Our neighbors and family friends usually receive the standard DIY basket of Christmas goodies. I usually do sugar cookies, Tiger Butter (peanut butter/ white chocolate/ milk chocolate fudge), peppermint bark, graham toffee, peanut brittle, and roasted pecans (with the amount of pecan trees on our family farm, these are a staple around our house during the holidays, and really easy to make). For the homes with dogs, I usually add a few more things with recipes from the Three Dog Bakery cookbook including either the Oatmeal Purebred Bread or Barkin' Bread, Fiesta Bones, Fleas Navidad Nibblers, Hannukah Noshers, and Yappy New Year Yum Yums. Yes, those are the actual recipe names. I also make a huge batch of the Party Hearty Mix-It-Up Mix to keep on hand for when people visit with their dogs... plus our girls get to enjoy it, too! All of the recipes for dogs are all-natural and people can eat them, too. My friend's brother actually ate some of the Barkin' Bread last year with cream cheese and thought it was amazing... until I told him it was for their labs.
If you'd like any of those recipes, let me know and I'll be happy to share. I may change the recipes up a little this year because I just got my second dog cookbook. Yes, my girls are very spoiled. The upside is that we usually don't have to buy treats again until sometime in March because these (not including the bread) keep for a while in an airtight container.
My second DIY project this year is going to be painted ornaments. As I've mentioned before, I love monogrammed everything, so I decided I wanted to do monogrammed ornaments for my family this year. I think simple clear glass balls painted with cute designs in fun color combinations will add a new layer to our tree this year. This is a very budget-friendly project. You don't have to go with just clear glass, but I think it'll be easier than trying to coordinate colors with one another.
Our tree is a hodge-podge of Hallmark ornaments collected over the last 25 or so years (my grandmother owned a Hallmark store when I was little, everyone got an entire shopping bag full of new ornaments every year, not to mention the ones we scored during after Christmas clearance sales), priceless vintage ornaments, ballerinas from all the years I danced, personalized puppy ornaments (our tradition is that each member of the family gets a new ornament each year, including the puppies), memorial ornaments like the airplane I buy each year to remember my Daddy, crystal ornaments, fun stained glass or feathered ornaments from Target... each ornament means something to us. I think ornaments are one of the easiest ways to dress up a present as well as add an additonal layer to the present. Pick out paper and ribbon that coordinate with the ornament and then tie the ornament into the ribbon when you wrap the present.
I'll post pictures of the finished projects, at least the ones I personalize for me and my family that won't be part of gifts.