Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

A DIY Christmas

DIY Christmas

Sweeping generalisations aside, there are two types of people at Christmas – those who are sitting comfortably at home on Christmas Eve enjoying the festive celebrations having completed their shopping long ago, and those frantically running around a shopping centre in search of last-minute gifts that may or may not be enjoyed or even used.

If you’re one of the latter and you’re struggling for gift ideas, why not go down the DIY route? They’re often fun to make, are usually inexpensive, and you might just get some kudos for the additional thought, effort and personalisation.

So where to start?

Spa in a jar

Gifts in a jar are a great DIY option and they’re very easy to make. If you’ve got a loved one who enjoys relaxation and pampering, grab a mason or Kilner-style jar (check out IKEA or Home store & More) and fill it full of spa goodies (check out Penneys and Boots).

Travel items come in a handy size, and you can add items like bath bombs, lip balm, a nail file, a mini candle or two, an eye mask, nail polish, Epsom salts or even a gift card to a beauty store. Add a colourful ribbon and you’re onto a winner!

Message on a mug

Possibly better as a stocking filler than a main present, personalised mugs are a great way to show your knowledge of a person and their coffee drinking habits. They’re also much better than the store-bought versions, which are usually either far too twee or quite unsafe for work.

All you need is a blank mug (head for IKEA again), a permanent marker and some imagination (or a stencil). A Beautiful Mess has got the instructions. Wrap up a few of their favourite chocolates or sweets inside using cellophane and a little ribbon for extra brownie points.


Chess sets aren’t the first thing that would pop into your head for a DIY gift – you can always buy a cheap set somewhere. However, there are one or two methods that anybody can tackle to make a quirky set with a personalised twist for the chess lover in your life.

For the pieces, head to your local hardware store and pick up a few nuts, bolts and washers of various shapes and sizes, coated with a little bit of felt on the bottom to protect your board. Flickr user Julia Suits has got a handy photographic guide, or check out YouTuber Emer Ireland’s version.

For the board itself, print a chess board template and fix it to a solid base, follow Popular Mechanicsmethod of making your own wooden version, pick up a relatively cheap option at Argos, Smyths or Amazon, or search for second-hand boards on

A touch of green

Terrariums are a great little gift for nature lovers, the perfect way to add a splash of colour to a home or workspace. Basically an aquarium for plants that is very low maintenance, you can make them in all sorts of shapes and sizes ranging from hollowed out light bulbs to glass bowls. We particularly like the sound of mini terrariums housed in repurposed spice jars.

Check out Red Handled Scissors’ guide or, if you want something a little different, see Buzzfeed’s list of DIY terrarium ideas.

When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.