If you have more time than money—or simply love to give and receive homemade gifts—here are our best ideas that cost less than $10. Who knows? With a chance to stay away from the crowded malls you might just find yourself with extra holiday spirit—and cash, too—to take you into the new year. And wouldn't that be nice.

Family Cookbook
Gather up your family's best-loved recipes and create a family cookbook. Then make copies of it for family members on your list. There are many software programs available for entering your recipes that even calculate nutritional information based on the ingredients.

Add illustrations; scan old family photos of the person who is known for making the recipe to include on a particular page. Add a section for birthdays and addresses, too.

For more detailed instructions including Internet resources, see "Holiday Head Start," Family Cookbook, DPL, July ‘04, page 4.

Picture Cube
This is a perfect gift for just about anyone—grandparents, dad, children, teachers, teens and friends of same. The secret is in your selection of photos. They can be whimsical or memorable.

You'll need four wooden cubes, 1.5 inches in diameter, decoupage medium like Mod Podge (available at any craft store); and six photographs. Cut the pictures into a 3x3-inch square, and then cut the square into four equal pieces (1.5-inch square each).

Following the instructions on the jar of medium, decoupage one side of each block and stick on the picture. Rotate the cubes and repeat for all six sides. When dry cover all the sides with decoupage medium. This may take some time because you have to wait for surfaces to dry before you can turn them to do the remaining sides.

Spa Set
Give all the stressed-out folks on your gift list the gift of relaxation. Make your own bath products and then assemble them in a nice basket.

Bath Salts.
1 cup Epsom salts, 1 cup sea or rock salt, 20 drops fragrance oil, food coloring. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until fully combined and color is even.

Bath Oil. 1/2 cup almond oil, 1/2 cup castor oil or aloe vera, the oil from 6-8 Vitamin E capsules, 25-30 drops fragrance oil. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with wooden spoon until combined.

Bubble Bath. Mix 3 cups clear, mild dishwashing detergent; the oil from 6-8 Vitamin E capsules, 1/4 cup glycerin,
25-30 drops fragrance oil, food coloring.

Salt Scrub. Mix together Epsom salts and enough almond oil (better) or baby oil (cheaper) to resemble very wet snow. Add aromatherapy oil for fragrance and soap colorant if you desire.

Place your spa products in individual bottles or small jars and decorate with ribbons, labels and or embellishments. Add store-bought items such as a wash cloth, pumice stone, loofah, or whatever you choose.

Stepping Stone
Garden stepping stones are easy to make with a small amount of ready-mix concrete from the home improvement center. No need to buy expensive kits at craft stores, just look for a decorative mold to use. To make a round stone use an old ice cream bucket. Coat with Vaseline before pouring in the ready-mix. When it has set the stone will slip out easily.

Follow the instructions on the ready-mix bag. Pour in about 1.5 inches of cement. When the consistency is right, have your child put in his footprints and or handprints. Add the date if you wish, and decorate with various seashells, marbles, mosaic tiles, and so on.

Coffee Lover's Basket
Have a coffee lover on your list? Here are a few ideas to include in a gift basket for any java junkie:
Chocolate-dipped plastic spoons with sprinkles and a bow for decoration. Add a box of chocolate-dipped cookies or home-made biscotti. Make your own home-made dessert coffee mixes:

1/4 cup instant coffee
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar

Café au Lait

1/4 cup instant coffee
1/2 cup dry milk
1/2 cup sugar


1/4 cup instant coffee
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice

For all the mixes above, combine ingredients then store in a tightly covered jar for up to 6 months. For each serving, place 2 teaspoons mix in cup. Fill with boiling water.

Grandparent's Calendar
This is a gift sure to be joyfully received by grandparents and other family members, too.

Using a computer program, print off calendar months on 8.5x11 cardstock. On the blank backsides decorate with your kids' artwork, photos, poems and clip art. Add birthdays marked on the appropriate dates and other memorable occasions, too.

Bring the finished pages to your local library to laminate (most will allow you to use the laminating machine provided you bring your own materials) or quick copy store and bind them together. This is great for grandparents, but can be modified for any member of the family or for friends.

For detailed instructions including Internet resources for the calendar pages, see "Holiday Head Start," Family Calendar, DPL, July ‘04, page 4.

No-Sew Fleece Blanket
Choose polar fleece in an appropriate pattern, sports team, juvenile character, jungle print, plaid, solid or other motif at a fabric or craft store. Baby blankets require about 3/4 yard; you'll want a yard or more for adults and older children. Because fleece is quite wide (60 inches is typical) one yard makes a nice size. You can make a heavier blanket by layering two fabric panels or a lighter-weight blanket by using one layer only. Cut about 2.5-inch strips on the edges and tie them together to add fringe. Polar fleece never frays, even with washing.