Thanksgiving has come and gone and the Christmas season is officially upon us! I love how the whole feeling of the season changes when Christmas comes around. Any lingering thoughts of summer are swept under the rug, left to reemerge in the new year. My birthday is in December, so the whole month is filled with celebration, family, and gifts. Life seems to simultaneously slow down and speed up as my priorities shift to these themes. 

For the longest time, gift-giving was in the part of life that seemed to speed up for me. There was never enough time for buying, let alone making, and the gifts were never quite what I wanted them to be. One year I decided that I was going to enjoy it as much as possible and give the best gifts I possibly could. Since then, it's always the first part of Christmas that's on my mind. I make time for it and force the time to slow down so that I can enjoy crafting and thinking through gifts for all the important people in my life. 

The 12 Days of DIY came out of this new-found love, and many of these projects were wrapped up and hidden under the tree for Christmas morning. Read through the list and get inspired, and then take the time to enjoy the process of creating and giving. Remember that something you make becomes a unique gift that can never be replicated in quite the same way. Don't forget that the joy really is in the giving! So give, enjoy yourself, and have a merry Christmas season!

1. Advent Calendar 

Advent calendars are the official in-home Christmas countdown. They come in a lot of different forms: some are slim cardboard boxes with perforated windows that tear off to reveal small chocolates for each day, while others are made of fabric or felt with pockets or sticky accessories. This wooden block advent calendar is our take on the traditional wooden calendar with pull-out doors. 

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2. Blanket Rack

This is a space-saving way of storing blankets and quilts that keeps them organized and on display. (It's also perfect for hanging towels in the bathroom or out by the pool next summer.) You could buy one from most stores that sell home decor, or use this simple step-by-step guide to build your own and completely customize it to your home.

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3. Kid's Blocks 

The possibilities are endless with these wooden blocks for a child's toy chest or an adult's office desk. 

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4. Cookie Tray for Santa  

This wooden tray is easy to customize in size, accessories, and finish—you can paint it, stain it, distress it for a rustic look, or keep it sleek and simple. Leave it out with cookies and milk for Santa, then on Christmas night load it with mugs of hot chocolate for drinks by the fire. 

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5. Wreath

We used boxwood for our take on this front door decor, but it's so easy to adapt it with your favorite herbs (Rosemary would look and smell beautiful!) or greenery you have growing at home.

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6. Hobby Horse

Wood, yarn, and a little active imagination come together to create this classic children's toy for the little rider on your holiday list. 

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7. Gas Pipe Firewood Holder

Exposed metal surfaces, pipes, and rustic wood are signature traits of industrial-style interior design. Industrial pieces are raw and often appear unfinished, showing the nuts and bolts (sometimes literally!) and structural elements that often get covered by fabric and paint in most other styles of decor. Retailers like Restoration Hardware are known for their upscale interpretations of the quickly growing design trend that inspired this DIY project.

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8. Owl Cutting Board

We tried out wood burning on a maple board for this hardwood kitchen cutting board. 

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9. Danish Paper Stars

In Denmark and parts of Germany, origami-style folded paper stars are often used to decorate Christmas trees. They look exquisite and intricate, and they're not exactly easy to learn how to make, but once you get the hang of the folds, you'll find that your fingers just sort of take over and it becomes a pretty mindless, thoroughly addicting way to keep your hands busy while spending an evening watching your favorite Christmas classics on TV. 

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10. DIY Hot Glue Snowflakes

These Christmas ornaments are so easy to make, and really versatile—use them as window clings, put them on the branches of your Christmas tree, or hang them outside. And as long as there's an adult around to operate the hot glue gun, this is an easy all-ages project with instant payoff. 

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11. Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate on a stick! This recipe makes a perfect cup of rich, creamy hot chocolate—just add milk. Once the mix is cooled and cut into squares, it's so easy to add a homemade marshmallow and a bow and give it as a sweet holiday gift.

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12. Gingerbread Cookies 

Is any dessert more quintessentially Christmas? My family has been making this gingerbread recipe for as long as I can remember. It's super sweet and a little spicy, thanks to plenty of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. 

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