Christmas is just around the corner and one sure sign of that is how bazaars and sales are happening left and right. But before you go spending all your money shopping for gifts, you may want to consider going the DIY (do-it-yourself) route. Not only can it help you save money, but it can also help you come up with a more personalized gift.

Here are some suggestions:

1. THEMED GIFT BASKETS. Gift baskets are readily available at the mall, but how about making one with a theme that the receiver would appreciate? Put together a pack of microwavable popcorn, chocolates, and a DVD of a old hit, and you’ve got a “movie night” basket. For ladies, a basket of footscrub, lotion, and nail polish will be a great “pamper-me” basket; while for guys, some cans of beer, chips, and a sports-themed (or any hobby) magazine would be a great mix. It may seem pricey at first look, but there are good brands that you can get for affordable prices. Hit the sale racks for the DVDs, or check out book stores that sell back issues of magazines at cheaper prices. Make sure to package the baskets according to the theme you’ve chosen so the receiver knows it was prepared especially for him/her.

2. BAKED GOODIES. Got some kitchen skills? Put them to good use by whipping up something yummy for your loved ones. Sweets like cakes, cookies, and chocolates are always a hit (and why December is really not a good time to diet!). There are nice boxes available in groceries and online, but make it extra special by adding a handwritten note for the intended receiver. Remember though that baked goodies have to be made close to the actual date that you intend to start giving gifts, to ensure the food’s freshness.

3. THE GIFT OF ‘EXPERIENCE’. A gift doesn’t have to be something all wrapped up in nice wrapping paper; what’s important is that it will be something that the recipient will appreciate and cherish. So why not give the gift of experience? It doesn’t have to be something grand. Why not bring a loved one to the university you went to and share with him the spots special to you, and share with him some anecdotes of your school life. Or why not take him to a museum or a park that he has always wanted to visit, but never had the chance to do so before? It’s all about spending quality time with someone you love. Don’t forget to take photos for a souvenir.

4. CRAFTY CREATIONS. Put your craft skills to good use by coming up with a handmade gift. Knit a scarf, design a jewelry, or make a personalized greeting card. The possibilities are endless when you’ve got the talent and time to work on a handmade gift. Design your gifts according to the person’s personality so he’ll know that it was made especially for him.

5. MEMORY BOX. This is a gift that would be especially ideal for older recipients like grandparents. Ask close friends and relatives to share their most treasured memory of the recipient – either ask them to write it down in a nice piece of paper, or type and print them yourself. It doesn’t have to be very long, just something meaningful. Put all the notes in a box that you’ve decorated yourself. Surely this will bring back happy memories for the recipient.

Lennie Arboleda Lennie Arboleda

Lennie Arboleda

Lennie is a former radio deejay and TV writer now dabbling in public relations and publishing. She enjoys ordinary things (a good book, a nice park, and a perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookie) and the extraordinary company of her loved ones (especially her seven-year old boy Sloan). Follow her life adventures on