Quick and easy last-minute gifts you can make at home

Quick and easy last-minute gifts you can make at home

Nevaeh Hoku Medina, staff writer

Between the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there’s not a lot of time to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. With Christmas right around the corner, time is running out to get your presents under the tree before Christmas day. And so begins the scramble to try to get those last minute gifts for all of your friends and family. Of course, you could always stuff some money in an envelope and call it a day. But it’s the season of giving, and you want to find thoughtful presents that show how much you care about them. In that case, consider your gifts at home. It adds a nice handmade touch that lets the other person know that you were thinking of them. And even if you’re on a time crunch, the gift ideas included below are simple and easy to do. They are unique, but practical gifts that can be whipped up quickly when you’re working against the clock. 

Bath Salts

After a long day at work, a hot soak in the tub with bath salts is perfect to relax and destress. Bath salts are known to have soothing properties and are used to relive muscle pain and aching joints. It’s good for your skin too, softening dry skin and removing dead skin cells. And as a plus, it’ll make your bathroom smell really nice. You can try this bath salt recipe by Amy Huntly from the Idea Room. For this you’ll need 3 cups of Epsom salts, 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of rock salt, and 4-5 drops of an essential oil of your choice. Also, you can choose to add 1-2 drops of  food coloring. Lavender, citrus, and rose are popular. 

  1. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. This is optional, but separate into different bowls before adding the color and scent to have 2-3 different choices to choose from.
  2. Leave the bath salts out to dry for 24 hours
  3. Put into decorative jars or containers. And as an extra touch, add a ribbon or another embellishment to complete the gift.

Sugar Scrub

Another skincare item that would make a great gift is a sugar scrub. It exfoliates and moisturizes skin, and naturally prevents skin aging. There are many different fragrances as well, with everything from floral to fruity smells. And there is a wide variety of different recipes out there too, depending on the scent you want to use. The process is more or less the same, and it usually takes less than ten minutes to make. If you’d like a Pina Colada sugar scrub, try this recipe by Heidi Kundin. The ingredients you’ll need are 1 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of Organic Coconut Oil, pineapple fragrance oil, and 3 drops of yellow food coloring. Of course, you can choose to substitute the pineapple fragrance with something else if its not to your liking. 

  1. Start by coloring your sugar and stir until they are completely combined. 
  2. Then add the coconut oil and the pineapple fragrance into the sugar and stir again.
  3. Place in a small container. Similar to the bath salts recipe, decorate the container however you like.


Even during non holiday months, scented candles are widely popular. But they can get pretty expensive though, some going for more than $30. By making it at home, you can save money and customize it for the person you’re giving it to. Use these step by step instructions by Kristin Marr from Live Simply for making homemade candles. You’ll need 4 cups of wax (soy flakes or beeswax pellets), 2 wicks (preferably with a metal base), dried herbs or essential oils, a small cooking pot, and a glass or metal bowl to melt the wax safely. You’ll also want to get 4 or 8 ounce heat-safe jars such as mason jars or jam jars. 

  1. Start by adding water to a saucepan or pot, about 1/2 way full. Place a heat-safe bowl either in the water or sitting on top of the pot, creating a double boiler. It keeps the wax from coming into contact with the heat, which could cause the wax to burn. 
  2. Place the soy flakes or beeswax pellets into the bowl. Turn the heat to medium-high, bringing the water in the saucepan to a lively simmer. Wait about 15 minutes for the wax to completely melt. 
  3. Once melted, place the 8-ounce mason jars on a towel and dip the metal part of the wicks in the hot wax. Place the metal base of the wick on the bottom of each 8-ounce candle jar. Use a clothespin or mechanical pencil (the clip portion works well) to secure the wick, placing the pin or pencil on top of the jar. 
  4. Pour the melted wax into the jars and add your essential oils or dried herbs.
  5. Allow the candle to solidify fully. This usually takes about 20 minutes or more.

One thing to remember is to allow the candle to “cure” for a day or so. It’s possible to burn your candles right away, but it’s best to let it set for a few days before using it. 


If you’d rather give your loved ones an edible gift, consider baking them some tasty treats. Everyone from kids to adults love desserts, so these sweet goods will be a hit regardless of who you give them too. And the best part is, you don’t have to be a professional baker to make these. These are simple recipes that take less than an hour to make.

Snowball Cookies

Snowball cookies by Lindsay Funston from Delish are perfect for feeling like you’re in a “Winter Wonderland.” This produces 30 cookies and takes 30 minutes total to make. You’ll need 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cup of walnuts (very finely chopped), 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, a pinch of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of butter (chopped and softened), and 1 cup of powdered sugar. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a large cookie sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, mix the flour, walnuts, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Add butter and use your hands to combine everything until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  2. Form dough into small balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. When they’re still warm but cool enough to touch, roll the cookies in powdered sugar.
  5. Set aside on a rack to cool completely, then dust again in powdered sugar.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint bark combines the sweetness of chocolate with the minty taste of candy canes. Those with a sweet tooth will surely appreciate this gift. Lauren Miyashiro’s recipe on Delish produces 12 servings and takes a total of 20 minutes to make. You’ll need 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate (chopped), 12 ounces of white chocolate (chopped), 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract and 8 candy canes (crushed).

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill the bottom of a large pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, then place a large heatproof bowl on top. Add semi-sweet chocolate and stir occasionally until chocolate has melted. Add the extract and stir. Pour into the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to set. 
  2. Over the same pot of barely simmering water, place another large heatproof bowl. Add white chocolate and stir until melted. Pour over set semi-sweet chocolate then top immediately with candy canes. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes. 
Snowball cookies. From Delish.com
Peppermint bark. From Delish.com
Bath salts. From 5.webp