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20 Frugal DIY Holiday Gifts for 2020 (That People Will Actually Want)

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20 Frugal DIY Holiday Gifts for 2020 (That People Will Actually Want)

Ho-ho-holy smokes, guys. The holidays are upon us! 

Problem is, the holidays aren’t always about family and cheer. If you exchange gifts with family and friends, you’ll likely shell out over $1,000 for holiday gifts.

Most folks don’t have an extra $1,000 in their bank account, which means going into debt before the New Year. 

Fortunately, you’ve got options. Instead of selling your soul to VISA or Mastercard, you can spend less on the holidays with do-it-yourself gifts. 

Whether you’re on a super-tight budget or just need a last-minute gift with items from around your home, we’ve got you covered. Check out these 20 beginner-friendly, DIY holiday gifts that won’t wreck your budget. 

1. Hand warmers

Estimated cost: $5

If you’ve got a sewing kit, rice, essential oils, and fabric, you can make this DIY gift. It’s a great option for that person in your friend group who’s always cold. Cut them into cute shapes, like hearts or mittens, for full effect. 

Here’s the tutorial. 

2. Spa bag

Estimated cost: $10

Have you seen how much stuff you can get for $10 at Dollar Tree? It’s a steal

I’ve put together spa bags for friends using zip-top cosmetic bags, cosmetics, treatments, and candies from Dollar Tree. Not everything is cheaper at Dollar Tree, though, so do your research ahead of time to find the best prices. Oriental Trading Company is cheap if you use a discount code.

I like to add items to these DIY spa bags like:

  • Nail polish
  • Cotton balls
  • Nail files
  • Face masques
  • Incense
  • Chocolate bars

Plus, you don’t have to be crafty at all for this DIY. Just shop at your fave discount store, put everything together, and you’re done!

3. Face masque

Estimated cost: $5

Gift your loved ones some of that “self-care” we love so much. Use a food processor or blender to make a spa-worthy face masque. Here’s my favorite tutorial. Make tons of this stuff in a huge batch, store it in Mason jars, add a cute ribbon, and you’re done. 

4. Face mask

Estimated cost: $3

Well, it’s 2020, after all. If your loved one always seems to be misplacing their mask, you can whip up a DIY mask in a jiffy. Use any of these tutorials to whip up a few. Bonus points if you use cute fabric!

5. Beeswax wraps

Estimated cost: $20

My grocery store sells beeswax wraps for $10 apiece, which is criminal. As long as you can front the money for a few pounds of beeswax, you can gift beeswax wraps on the cheap. Here’s my go-to tutorial. 

Again, you’ll need to front the cost of beeswax, but this stuff makes a huge batch with plenty not only for your giftees, but for you, too.

6. Teacup candles

Estimated cost: $2

I’m a regular at my local Goodwill. Every now and then, someone will donate old teacups and china, which are perfect for DIY candles. You’ll need the teacup, candle wax, wicks, and essential oils if you want scented candles. Use this tutorial to make your own teacup candles. 

7. Book chest

Estimated cost: $1

I created a book chest for my father-in-law one Christmas and he loves it! All you need for this DIY gift is an old, thick book and an X-Acto Knife. Follow this tutorial to see how you can hollow out a book.

8. Bourbon-soaked cherries

Estimated cost: $20

Bourbon-soaked cherries are an amazing gift that’s perfect on ice cream or in a cocktail. Here’s the recipe I use. Since fresh cherries are in season, it’s a lot more affordable to make them for the holidays. The bourbon is a little pricier, so this gift idea is better if you’re making a lot of bourbon-soaked cherries.

9. Bath bombs

Estimated cost: $25

Bath bombs are my go-to DIY holiday gift. I mean, who doesn’t love a fizzy, relaxing bath at the end of a long, hard day? Here’s the recipe I use. 

You’ll need to stock up on weird ingredients like citric acid, witch hazel, Epsom salt, and essential oils for this, but you should have enough to make a ton of bath bombs. 

10. Recipes in a jar

Estimated cost: $5

2020 was a tough year. Give your loved ones the gift of a prepared meal. Jar recipes are a popular, cute, and frugal way to show someone you care. I’ve gifted jar recipes for soup, cookies, chili, and more. Here are a ton of affordable ideas to get you started. 

11. Sugar scrub

Estimated cost: $3

I love making a peppermint sugar scrub for the holidays. It’s a festive way to gift a little spa treatment to everyone on your Nice List. I like this recipe because it doesn’t call for a ton of ingredients. Bonus tip: make this in your food processor or blender to give the sugar scrub a whipped, creamy texture!

12. Crocheted scarves 

Estimated cost: $10 – $50

This suggestion is for the crafty folks out there who love crocheting. I can’t crochet to save my life, but my sister has a real talent for it. Every Christmas, she crochets Harry Potter-themed scarves for the family. 

Crochet is a thoughtful, sweet DIY gift idea, but watch your spending. Yarn can get expensive, so try shopping at your local thrift store first before you run to Michael’s. 

13. Syrups

Estimated cost: $8

This seems like a weird one, but fancy simple syrups are one of the best DIY gifts I’ve ever received. I use lemon simple syrup on cupcakes, cranberry syrup in my drinks, and blueberry syrup on my pancakes. All you need is fruit, sugar, water, and maybe a fancy bottle to store everything. Here’s the tutorial I use.

14. Soap

Estimated cost: $30

Soap is a more intensive DIY, so keep in mind that you’ll need supplies and expertise to do this right. Give yourself some time to practice so your gifts are up to snuff! I like this old-timey recipe for milk soap. Wrap your completed soap bars in ribbon or butcher paper for added effect. 

15. Planters 

Estimated cost: $15 

Succulents are all the rage right now. So why not make cute, homemade concrete planters to go with them? Make sure you wear gloves and do this project outside!

I had to scrape concrete off my floors and it’s not fun. When you’re done, swing by Home Depot to buy succulents perfectly suited for your DIY planters.

16. Baked goodies

Estimated cost: $5 – $10

I mean, the holidays go hand-in-hand with baking. As an avid baker myself, I use the season as an excuse to go overboard. In the past, I’ve gifted goodies like:

Dollar Tree carries small treat bags that are perfect for storing your baked goods in festive wrapping, too.

17. Fancy seasonings

Estimated cost: $10

I can’t tell you how many people buy pumpkin spice seasoning pre-made at the store at an 80% markup. It’s crazy. I’ve been making my own pumpkin spice seasoning, taco seasoning, and barbecue rub for years. 

As a frugal DIY gift, I’ll make my spice blends in bulk, package them in small Mason jars with ribbon, and gift them to my friends and family. They go gaga for the stuff!

18. Hot chocolate kit

Estimated cost: $5

Who doesn’t love a mug of warm, creamy hot chocolate on a cold day? Gift your loved ones a hot chocolate kit in a mug. This cheap DIY gift idea should include:

  • A mug
  • Marshmallows
  • Hot chocolate mix

You can add extras like candy canes or spoons if you’re feeling fancy. Best of all, you can get all of these materials at your local Dollar Tree. 

19. Terrarium

Estimated cost: $20

This gift is better suited for little kids who love the outdoors. If you have a large Mason jar, rocks, charcoal, dirt, and a few succulents, you can make this DIY terrarium as a gift.

20. Fleece blanket

Estimated cost: $20

My family used to exchange fleece blankets with each other every Christmas. Stores like Joann Fabrics sell these kits ready to go, but if you buy discount fleece from Walmart, it’s half the price! Use this DIY to make cute, personalized fleece blankets for your family (no sewing required). 

The bottom line

Sure, you could opt for the most frugal option and forgo gifts entirely this year. But where’s the fun in that? If you want to make it through the holidays, spread some cheer, and prevent a mound of debt, try these more affordable DIY gifts first.

Contributor’s opinions are their own. Always do your own due diligence before investing.

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