Some of the most thoughtful gifts are handmade. You can personalize them, and the recipients can tell that you have put some real effort and consideration into them. Additionally, handmade gifts  are also relatively inexpensive. With a little creativity, you can provide interesting and attractive gifts for your loved ones.
Below are 12 ideas for handmade gifts that can add a personal touch to the holidays :
- Napkin set: If you know how to embroider or cross-stitch, you can turn a package of plain, inexpensive napkins into something special. Add a monogram, or add a design according to a theme. This can also be done with hand towels or washcloths.
- Bottled food: Recently, I bottled my own applesauce. You can also bottle salsa, pasta sauce, pie filling, preserves and other items. Tie ribbons around the jars to make them more attractive. You can also assemble gift baskets around the items. Include a loaf of fresh-baked bread with the preserves, or a bundle of gourmet pasta with the sauce.
- Coasters: These are easy to make from tiles. Obtain four-inch ceramic tiles, an decorate them with an attractive pattern. Then, glue thick black felt to the bottom (to prevent scratches to home surfaces). My son recently made coasters from wood, and even created a simple holder for them. I use them each night for my class of water.
- Hand warmers: These make great gifts. Use attractive material in wool, felt or cashmere. Follow the directions for making a simple beanbag, but instead of using the beans, make use of small ceramic pie weights. All that is required is that recipient microwave the warmer for a minute or two. It’s nice and warm and can be kept in a pocket to create a toasty space.
- Decorative oil bottle: Clean an empty wine bottle thoroughly, and then paint it with an attractive design. Buy a pour spout for olive oil. Fill the bottle with the olive oil and put in the spout.
- Teacup or seashell candle: All you need is wax, or leftovers from old candles, a wick, a couple drops of scent, and a container. You can use old teacups (garage sales and thrift stores are great sources), or seashells. Melt down the wax and add the scent, then add the wick.
- Bread: Consider making different delicious breads. You can make herb bread, or you can make fruit breads. I like to make banana bread. Sometimes I add extra cinnamon, or I add chocolate chips, for a little treat. You can also make ciabatta bread  and give it as a gift. Assemble gift baskets made from different types of mini-loaves.
- Cake in a mug: Find an attractive mug, or find a plain mug and decorate it yourself. Add the dry ingredients for chocolate cake in a cup , and print or write instructions to complete the recipe on an attractive card. Perfect for kids to give their teachers.
- Picture frame: Decorate a plain picture frame to be attractive and personal. Consider putting a photo of yourself and the recipient in the frame.
- Truffles: Every year, I make truffles for our friends. They’re easy Oreo truffles , and I cover them with good chocolate. Instead of crushed cookie, I sprinkle crushed candy canes on top; nuts work well also. Buy attractive boxes to enhance their presentation.
- Beautiful flowers: Buy an inexpensive flower pot, and decorate it for a personal touch. Plant something the recipient would enjoy, and present the gift.
- Recipe book: Put together a recipe book with tasty recipes. My husband’s aunt did this one year, providing family recipes from my husband’s Italian grandmother. Make sure to leave room to add more recipes. This works well when gathered in an attractively decorated binder.
What are some of your homemade gift ideas?
(Photo: ecram1 )