As much as possible we give handmade. In fact as I type, my husband is out in the garage working on a climbing wall that he”s building for our daughter (she”s going to love it!).

Many of our homemade gifts involve sewing, but since I know that”s not everyone”s cup of tea, I wanted to share a couple of no-sewing-required gift ideas. One is an annual tradition, and the other is one of my favorite homemade children”s gifts.

Everyone Loves Food

I love to give home-cooked or home-baked food for Christmas. It doesn”t clutter up a house and it”s bound to put a smile on its recipient”s face as it fills their tummy.

A couple of years ago, we made Chai Snickerdoodle cookies (you”ll have to google the recipe because this was in the dark, pre-Pinterest days) and filled up embellished, empty Trader Joe”s chai tins to give as gifts. They turned out super cute, and yummy.

Every year I continue my mom”s tradition of banana (nut) chocolate chip bread. I bake it in small loafs and then wrap it up with a bow to give to friends, neighbors, teachers and family members. It”s a family favorite that I”ve gradually been modifying over the years (maybe I”ll try it with honey or coconut palm sugar this year?). I thought I”d share my recipe, in case you”re looking for a new quickbread.

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Bread

Makes 2 large or 4-5 small loaves

2 bananas cut & mashed –about 1 cup (I keep overripe ones in the freezer to use- just thaw in microwave and mash)
1 cup sugar (evaporated cane juice sugar)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla


2 cup flour (half unbleached white, half wheat)
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda


1 cup chocolate chips (try grain-sweetened!)
1 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts

  1. Beat together first set of ingredients with electric mixer. Then mix second set of ingredients in separate bowl and add all at once to wet ingredients.
  2. Then add chips and nuts (optional). Don’t overmix!
  3. Grease pans, and pour batter into pans.
  4. Bake at 350° 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool before removing from pans.

Eat, give away or store in fridge (also freezes very well, too).

For the Little One in Your Life

Last year I wanted to make something for my daughter that incorporated family photos– much of our extended family lives far away and she loves looking at pictures of all of them. At three, she was also just starting to get interested in games. I ended up making this game for both her and my niece.

The Family Photo Memory Game

The basics:

I printed out wallet-sized photos of all the family members in pairs and attached them to scrapbook paper. Then I took the cards to my local teacher supply store and laminated them in a big sheet that I could then simply cut apart. It doesn”t matter how many cards you make as long as there”s two of each.

I made a little zipper pouch to hold them, but if you want to go no-sew, this would be a great opportunity to repurpose

  • a mason or applesauce jar
  • an oatmeal carton
  • an old drawstring gift bag
  • a decorated cardboard box from a box of granola/cereal bars
  • or even a plastic baggie

Add a simple explanation of rules to the set and it”s good to go! Easy peasy and my daughter loved it.

What”s your favorite no-sew homemade gift that you”ve made or plan to make?