Expect the Unexpected: DIY "Oops!" Gifts

Expect the Unexpected: DIY "Oops!" Gifts

We've all been there-- the holiday party you forgot was that night, the teacher you left off your shopping list, the random neighbor who you've never exchanged gifts before with suddenly on your doorstep with a tin full of fudge (what is her name?  Susan?  Sharon?  Sally?) — that “oops!” moment where you wish you had more to grab than a holiday box of Triscuits from the pantry and the bow off of that old birthday present.  (I saw it and I thought of you-- I know how much you love...things that are square...)

Adding a couple of “oops!" gifts to your general list can really help cut down on the stress (and awkwardness) of the holiday season and keep you feeling like you’re on top of things.  You can, of course, scan the store shelves for some good generic presents to have on hand (if you need some inspiration, look through our recent post on Ten Tips for the Ultimate Dirty Santa Party Gift here.)  If you want to go the DIY route, though, here are some fairly simple options (several of which can be kept after the holidays if not needed and used for other “oops!" gift occasions throughout the year):


This Peaches and Cream Soap from Happiness is Homemade is very pretty and brings to mind thoughts of summertime... add a nice ribbon and it’s ready to go!


This homemade limoncello (with printable labels) from The Cottage Market is not only tasty but looks like something straight out of an artisan shop.  Be aware that it does take at least ten days to let this sit so the vodka can soak up the flavor of the lemons (but so worth it!!) 


In the middle of winter, there’s nothing quite like soaking in a warm tub and luxuriating with some bath time additives like these bath bombs from Inspired by Charm (see here for a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own).


If you want something that can hit the generic-yet-custom jackpot, try your hand at this hand-painted chalkboard mug featured on Wit and Whistle (once you have your mug ready to go with the chalkboard paint, you can quickly write the recipient’s name, a holiday message, or whatever you like and make it look like you’ve been planning that gift for them for months.) 


These fun ornaments from My Sweet Savannah made from Scrabble tiles are a unique (and thrifty) way to spread some holiday cheer (and no, you don’t have to loot the pieces from your own Scrabble game to make it... Amazon sells packs of tiles like this one that allow you to craft to your heart’s content without sacrificing that coveted triple word score at the next game night). 


These homemade heat packs (using rice and essential oils) from Fellow Fellow engage two senses at once and allow you to customize the fabric and scent to suit your personal style. 


If you have a favorite holiday beverage, consider adding one of these holiday bottle labels from The Elli Blog (free printable templates!) or maybe even make one with your family’s name, etc (e.g. “Happy Holidays from the Johnson Family!") for a customized gift:


A visually appealing option that leaves a lot of room for creativity is to grab some Mason jars and create some gifts using them as packaging that is both pretty and functional.   

This plan for Ultimate Brownies in a Jar from Call Me Cupcake basically takes a (super yummy!) brownie recipe and (except for the butter and eggs) layers it in a Mason jar for a beautiful ready-to-make-and-eat gift. 

If you prefer to do all the baking yourself, check out these scrumptious DIY cupcakes in a jar from My Cakies:

If you want to expand past edible presents but still utilize the Mason jar option, check out these "Everything in a Jar" gift ideas (and printable labels) from The Gunny Sack:  


The holidays have a LOT going on and it's easy to suddenly get caught in a tight spot gifts-wise, but with just a little extra planning, you can set yourself up to avoid any of the stress caused by those "oops!" moments... then when Susan-Sharon-Sally rings your doorbell, you can breathe easy.