Want to avoid the mall, save some money and give a gift that's really personal?

Liz Toohey-Wiese

Liz Toohey-Wiese is a Vancouver artist who works at Collage Collage, a crafts studio on Main Street. (Mieke Van Delft)

Vancouver artist Liz Toohey-Wiese says that with a little planning, anyone can make a meaningful homemade gift.

"It's so simple to look up things online, or find tutorials online, or take a workshop," said Toohey-Wiese. who works at crafts studio Collage Collage on Main Street.

"There's so many workshops going on this year, that I've seen homemade canning workshops, there's lots of cooking and baking workshops, there's art workshops."

Here are her top five do-it-yourself holiday gift ideas.

1. Handmade cards

"This one is easy. Every year I print my drawings or paintings onto Christmas cards. But you can use your own doodles, photographs, Instagram posts, you name it!


Collection of cozy cabin cards made by Liz Toohey-Wiese. (Liz Toohey-Wiese.)

You can make multiple Christmas cards all at once, and your friends and family are really going to appreciate the extra-personalized touch to their cards this year. Print them out on cardstock at home, or go to your favourite local print shop and get some professionals to help you out."

2. Mini woven ornaments


A collection of the Toohey-Wiese's handmade woven ornaments. (Liz Toohey-Wiese)

"I am a weaver, but the pieces I make in my art practice take a bit too long to give to everyone on my list! This year I am making mini woven ornaments for everyone. I can't wait to see these guys hanging on my friends and family's trees, and they are simple enough anyone can learn to make them! Here is an easy tutorial I found online.

3. Snow globe

snow globe

Collage Collage’s snow globe kit in action. (Collage Collage)

"This one is for my nieces! This is a kit so the kids can make their own snow globe, it ups the handmade factor since the recipient makes the snow globe themselves! A mason jar is filled with modeling clay, a plastic animal and tree, and lots and lots of glitter. This gift is good for ages 3 to 103! This would be an easy project to make yourself, or grab one of the kits from Collage Collage which has everything included!"

4. Food

"My favourite food gifts usually come as homemade canned goods: smoked salmon or antipasto dip. Homemade cookies have been given around a lot in my family, learn someone's favourite recipe and package them up!

Homemade foods

Homemade foods can make a great gift, Liz Toohey-Wiese says. (Getty Images)

Another idea is to make an IOU for one special homemade dinner (through experience I have learned this is an especially good present for us children to give to our parents!). I'm pretty sure you'll have nicer memories from those experiences than anything you got at the mall.

5. The gift of learning

"Don't know how to make anything handmade that your friends and family would love? Treat yourself to a workshop and learn a new skill, or give a workshop as a gift to the person who has everything! Just last week my Mom taught me how to make Christmas wreaths, a skill she learned from a workshop given to her 20 years ago!"


New weavers learning the ropes at a Weaving 101 workshop, hosted by Toohey-Wiese. (Liz Toohey-Wiese)

"Learning a new skill can grow exponentially in that way, and that's what I love about them. Can't think of a better time of year to make things with your hands with the people you love! I'm teaching weaving classes in the new year in Vancouver, Victoria, and Squamish. Sign up for one, or check out these other workshops happening at my favourite Vancouver crafty DIY shop, Collage Collage!

To listen to the full audi, click the link labelled: 5 Christmas DIY ideas.