Quick and Easy Gifts for the Holidays

No matter how early I start thinking about handmade holiday gifts, I always seem to run out of time. All through September and October, I consider making homemade jams, quilted table runners, and handmade cards. But what I really need are ideas for quick and easy gifts. Here are few fast yet simple ideas I’m considering this year.

From the Garden

We plant a few vegetables and herbs every spring. And I’m always sad when the first frost kills off my basil and oregano. Consider transplanting a few of your favorite herbs into indoor pots before Old Man Winter gets them. You’ll have a few weeks to nurture them into holiday-gift-worthy herb gardens.

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Herb garden; Photo by YinYang/Getty Images

If the idea of making homemade jam scares you right out of the kitchen, consider turning your summer fruit harvest into freezer jam instead. Strawberries make the best freezer jam, but you can also use raspberries, blueberries, peaches, or a combination of fruits. Freezer jam is simple to make, and you’ll spend a fraction of the time you would on canning. You can easily make enough to get your family through the winter — and have plenty of extra to give away.

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Freezer jam; Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Quick Quilts

I love to give quilted items as gifts. I’ve made a fair number of baby quilts over the years, and I recently made a quilt for my daughter before she left for college and another quilt for my mom’s 75th birthday.

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My daughter’s quilt; my mom’s quilt

However, I don’t always have the time for a full quilt — or even a quilted table runner or set of placemats. A couple of quick and easy alternatives are rag quilts and tied quilts.

Rag quilts work up much more quickly than traditional quilts, because they are typically made from larger squares. (No teeny triangles or futzy curves to deal with!) In addition, the raw edges of the fabric are intentionally exposed so that they will fray. This means you can be far less meticulous in your sewing than when making a conventional quilt.

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Rag quilt; tied quilt. Rag quilt photo by Lightguard/Getty Images; Tied quilt photo courtesy of The Quilting Company

A tied quilt is actually more of a blanket than a quilt, usually made of fleece. Tied quilts are very fast and simple to make. You just cut two rectangles of fleece the same size, cut a 3″ square out of each corner, cut 3″ slits about 1″ apart along all the edges of both pieces of fabric, then tie the fringes together in a double knot to join the front and back of the blanket.

Both of these ideas make for quick and easy gifts, with all the love of a handmade item but far less work than an actual quilt.

Handmade Cards

To really impress your friends and family this holiday season, send handmade cards! Just pick up some scrapbooking paper, white cardstock, and stamping supplies, then let your imagination take over. To add a bit more pizzazz, consider coloring in some of the stamped design, attaching die-cut elements, or adding a ribbon, yarn, or washi tape border.

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Making handmade cards. Top photos courtesy of Pixabay; bottom photo by LightFieldStudios/Getty Images

Quick and Easy Gifts: Beaded Jewelry

Handmade jewelry is always a welcome gift. If you’re looking for quick and easy beading ideas, check out our latest eBook, 10 Quick & Easy Bead Weaving Patterns. This eBook features 5 bracelets, 3 necklaces, and 2 earring designs that are sure to please everyone on your holiday gift list.

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10 Quick & Easy Bead Weaving Patterns

And for a truly quick and easy gift, get the Faux Wrap Bracelet Kit. This design uses seed beads, SuperDuos, and Minos par Puca beads to create a 3-strand bracelet that mimics the trendy wrap styles.

Do you have other quick and easy gift ideas? We’d love to hear them! Please tell us in the comments, or post a note on the Beading Daily Facebook page.

Happy beading!
Lavon Peters
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine

Featured Image: Quick and easy gifts for the holidays. Minos Faux Wrap Bracelet; herb garden (photo by YinYang/Getty Images); freezer jam (photo courtesy of Pixabay); rag quilt (photo by Lightguard/Getty Images); making handmade cards (photo by LightFieldStudios/Getty Images)

Find more quick and easy beading projects in the Interweave Store!


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