Crafting your own presents to give away can add an extra personal touch to holiday gift-giving. Whether you have a plant-loving friend, a bourbon-drinking relative, a mom who needs pampering, or a neighbor with a healthy appetite, we’ve got a range of DIY project ideas, all created by local experts. Have no fear, each is simple to execute — arguably far easier than navigating Christmas Village on a Saturday afternoon.
Add extra spirit to a boozy gift by giving it a customized flair. Bluebird Distilling owner and master distiller Jared Adkins shares how to infuse bourbon, using seasonal spices aligned with those in mulled cider or wine.
“It’s like Christmas in a glass,” says Adkins. “You can also play around with the ingredients if you know the preferences of who you’re gifting. Something like a cinnamon, vanilla, and orange peel combination would also be great.”
Sip on spiced bourbon over ice, or go with Adkins’ recommendation and stir it into an old fashioned. Write the cocktail recipe on a card to pair with your gift.
Rather than just picking out an individual plant, consider gifting an entire tabletop garden — suitable for both those with and without experience with plants.
“Terrariums are usually filled with succulents, which can go seven to 10 days without water, so they’re a safe bet compared to gifting a high-maintenance plant,” says Amy Scipioni, buyer for Floral & Hardy of Skippack. “You can also customize them from person to person. If someone likes bling, decorate it with gems, or for beach-lovers, add seashells, or go for a rustic feel with tree branch cuttings and evergreen leaves.”
Scipioni shares her tips on how to get started, below. For a smaller terrarium, opt for a six- or eight-inch bowl, and adjust the amounts of soil and gravel accordingly.
For a delicious gift that’ll stay fresh far longer than a batch of Christmas cookies, give this homemade granola a try.
“It can keep for up to six months if kept in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature,” says James Barrett, Metropolitan Bakery owner and head baker, of his recipe below. “I find it difficult to stop eating right from the container, but I also love to sprinkle it on salads and yogurt, or crush it slightly to serve with seared scallops or roasted chicken.”
For an extra crunch and also a punch of nutrients, Barrett adds quinoa to his oat-and-nut base. The almonds can be swapped for the nut(s) of your choice.
Give someone on your list a mini spa-like experience without draining your wallet. With less than a handful of ingredients, you can make your own sugar scrub that’ll leave your loved one’s skin feeling luxuriously smooth.
“Sugar is naturally skin-conditioning,” says Duross and Langel owner Steve Duross. “It works as a polish on the skin and doesn’t tear the skin the way salt or even a loofa does. And, it washes right down the drain.”
Not a huge fan of vanilla? Feel free to swap it out in the recipe below with a few drops of cold-pressed citrus extract, like grapefruit, or an essential oil, like lavender.