Teacher, Hostess, or Neighbor Gift Ideas - 12 DIYS of Christmas

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Do you have some special people in your life who deserve a little something this holiday season? Whether you are making gifts for teachers, coworkers, neighbors, or family, I've got an idea for you. Here are 3 different homemade ideas ranging from effortless to impressive for you to make this Christmas!

Holiday Scented Pot-Pourri


1 orange

1 cup cranberries

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

16 inch Wilton disposable piping bags

bows of your choice

The ingredients above will make 1 batch of pot-pourri. As an Amazon affiliate, I may make a commission on items purchased using my links at no additional cost to you.

This is the easiest gift ever! You might as well make some for yourself! Simply layer the ingredients into the piping bag saving the orange for last. I chose to put in the nutmeg, cloves, then cranberries, and then I slid the cinnamon sticks down the side to be sure they were visible from the front. You'll want to twist the top tight and secure with string or a twist-tie. These bows came with a wire twist tie attached so they were perfect for this project.

If you or your giftees have never heard of pot-pourri, you simply slice the orange, add 1-2 cups of water and simmer over low heat and enjoy the beautiful aroma of Christmas in your home for hours on end! Add water as needed!

Homemade Apple Butter

This is another super easy gift idea that only requires a few ingredients, a slow cooker, and some patience. Add some cute recycled jars and bows to it and you've got a show-stopping homemade gift!

I used this recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker with the following changes:

  1. I used Fuji apples.

  2. I did not peel the apples, I simply cored and sliced them.

  3. I didn't have one full cup of brown sugar so I used 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup regular sugar.

I usually read anywhere from 3-10 different recipes before I start something and these were all things that I saw in other recipes so I knew they would be okay. I ended up going with the recipe linked above because it called for 5 lbs of apples and that's exactly how much apples I had to use!

Hand-Dipped Caramel Apples

Let me first warn you that this DIY is not quite as simple as the other two. If you've never made caramel apples before, you should know there are a lot of things going on at once and the likelihood of one of them going wrong is high. As you can see in my before shot above, I had a lovely bowl of milk chocolate. However in the final pics of the finished caramel apples, there is no milk chocolate in sight, only caramel and white chocolate.

I am not a baker. I have had many baking accidents in my life time. Sometimes I make the most amazing desserts and sometimes I go into something super confidently and end up with a disaster on my hands.

I truly thought this was going to be a disaster because I ruined 2 WHOLE BAGS of milk chocolate during the melting process. I have definitely melted chocolate before with no problems, but not on this day. As it turns out, the apples were still beautiful with only caramel, white chocolate, and pecans and, if I do say so myself, THEY WERE DELICIOUS!

I will try melting chocolate again soon for another project (I've looked up some tips) and I'll let you know how it goes!


Granny Smith apples (I made 9 small ones - thats how many were in my 5 lb bag)

Kraft caramel bits (2 bags)

Nestle premier white morsels (12 oz bag)

Pecan halves or pieces

6-inch lollipop sticks

clear treat bags (Wilton carries different sizes, make sure they are big enough for you apples)


  1. Wash your apples, thoroughly dry them, and remove the stems. Insert your sticks using a hammer. The hammer helps to make sure your stick will be straight up and down. If the stem of your apple points off to the side, insert your stick at the highest point instead.

  2. Melt your caramel and white chocolate according to the directions on the package. You may also choose to add milk chocolate or dark chocolate. Keep in mind that each layer will be pretty thick so you may need larger bags to accommodate.

  3. Lay out wax paper on your countertop shiny side up.

  4. Carefully dip each apple into the caramel and spin to let the caramel drip off. Stand up right on the wax paper.

  5. Once the caramel is no longer sticky to the touch, you can repeat the same process in the white chocolate.

  6. Alternatively, you may choose to drizzle your additional layers of chocolate instead of dipping them. This works really well if you don't have enough chocolate to fully cover all the apples.

  7. Feel free to get crazy with your combinations of chocolate, nuts, and other toppings! If you're adding nuts, sprinkles, or something else, be sure to add them while your top layer of chocolate is still wet!

Don't forget to follow me on IG @carlyrhill and tag me if you enjoy any of these DIYS with your family this season!

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