Gift ideas that won’t break your budget this holiday season

Custom homemade gift ideas for friends and family

DETROIT – The holidays are just around the corner and this year gifts are a lot more expensive than the used to be, but you can still give a gift without breaking the bank.

As someone who grew up with a very large family (23 first cousins to be exact) Christmas was about mass chaos and homemade gifts, within a small budget.

If you are looking into making your own gifts this holiday season, these four are a great place to start.

1. Caramel Corn

Nothing says holidays like a bowl of popcorn, minus the kernels, plus a salty sweet caramel sauce. This treat is simple, and you can make in bulk.

You need corn puffs, think a Cheeto puff, but no cheese. You also need two sticks of butter, a cup of brown sugar, 1/4th cup of corn syrup, and a teaspoon of baking soda. You can add peanuts if you want an extra crunch.

  • Put the corn puffs (and peanuts) in a roasting pan.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar and corn syrup.
  • Once that starts to boil, add the baking soda. You will quickly notice the sauce starts to bubble up, that’s normal, it’s a chemical reaction and it means you’re doing it right.
  • Once it gets to the top of the pot, take it off the heat and add the caramel sauce to the corn puff.
  • Mix and put in a 250-degree oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • When that time is up, take it out of the oven and put it on wax paper to cool.

Each batch makes about 6 good sized bags of caramel corn.

2. Hot Chocolate Spoons

Now if you want to avoid the oven at all costs, consider giving some warmth with the gift of chocolate, namely hot chocolate spoons.

These spoons add a little something extra to your traditional hot chocolate. All you need are some plastic spoons, chocolate chips, hot chocolate packets and crushed candy canes.

Melt the chocolate, dip the spoons, and add the crushed candy cane. Wrap them up with a couple packets of hot chocolate and there you have it. The next time you make some hot cocoa, enjoy an extra chocolatey, peppermint version.

3. Mini Candles

If you are looking for a more substantial homemade gifts then little treats, how about some mini candles.

You need 2-ounce honey jars, which can be easily purchased on amazon, some small candle wicks, and those square wax melts.

You can use hot glue or super glue to glue the wick to the center of the jar and let it dry. Next, melt the wax using a double boiler, so a glass bowl sitting on top of a pot of boiling water. After, pour the wax into the jars and let it sit.

4. Homemade Soap

Finally take a trip to the spa and make your friends and family some homemade soap.

You just need some melt and pour soap base. You can buy that a craft stores like Michaels, along with dye and fragrance if you choose.

Melt the soap in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time. Once it’s fully melted add your dye and fragrance. After you can pour into silicone molds for fun shapes, or you can pour it in a bread loaf pan lined with wax paper.

Let it sit and harden for one hour and wrap them up in parchment paper.