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Connection Corner

Easy DIY gifts this holiday season

hands painting something gold

The old saying it is better to give than to receive is something that has always resonated with me. I love to give gifts and I especially love giving an item that I have created by hand. Making gifts can be time consuming, and with the holidays are upon us, time is running short to create any handmade items this season. To help, we have compiled some simple, quick ideas of gifts you can make for family and friends that don’t take much time at all to create.

  • Gifts from the Kitchen are a great way to share simple and delightful gifts. Spice mixes, pomander balls, herbal teas and potpourris are just a few of the wonderful ideas shared on this blog (with recipes included)
  • Food mixes in a jar are a favorite of mine as well (both to give and receive. North Dakota State University share some great recipes for treats both savory and sweet!
  • 4-H Holiday Guide has a collection of simple holiday activities can do with your kids, many of which could be given as gifts, including ornaments, stamped gift wrap, bath bombs and scarves.
  • If you have young children, handprint ornaments, drawings or poems are always a hit with grandparents and family members. Michigan State University Extension has a great recipe for salt dough ornaments (one of my all-time favorites), which includes a really good article from the NAEYC about how playing with dough can be beneficial to the development of young children.

No matter what you decide to create this year, if you give from your heart, your recipients will be excited to receive their special item. And if all of this is not enough to get you in the crafting spirit, there are also some documented health benefits to crafting, too!



Judy Schmidt provides leadership to 4-H metro programming in Peoria County. Schmidt joined Extension in 2001, working as a Youth Development Educator at the East Peoria Center and joined the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell unit in 2011. Her work focuses on 4-H youth development programming in the local metropolitan area, specifically leading positive youth development initiatives for after-school programs, community groups, 4-H clubs and other youth-serving organizations. Her areas of expertise include positive youth development principles, youth leadership, and work with teens as teachers.

Schmidt attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her bachelor's degree in psychology and also for her master's degrees in Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a certified facilitator of the Matrixx System/Real Colors program by the National Curriculum and Training Institute.


Connection Corner:  is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.