
posted by serunding at 12:19 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Judging by my family, fabric appliance covers. I personally don't feel the need to give my toaster a cozy, but most of my female relatives have requested one. (My mother asked me to help her make a set for her kitchen and it spiraled from there.) You can customize the fabric to the recipient's kitchen.

If you decide to go this route, (a) quilt fabric works great -- but try to find it someplace cheap because they eat fabric, and (b) the Sewing for Dummies pattern (Simplicity 2753) is the best I've found. The original set I made were with a different company's pattern and it was a PITA to assemble -- I think the drafting may be off. I usually manage to find bias tape on sale, but you could totally make your own to keep costs down.

You can also make a matching tea cozy. Or just make a regular tea cozy. Felted sweaters work well and can be assembled by hand with blanket stitch, maybe with a small bird of contrasting felt blanket-stitched on for that Put A Bird On It look.

Throw pillows are also easy to sew and customize to the recipient; IKEA has cheap inserts.
posted by pie ninja at 12:29 PM on November 18, 2011

It's fun to make calendars where there is a picture for each month that you've taken yourself and/or of the people you're giving them to and/or of things they're particularly interested in. You can either scan the pictures and paste them onto the tops of the pages that are printed with the months, or you can do the whole thing with your printer, if you're good at that. Or you can pay Kinko's or someplace else to put them all together for you (you just provide the photos), but obviously that's more expensive.

Or you can make a picture frame (or buy a plain wooden one and paint/personalize it) and put an appropriately funny/poignant/tragic picture in it for each person.
posted by DMelanogaster at 1:42 PM on November 18, 2011

I've done "card kits" before for people who still communicate that way. I just get/make a pretty box and make cards for every season I think they'd use cards for and tie them in little bunches with ribbons. People who've gotten them say it's nice to know they don't have to run to the store every time they remember at the last minute that they need a card for someone's birthday or whatever. I've done a bunch of blank notecard-sized ones for people who like to just write short notes or send lots of thank you notes, but I usually leave them blank inside.

I'm doing a gift kit modification this year for a few people who like to give gifts year round. It's housed in a little plastic 3-drawer thing (probably mostly used for organizing small desk stuff--maybe $4 at Big Box Stores). One drawer has scissors, nice tape, nice pens, and other wrapping supplies. Another has a bunch of tiny notecards (like the size you get with flowers) and a few larger notecards, and the third drawer is full of gift tags--mostly Christmas but some seasonal ones for birthdays and a few pretty white ones for weddings or whatever, too. Some are pretty tie-on ones and some are stick on (using the stickers scrapbook people use to hold photos in place, and I just made them out of scraps from various card-making endeavors. These are for people who I'm fairly certain would like the organizing that the drawers bring. You could obviously do something prettier but less functional if you like.
posted by BlooPen at 2:48 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Korknisser! You can whip up five or six in an evening. You just need to find a good supply of corks.
posted by lollusc at 5:53 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

If they are crafty, make a little kit that features their craft of choice, but with a twist:
- embroidery/needlepoint - tiny little creatures, or make your own little kits, like this zodiac constellation kit

- travel/mini sewing kit - nice little scissors, thread, tiny pincushion or magnetic wrist band, small (and handy) retractable tape measure, seam ripper, nice new set of glass-headed quilting pins, trio of omnigrid rulers, little needle holder (i.e. small fabric book that holds different kinds of needles on each page). Here's another little sewing kit example and one in a jar with a pincushion on top.

- knitting needle case - tons of ideas out there, or little travel knit kit
- candle making kit
- have someone on Etsy make a "handmade by NAME" stamp, so they can label cards and attach them to the gifts they make
- art kit - nice moleskin with thick paper, variety of pencils and a few pens,

- students: small school supplies kit, small stapler, post-its, especially with niceish items from Muji, rolls of quarters, a bunch of travel size medicines, etc.

- if someone is doing home renos: some kind of portable kit so she can look at materials in the store and have a notebook and tape measure handy, mini screwdriver kit

- readers: little light, nice personalized bookplates, bookmarks, kindle cover

- bonzai kit

- office warrior: buckyballs, mini zen gardening kit or water fountain kit, cool calendar

- real gardening kit - with some nice seeds, the best gardening gloves in the world, the best new gardening tool around, watering can or spray nozzle, little gnome of course!

- DIY Terrarium kit - nice glass container, charcoal layer, moss, little figurine

- travelers: mini usb cords, nice luggage tag, luggage scale, GoToob, mini bluetooth mouse, microfiber cloth on a keychain,

- zen masters, or those who like yoga and meditating: little meditating timer, tibetan flags, maybe incense or nice soy candle, essential oils

- sushi making set - woven mats, recipe book, rice vinegar, chopsticks, nice soy sauce, little soy sauce dipping bowls

- ethnic foods kit - various nice spices, utensils, any appropriate little sauces, recipes on little cards

- dog walking kit - nice leash, new throwing toy, nice treats, nice smelling dog wipes, super cute dog tags

- breadmaking kit - book on whole grain baking, food safe tub for proofing bread, nice seeds for garnish, nice flour, sourdough starters

- baking kit: silicone rolling pin, pie mat (has the measurements for different pies), crust weights, new or vintage tins, pastry chopper scraper thing, , nice bottle of vanilla, nice bittersweet chocolate

- lunchbox kit - bento box, thermos, water bottle, travel cutlery, bento cookbook, miniature hot sauces and other condiments for the road

- beer making kit

- old fashioned shaving kit - with shave cream/soap, razor, safety blades, badger brush, stand, aftershave,
sexy cologne

- tea kit - teapot, little paper tea sachets to make their own teabags, nice tea, honey, a kettle if they don't have one. Adagio has a bunch of nice things too.

- coffee kit - french press or chemex or japanese pour-over set, little battery frother, nice coffee beans, excellent thermos

- spa kit - bath salts, essential oils, nice towel, nice nail set - clippers, emery boards, cuticle oil

- woodworking kit - check out Lee Valley

- boardgames and card games kit - upgraded versions of favorites, crosswords and sudokus, chess, some sort of hand puzzle

- shoe polishing kit (seriously, I would be stoked to get this!)

- BBQ kit - nice tongs, bbq sauce, apron, thermometer, silicone basting brush,

- gourmet kit: excellent microplane, salts of the world, different vinegars, oils, truffle salt, nice vanilla, maybe a garlic press or gourmet pickels or olives

- martini or bar set - awesome bitters, muddler, shaker, jigger, juicer, strainer, gourmet maraschino cherries, nuts

- hiker/camper - s-biners, smartwool socks, miniature flashlight, marshmallow roasting sticks, camp pillow

I have a bunch of other ideas but have to go to bed!
posted by barnone at 11:15 PM on November 18, 2011 [10 favorites]

Last year I made soap for my coworkers and it was quite fun! I used melt-and-pour soap, which doesn't involve any fancy chemistry. I got a lot of good tips from Soap Queen. I initially bought some stuff from Michael's just to see if I liked it, then I bought more from Brambleberry. I found that silicone ice or baking molds work great for soap - I made adorable little Christmas trees in brownie molds.
posted by radioamy at 8:35 AM on November 19, 2011

I like making biscotti. Something about biscotti (it's Italian!) makes it feel fancy. It's easy to make and one of the bonuses for me is that if I mail it to my father, I don't have to worry about it getting stale. I have used this recipe but the other nice thing with biscotti is you can throw whatever you or the recipient wants in it. If they hate nuts, you can leave them out and use vanilla instead. You could add chocolate chips or dried fruit like dried cherries. I will still occasionally buy the biscotti at Starbucks I want one but then I will usually regret not making it myself :)
posted by kat518 at 10:58 AM on November 19, 2011

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