DIY Holiday Gifts If You’re Short On Time or Money

If you are strapped for time or cash, consider taking a DIY approach to holiday gifts. Each of these took only a few minutes to put together, cost very little (most of the ingredients are probably in your pantry already), and didn’t depend on 2-day shipping. Bonus: They can all be completed in like, 5 minutes. Swing by your local craft store to get a few adorable jars and some festive ribbon.

1. Compound Butter


Compound butter is a ~fancy~ term for butter with some stuff mixed into it. Whether spreading on toast, tossing with pasta, or melting onto steaks, compound butter thas a Garlic and herbs are traditional, but I took a spicier approach.

I happened to have a few dried red peppers that I chopped very finely, but any sort of crushed red pepper will do.


Heads up: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase any items, I may make a commission at no cost to you. I only endorse products I know and love!

Hot Chili Butter


  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1-2 Tbsp crushed red pepper (depending on your tolerance for spice)
  • A few twists of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients until fully incorporated. Place in a jar. (Yes, that’s it!)

2. Seasoned Salt or Spice Blends

Do you have a signature spice blend that you use for ribs? Do you swear by a secret combination of herbs and spices to make great roasted veggies? Gift it to your friends! I made an all-purpose salt that would be great on chicken, popcorn, or anything.



Lemon Pepper Salt


  • Zest of two lemons
  • A few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
  • A few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • A few sprigs of thyme, stems removed

Combine all ingredients until fully incorporated. Place in a jar. (You’ll notice a theme.)

(I found some nifty spice jars at a craft store, but they are also available here.)

3. Pancake Mix

If you’re staying with loved ones this holiday season, give the gift of making breakfast in a snap to your hosts. Pancake mix in jar puts all of the dry ingredients together, just add milk, egg, and melted butter. You can use your favorite recipe or this one – just don’t forget to give the recipient the instructions!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Ingredients for the jar:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp powdered peanut butter (like PB2)
  • ¼-⅓ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ Tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients until fully incorporated. Place in a jar. (Mhm.)


To complete the recipe:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted

Combine all wet ingredients, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. (There still may be a few lumps.) Pour onto a hot griddle; flip when bubbles start to form on top – this should only take a few minutes. Cook on the other side until golden brown. Enjoy!


Recipes from elsewhere:

If pancakes aren’t your thing, try these scones in a jar. (Extra Crispy)

Give the bakers in your life some homemade vanilla extract. This can take a while, but can be made faster with the right tools! (Frieda Loves Bread)

Level up your hot cocoa game with some custom marshmallows. (Country Living)

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