Do you crochet? I’m making elf slippers for a lot of people this year. You have to sneak around a bit to find shoe sizes and then translate that into a foot measurement, but they work up really fast and are ridiculously cute, especially for kids. They don’t take a lot of yarn, either–out of a single skein I made a pair of these, a hat and a scarf for my niece.
Sugar scrubs are always popular, and they’re very inexpensive if you can find jars at the 99-cent store or thrift shop. My preferred formula is equal parts white sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable or almond oil, with some cocoa powder or vanilla extract put in for fragrance.
The year I was simultaneously unemployed and planning a wedding, I made a lot of Christmas ornaments. There were wire and bead dragonflies, butterflies, stars, and Christmas trees, and salt dough critters painted to look like people’s pets. The pets were ahem rustic in effect due to my limited abilities as a sculptor and painter, but they had a certain charm to them.
Another one I like is to make stockings for people. Flannel can be gotten for under $3/yard and you only need about a foot of your main fabric plus whatever you want for the cuff. Three seams and 10 minutes and bob’s your uncle. And they’re so insanely easy to customize to someone’s personality. And you don’t have to use flannel if it doesn’t suit the person. When I made them for everyone in my immediate family, they were all quilting cotton because that was what fit each of them.