Every year, I create Pinterest-inspired DIY holiday gifts for my teacher friends and colleagues. It’s a frugal and, usually, tasty way to make sure everyone receives a gift on my school’s campus. I usually select food-related gifts because they are easy to make in bulk, which is great considering I usually have about 20 people I bake or make gifts for.

This year, I’m debating between making shortbread cookie gifts or going with an old standard: Santa and Reindeer cones. I’m leaning towards shortbread cookies because these are much easier to make in bulk. I don’t want to sound like a grinch, but I’m moving within the next few days and I’m predicting that between unpacking and preparing for the holidays, I’m going to be swamped!

But, if you’d like some ideas and recipes for frugal gifts, here are a few ideas:

Reindeer and Santa cones

These are pretty easy to re-create.

Santa and reindeer cocoa cones by Little House in the Valley

Materials needed:

  • Cellophane cone bags
  • Green and red M&M’s
  • Powdered hot cocoa
  • Small marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Google eyes
  • Brown pipe cleaners
  • Small, red pom-poms and white pom-poms
  • tacky glue
  • cotton balls
  • Felt used as a backing for Santa’s eyes, nose, and mustache

In each cone, include:

  • 8 tablespoons of hot cocoa in each cone
  • 3/4 cups of M&M’s in the Santa cones
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the reindeer cones
  • 3 handfuls of marshmallows in the Santa cone and 2 in the reindeer cone

We separated the ingredients into separate cellophane bags so that the items didn’t shift and blend together. This post details how we created the Santas and reindeer.

Melted Snowman cookies

Last year, melted snowman cookies were all the rage. So, Mr. LH and I created them following directions I found on Pinterest. To be honest, these require patience, and since they are so detailed, I only gave 2 – 4 cookies per person. That may sound stingy, but the amount of time it took to make these cookies for so many people meant each person would only get a few at best. If you are only giving homemade gifts to a few people, this would be the perfect editable gift.

Melted Snowman cookies by Little House in the Valley
Melted Snowman cookies by Little House in the Valley

Materials needed:

  • Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
  • Powdered sugar (confectioners sugar for frosting)
  • Gel frosting pens
  • Large/jumbo marshmallows
  • Mini M&M’s (can be difficult to find, if you can’t find them, you can use gel pen frosting or mini chocolate chips)
  • Cookie boxes so the snowmen doesn’t get squished

Instructions: Cook the sugar cookie dough and let the cookies cool. Whisk confectioners sugar and water together until the frosting is becoming drizzly, and then pour on sugar cookies. Place the mini M&M’s in the middle of the cookie, leaving room on one edge for the head. Microwave large marshmallows, one at a time, for just a few seconds (this is the tricky part). You don’t want them too squishy, place the marshmallow towards the edge of the sugar cookie. Using the frosting gel pens, draw eyes, mouth and a nose on the marshmallow, and a scarf and arms on the cookie. Place them in a cookie box so they don’t get squished.

An Old Standard: Mason Jar Gifts

I know there are people out there that are tired of mason jar gifts no thanks to Pinterest, but they are easy to create with lots of variations on recipes. One of my favorites is to include cookie ingredients and instructions on how to make the cookies.

Mason Jar Gifts from Little House in the Valley
Mason Jar Gifts from Little House in the Valley

Materials needed:

  • Wide-mouthed mason jars
  • cookie ingredients: flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, raisins, chocolate chips, etc.
  • Ribbon, tags, or printed labels

If you’re interested in a cookie recipe, check out this post for oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies. Want hot cocoa or mocha, instead? Check out this post for mocha and Tang Tea recipes.

When I create my shortbread cookie gifts in a couple of weeks, I’ll post the photos and recipe directions.

Are you making homemade gifts this year? Any suggestions?






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