DIY Holiday Gifts

     By Andrea Staplesxmas tree

     As you flip your calendar to December, you realize that the holiday season has come upon us. Suddenly stress creeps in as you also realize that this time of year means lots of gifts… gifts that you need to get people. What is a poor high schooler to do?

     The holiday season consists of many different occasions in which people both celebrate the idea of family coming together and show gratefulness for each other by giving gifts. As teenagers in high school, most of us have a limited budget to buy gifts; even adults have a holiday budget.  However, there is a loophole to this dilemma: DIY (do it yourself) holiday gifts.

     DIY holiday gifts can be both inexpensive as well as very sentimental for whoever receives them. “I prefer to make the gift instead of buying just one thing because I find it is more thoughtful and I have gotten wonderful reactions,” says Kathy Hessefort. Hessefort is the mother of two with a large extended family and has always chosen to make personalized gift baskets every year around the holidays. Hessefort further notes” I usually purchase the supplies at different types of stores and specialty shops. I try to match things in the basket to a certain theme that I have selected for that person. I pick up baskets at many yard sales and antique shops, which turns out to be very inexpensive and convenient.”

     There are numerous ideas for DIY gifts all over the internet, but some students such as Sophie Graff (‘18) have select favorites. “My favorite was when I made t-shirts and pillow cases for some friends with inside jokes on them,” states Graff. She also noted that she likes gift baskets because they are versatile, as well as making photo albums. Graff has many siblings and finds that DIY gifts are the easiest and least expensive option.

     People also enjoy home baked goods for gifts. Nick Ricciardi, Oyster River High School’s Culinary teacher suggests making Jam Thumbprint Cookies, which can be found at http:/// Ricciardi notes that this recipe is good for high school students with minimal baking experience saying “What can be cheaper and easier than using butter, sugar, vanilla, and flour.” The recipe is simple, having the main ingredients as those stated by Ricciardi and other ingredients including salt, one egg, flaked coconut (Riccardi said that nuts can be used instead), and jam.

     DIY gifts aren’t the only crafty activity you can do during the holiday season; you can also make DIY decorations as gifts. Lily-Grace York (‘17) who attends Coe-Brown Northwood Academy hopes to one day become an interior designer. “I like the fact that it is a way of expressing yourself through the medium of any space. The interiors of rooms can create different moods depending on how it is visually appealing to the person looking at it,” states York.

     You may ask, ‘How could I make decorations as gifts?’ and York with her expertise has all of the answers, Some of York’s favorite inexpensive and easy DIY decorations include making ornaments. “I hang ornaments from Christmas trees, the ceiling, drawer knobs, mirrors, etc. Cut out paper ornaments are always easy if you have pretty scrapbook paper. Even getting pretty ribbon and tying bows to hang around your room would be decorative. All of these ideas would be really quick and easy to do, and you could add your personal touch to them,” says York.

     Overall, DIY gifts have become very popular around the holidays and xmas diythey have many benefits. “It depends on your relationship with the person because the closer you are to a person, the more appreciated the gift is. I think friends just appreciate the fact that you remembered to get them something,” says Graff. If you’re interested in more DIY Holiday gifts and decorations a great website that includes many different ideas is:, As far as supplies, Michaels, an arts and crafts retail chain has a store in Portsmouth as well as Epping. Happy Holidays!

Photo Credit: Lily-Grace York