The holidays are finally here, and let’s admit it, we all have a lot less money than we initially planned. Somehow spending lots of time and money at our local watering holes seemed like a much wiser outlet for our earnings. Prepared or not, we’ve come up with the perfect holiday DIY guide to help keep the costs down whether you’re attending or hosting the festivities this time of year.

1.    Eat Me

Half the reason we even go to most of these events is for the food, and since it’s a time of giving, we probably shouldn’t show up empty handed.

Check out these cool popcorn toppings, most of which you can probably find in your cupboards.

  • Smoked paprika and parsley
  • Pesto and Parmesan
  • Hot sauce
  • Ramen flavoring packet (any flavor)
  • Kraft Mac and Cheese powder
  • Homemade Ranch packet
  • Chili seasoning mix

2.    Drink Me

Turn champagne into a festive cocktail by first adding cotton candy, and then pouring champagne and Perrier over it. The result is a pink, fizzy drink that is not only fun for everyone to make, but doesn’t taste half bad either.

If you’re feeling extra fancy and somewhat sophisticated try this recipe for warm spiced wine.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 bottle of red or white wine
  • 4 cups of spiced water (1/2 tsp. ginger, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cardamom pods, 6 cloves)
  • 3 tbsp. of honey

Directions: Boil spiced water for 15 minutes and refrigerate overnight. Add wine, boil for 30 minutes. Remove the spices, add garnish and done!

3.    Give Me

You don’t have to spend a whole paycheck on someone for your gift to matter. While DIY may be more time consuming, it’s cost effective and these DIY “Surprise Balls” are a testament to that.

What You’ll Need:

  • Fine crepe paper in 10 colors
  • 10 assorted nostalgic candy and toys
  • Dresden trim or glitter (optional)
  • Quick drying glue

Cut each colored paper into three, 1-inch strips. When selecting the toys and candy pick an assortment of sizes and shapes, from larger round-shaped items, to smaller flat ones.

Start by wrapping the largest object, work in a crisscross pattern to cover the most surface area. After each strip add a dab of glue. After you’ve wrapped three strips of one color, add another gift, and so on. Save the flatter items for the last few wraps. After three or four gifts your ball should start taking form.

Finish the ball with thinner strips and Dresden trim.

4.    Surf Me

Okay, this Disco Surfboard may not be for everyone; actually, it may not be for anyone, but we still think it’s pretty cool.

What You’ll Need:

  • A (wax free) surfboard
  • Weldbond adhesive
  • 1,200 1”x1” square mirror tiles

Make sure your board is completely clean and then glue 1,200 tiny-mirrored tiles to it. It’s extremely tedious, but we promise the person you’re giving it to will love it.

5.    Wrap it Up

Tired of the same red and green wrapping paper every year? Use your leftover paper grocery bags and some neon paper to spice up your gift packaging. You can download the bow template and learn how to make the bows at

6.    Get Festive

Can’t afford a real Christmas tree, or just don’t have the time or space to decorate? Take some black electrical tape and outline a Christmas tree on whichever wall you’d prefer to sit under and open presents. To get a little more into the spirit, grab a pair of white Christmas lights and hang them on your 2-D tree.