Congrats y’all. We made it through another holiday season! As you can see from the February post date it’s taken me awhile to recuperate. My dear family had to endure yet another year of me proclaiming “let’s have a handmade Christmas!”. While they might have thought that going handmade was all a thing of the past, our new grad school budget necessitated a bit of frugal creativity with gift-giving this year.
Here’s the first of a four-part series on how I made the most out of this year’s handmade Christmas. Stay tuned for DIY Christmas Gifts for Her (Updated with link!), DIY Christmas Gifts for Coworkers, and DIY Christmas Gifts for Grandparents.
There’s always a challenge with handmade gifts. After all, there’s a reason that the gift card industry is so stinkin’ successful. The last thing you want is your giftee wishing you’d gone for the traditional Target/Best Buy/iTunes giftcard instead of a hodgepodge homemade monstrosity. But, if you take a moment to think about the things your recipient loves, it’s likely you’ll be able to come up with something they just might like.
For the Dads:
The new boater (or insert other hobby here).
The newest thing in my Dad’s life last year was a boat. A cute lil’ Carolina Skiff. This gift actually took me the longest to come up with but, after a little brainstorming with my husband, I decided to make a shirt for his boating expeditions.
- I searched on Google for an image that wasn’t too intricate so that it would make an easy stencil for a man driving a boat.
- I uploaded the image into the Silhouette Studio software and traced it to use as a stencil. Stay tuned for a step-by-step tutorial on how to replicate this with another design of your choice!
Matt’s Dad is a big griller. The family lore centers around “Smokey Joe,” the little Weber grill that hovers near the ground and is all around quite cute. These days he’s upgraded to a sweeter setup but a homemade meat rub seemed like the perfect idea.
- I found this spice rub recipe on Pinterest and then the nice little spice jar came home with me after a trip to Home Goods.
- A little further customization seemed like a nice idea so I cut out a rectangle with the words “Smokey Joe’s Rub” and etched it onto the glass container.
- You might also be noticing the beer mugs that keep showing up in these photos. I made one for each of the men in my life by etching their initials on to the mugs.
For the Brother-in-laws:
The Star Wars fan with a Star Wars kiddo.
That’s right, father and son matching Star Wars t-shirts. These two special guys have a special bond over Star Wars so matching shirts seemed like a great idea. I also got my nephew a Star Wars Character Encyclopedia mostly because it came with a mini-figure. I might not know much about Star Wars but a little guy can never have too many mini-figures, right?
- I found this tutorial on Pinterest (shocker!) and used it as a jumping off point.
- The matching shirts were acquired at my favorite neighborhood Target.
- Stay tuned for a separate step-by-step post on the stencil process!
So the whole gift isn’t pictured here but I knew that my brother-in-law was getting into home-brewing so I thought a little home-brewing kit would be perfect. I etched 4 glasses with “Mike’s Brew” and ordered up some chocolate malt and hops from the Bell’s Brewery online store since I know he prefers a brew with a maltier profile. Bell’s also kicked in a few cool stickers to boot!
The hot-sauce connoisseur.
Have you seen The Oatmeal’s “Dear Sriracha, a.k.a. Rooster Sauce” Comic? I vaguely remember an email bouncing around between my husband and his brother about this some time ago and I know that he’s a pretty big hot sauce fan. When I saw The Sriracha Cookbook pop up on Pinterest (I know, Pinterest again!), the tour-de-hot-sauce lodged in the back of my mind as a perfect gift.
- First we ordered The Sriracha Cookbook and picked up a bottle of the good stuff.
- Then I found another good hot sauce candidate at Cherry Republic, a family favorite.
- To fit with the homemade theme, my husband brewed up his own hot sauce after a little inspiration, and I etched a glass bottle with “Three Wild Men Hot Sauce” in ode to our brother-in-law and his two wild boys. :)
For the Nephews:
The U of M loving Nephews
Okay, so they’re not men yet but I had fun coming up with gifts for our first and third grade nephews.
- They’re pretty big U of M fans and a lot of Yahtzee went down over Thanksgiving so we decided to get them a U of M inspired Yahtzee game (not homemade).
- To add some flair, I also made these Pinterest-inspired little storage jars that say “My Stache” with each of their names on top.
- We also made these little bow and arrow sets (not pictured here) out of popsicle sticks and q-tips (inspired by Pinterest no less!). They’re a bit tricky to use but a lot of fun once you get it right!