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Christmas In July: Five Homemade Gifts You Can Start Now To Beat The Holiday Hustle

homemade Christmas gifts
Image CreditFDRLST/Canva

There’s something special about offering loved ones, close friends, and neighbors a gift from your heart made with your hands.

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July Fourth has come and gone which means it’s that time of year again to start thinking about Christmas.

I know, I know. I’m not a fan of the Christmas creep, the phenomenon in which festivity fiends, big box stores, and holiday jingle fans usher in the red-and-green time of year early, either. I am, however, big on planning ahead — especially when I have dozens of people to gift and a strict budget to follow.

For years, I’ve done my Christmas shopping early with the intent of beating crowds and getting sweet summer deals. This year, I’m taking preparations one step further by completing my betimes gift goals at home.

There’s something extra special about offering loved ones, close friends, and neighbors a gift from your heart made with your hands during the most commercialized season of the year. Here are five homemade gifts you can join me in making in July so we can enjoy Christmastime without losing our minds to the holiday hustle and bustle.

Vanilla Extract

Anyone who bakes knows that a good vanilla extract is essential to the best sweets and treats, but it takes time to mature if made at home. Fortunately for you and me, it’s relatively cheap, easy, and nearly perfect by Christmas if you commit to concocting it in the next few weeks.

You’ll only need a few things: sealing containers like swing-top bottles or, as one of my colleague’s family does it, repurposed bourbon bottles; a cheap vodka or other high alcohol content drink; and your choice of Mexican, Tahitan, or Madagascar vanilla beans. Once you’ve obtained ingredients from your local grocery store or online, assemble the right ratios in bottles and store them on a dark, cool shelf. Until you tie a ribbon around the bottle in December, your work is done.

For bonus points, encourage your giftees to “feed” the vanilla by adding alcohol after each use. This will turn your 10-minute project into the ultimate aromatic and tasty gift that keeps on giving!

Garden Goodies

It’s about that time of year when gardens are overflowing with produce and herbs. If you’re struggling to keep up with your plot’s production, consider setting aside some of your yield for later this year. Can any high-acid foods you harvest in a water bath or opt to dehydrate your favorite fruits, veggies, or herbs for go-to gifts that will last, in a sealed container in a cool, dry place, for six months up to a year.

Want to get even more creative? Find out which growing zones your loved ones live in and plant them some winter, pot-friendly produce like leafy greens or flowers such as poinsettias. By the time Christmas rolls around, they will have their very own vegetation to take home and maybe even start in their own garden.

swiss chard
Even in a desert climate, Swiss chard does well for me year-round.

Candy

If you want to spice up your horde of fruit and veggies, consider embellishing some of your summer harvest. Candied citrus peels are always welcome during yuletide, but don’t be afraid to branch out to other forms of produce. Pecans, jalapeños, and select flower petals all make excellent candidates for Christmas cheeseboard and cocktail topper presents.

If you want to indulge your sweeter side, consider committing to making full-sugar items. Most wintery saccharine favorites including mints and candy canes can even be made without corn syrup or dyes.

A good batch of candy or candied goods that is properly canned and kept in a sealed jar and away from sunlight will stay good for a year.

Lotion Bars

I made these lotion bars with my mother-in-law one time, and they were a huge hit! All you need is beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut oil flower petals, essential oil fragrance drops, and some molds. Set aside a few hours with a friend and knock a batch of these out.

Wrap in cellophane or any leftover gift material, tie with a ribbon, and set aside as the perfect stocking stuffer remedy for the cold and dry winter season.

Yarn And Fabric Crafts

I’m not much of a knitter or seamstress, but I’ve never turned down a handmade scarf, apron, set of dish towels, or quilt. If God gifted you with nimble hands and extra time, consider diving into the world of fabrics and quilts. Your family and friends who benefit from the beautiful and functional pieces you give them thank you in advance.

My husband and I were gifted this gorgeous patriotic quilt by one of our wedding guests.

Not Crafty? No Problem

If you’re more of a shopper instead of a maker, do not fret! There is hope for all trying to get ahead of the Christmas chaos. Instead of buckling down and baking now, simply ask family members and close friends to share their lists now. As the saying goes, there’s no time like the present. Happy Christmas in July!


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