3 Meaningful & Affordable Holiday Gifts

Tis the season for making gifts! 

One of my favorite things about the holidays is making meaningful gifts for my friends and family.  For a long time, I thought that meaningful meant each gift had to be unique to each person.

But then I realized that the things I love most are simple and not necessarily unique—a homemade cutting board and a framed photo are among two of my all-time favorite gifts.  What makes them meaningful is the love and thought instilled within them.

Another important thing: meaningful and affordable can easily go together.

One year, I wrote a poem for each person in my family and printed them with stamps into a simple booklet made of brown paper.  And it’s widely known that no matter what we give my Mom, she’ll love the card that goes with it most.  What I’m getting at here is that the intention behind the gift is what really makes it meaningful.

In that spirit, here are some of my favorite meaningful & affordable holiday gifts that you can make, too:

meaningful & affordable holiday gifts: birch candle holders

meaningful & affordable holiday gifts: birch candle holders

BIRCH CANDLE HOLDERS

The holidays are as much about lighting the dark as they are about gifts.  A few years ago we made these simple birch candle holders, fit for tea lights, and gave them as gifts at our annual Solstice celebration.

Normally, we don’t do presents on Solstice, but instead share a meal, read a poem, light candles, and set intentions for the year with each flame.  It just felt right to send everyone home with a piece of nature to hold the light.

These are easy to make: find a birch branch, cut it into desired lengths, and using a paddle-bit, drill a hole into the top.  For tea lights, we used a 1 1/2 inch paddle-bit.  Voila!  A natural candle holder.

a meaningful & affordable holiday gift: family photo album

PHOTO ALBUMS

Photo albums are my annual family gift.

Every December, I print out my favorite photos from the year and add them to our family albums.  Photo albums are one of my favorite things—I’ve loved them since I was a little girl, and love the way they tell the stories of our lives.

The birth and growth of our farm and our family are held in these photos.

Albums on a coffee table welcome people to pick them up, flip through and smile—so much more so than gathering around a computer.  It’s important to me that my 4 year old son knows where he came from, and that we can look at photos together snuggled on the couch without a screen.

{also: shutterfly always has great deals at the end of the year, so I get to print hundreds of photos without spending tons of money}.

meaningful & affordable holiday gifts: homemade greeting cards

HOMEMADE GREETING CARDS

Homemade greeting cards are one of my favorite things to give and receive!

Sweet reminders to send a note of thanks, love, or a simple hello throughout the year, homemade greeting cards also inspire me to find the beauty of what’s around me and to share it.

These are also easy to make: I don’t have a photo-quality printer at home, so I pick out the photos I want to turn into cards and email them to our local printer.  By the time I drive 30 minutes into town, they’re ready for me!  If you don’t have a local printer, try Staples or a similar store that offers printing services.


I’d love to know what you’re favorite holiday gifts are!  Let me know in a comment below, and have a lovely gift-making and giving season 🙂

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  1. I love the ideas mentioned in this post. So simple and very meaningful :). This year, I am pairing my photography and inspirational quotes in a custom layout. I will be giving the framed result as gifts. Happy Solstice to you and yours!

  2. We do all three of these! This year I am adding inspirational quotes on my photo note cards. Vistaprint also offers them and they have a recycled paper option.

    Thanks so much for all of your sharing.