Our Homemade Holiday Gifts (2015 Edition)

When I got married three years ago, this long-time only child had the privilege of marrying into a gigantic family.  My husband is one of 7, and between his siblings and their spouses, my extended family, plus friends, neighbors, and coworkers, our holiday present budget looked destined to skyrocket.

So, we started giving out homemade and diy presents for the holidays and found that not only are the a lot more cost-efficient, they’re also generally even more well received than some knick-knack we could have purchased off the shelf. Plus I get to have fun making them.


This year, we decided on a trio of homemade jarred items that were all fairly easy to make.

The first, inspired by our giant crop of serrano peppers this fall, was hot pepper jelly.  As I’ve previously described, this was my first foray in canning, and so I actually ended up canning this jelly twice, as my first batch didn’t have enough pectin and so didn’t set up properly.  Second time was a charm, though, and this pepper jelly is fantastic over cream cheese with crackers, or to add a little kick to a sandwich.

Recipe here, but I suggest using at least 2 boxes of pectin, 3 if you prefer a very firm gel.

Secondly, inspired by this post on Cowboy Cookies, I decided to make Christmas Chip Pancake Mix.  One pint pancake mix (firmly packed), topped with a handful of red and green chocolate chips makes a great easy breakfast for two – the recipient need only mix the jar with 3/4 cup of water and stir, then cook over a griddle to make about 4 medium sized pancakes that are as tasty as they are festive.

Finally, olive oil + sugar + vanilla combine to make our third jar, a sugar cookie scented body scrub that’s super easy to make and really works – just making it made my hands super soft for days.

Original inspiration for the body scrub was here, but I found their version far too oily.  My revised version calls for 3 cups white sugar, 1 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 cup olive oil, 3 Tbs vanilla.  Mix it all together and it fills about four pint-sized mason jars.

We finished off the baskets with treat bags of honey roasted pecans (using honey from our backyard beehive) and the always-popular tuxedo peppermint bark.

What diy presents did you give away this year? Let us know in the comments below!