Making gifts can save money, but also shows you put thought and a personal touch into your gift. As Christmas nears and time runs out, try these easy-to-make gifts.

Log candles. Have a tree branch or old log nearby with some nice shape and character? Get out the saw and make some rustic candleholders. After chopping it into sizes you find manageable and sanding the top and bottom, you’ll need a spade bit to drill a hole in the top large enough to hold a tea light. Add some green paint for a mossy look or glitter up your log. This post gives you more detail. And let your creativity trump your time and money – you might have post or beam remnants that work well, too. Stain the wood and add a stencil or other decorative touch.

Matches in a jar. Or toothpicks in a vintage can. The idea is to spruce up and personalize your gift. If you know your recipient loves those plastic coffee stirs, place a nice bunch of them in a quart-sized mason jar and add a coffee-colored ribbon. Or paint a fun saying about her morning brew on the outside. Vintage cans always are attractive on kitchen counters to hold toothpicks or a few bags of your friend’s favorite tea. Add ribbon to match her kitchen décor or some burlap string and Christmas cheer.

Personalized coffee cup or candle holder. With a colored or metallic Sharpie, you can add permanent interest to an otherwise plain ceramic mug or candle holder. It’s easy to include your recipient’s name and some geometric shapes. How about a few words of morning inspiration or a favorite saying? If you know a favorite song lyric or movie quote, you can make a personalized statement on one or all sides of the mug or candle holder. If you have some extra time, you can melt your own beeswax in a candle holder, or simply buy a small candle to fit inside.

A tisket, a basket… Baskets are perfect gifts, because everyone can find a use for them. You can fill a basket with a few small themed items meant just for your friend or family member. For example, fill a foodie’s basket with a few flavored cooking oils, exotic spices and an unusual kitchen gadget. Throw in a gourmet recipe printed on Christmas-themed paper or card stock and you don’t even need a bow! Other ideas are accessory, kitchen, gardening or bath baskets.

Or make the basket the gift. Take a square woven basket and four attractive tea towels, each about the size of a basket side. Drape each towel over a side, so that it lines the inside and outside of the basket. Add a grommet to the outer corner of each towel and tie them together with burlap or ribbon to match your color or theme. And of course, you can still add a few goodies to the inside if you like, including your favorite Christmas cookie or candy.

Make that plastic. If you need to give to a guy at the last minute, swap out the basket for a plastic carry-all tray or 5-gallon bucket from the home improvement store. Fill it with a few practical items he seldom buys for himself, such as shop towels and batteries. Throw in some homemade cookies or baked goods.

Make some coasters. Coasters are easy to make or personalize. You can cut linen to coaster size and gently thread the edges to make a fringe. Stack and glue a few pieces together for a sturdier coaster. Or take plain, inexpensive wooden or cork coasters and add some flare with stencils and paint (or a paint pen). Whatever clever idea for coasters you come up with, take time to tie them up with a pretty ribbon, maybe adding a package of hot cocoa or apple cider mix and cinnamon stick.

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