15 Holiday Gift Project Ideas

15 Holiday Gift Project Ideas

There’s no denying the value of a handmade gift. There’s still time to make a project and have it ready to give as a gift this holiday season. Here are fifteen woodworking projects that would make great holiday gifts for a wide range of people. Most are not difficult and some can be completed in a day. You can probably build a few of them with scraps you have around your shop. Just click on the project name to go to the full project article.

Laminated Cutting Board


A custom cutting board is an attractive, useful, and practical project that just about anyone would be happy to receive. Plus, it’s a great way to use up scrap stock and you can build several at the same time – one for everyone in the family!

Last Man Standing Peg Game


“Last Man Standing” is a wooden game from days gone by, but that doesn’t mean kid’s today won’t enjoy it. It’s played like checkers with one hole left open on the board. The object is to use one peg to jump over and claim another peg, moving horizontally or diagonally, until just one peg remains. Our design features a storage compartment underneath to stows all 14 pegs inside the game board.



A luminaria (often called luminary) is a traditional Mexican lantern made from a paper bag with sand and a candle inside. We’ve add some woodworking panache to these outdoor accents and build our luminarias from wood, with box joints and a star-shaped cutout. They’re beautiful — and reusable — ways to brighten patios, steps and walkways this holiday season.

 Convertible Step Stool and Chair


You’ll need to get started early on this project because it is a little more challenging. This clever design is both a small step stool and chair in one piece of furniture. It’s a handy piece of furniture that’s sure to start conversations.

Knife Block


A few pieces of hardwood stock and a handful of spacers is all you need to create a custom knife block that will be a helpful addition to any kitchen. You can modify this project to suit any number of knives.

Tic-Tac-Toe Game


Another classic game. This portable version features hidden storage holes for the marbles, enabling kids (or adults) to take it wherever they go.

 Candle Sconce


You can make one of these decorative sconces in an afternoon. In this case, we show you how to make a leaf design, but you could create your own custom pattern.

 Adirondack Chair


Give someone the “Throne of Summer” this winter. Imagine your family’s response when they find a beautiful Adirondack chair under the tree. This is not a difficult project, but it will require a little more time to complete, so get started soon. This one is also a little trick to hide.

Lazy Susan


Here’s another practical gift that you can make beautiful and unique. This version features inlay details. You can take this basic design and easily modify it with your own custom details.

Cribbage Board


Another classic game! (Are you picking up on a trend?). A cribbage board is really just a piece of wood with 240-plus holes drilled in it. This project includes files necessary to program a CNC machine to drill all the holes, but it also includes a template for boring the holes with a drill. There are endless opportunities for customizing this project with different species of wood. All this adds up to the fact that cribbage boards make great gifts.

Keepsake Box


A keepsake box is a classic project that recipients of all ages will appreciate. In this case, we’re sharing plans for a small oval box, but you could use the same construction techniques to make another shape or size if you prefer.

Entryway Coat Rack


This practical entryway storage unit is made from solid wood and is glued together: no nails or screws (apart from those that hold it to the wall) are used. In this case, we made it out of soft maple, but it could be made from any good quality solid wood: pine, oak, birch, fir…whatever best matches the trim or furnishings in the place where it will be mounted to the wall.

End-Grain Cutting Board


Yes, this is the second cutting board on the list, but they make great gifts and there are endless ways to make each one unique. This is an end-grain cutting board. It’s a little more work to make than the previously noted laminated face-grain cutting board, but an end-grain cutting board has a distinctly different look and it will be more durable.

Continuous-Grain Tapered-Side Box


If you’re looking to show off you’re woodworking skills and you have a piece of wood with a beautiful linear grain pattern, then this box project is a great choice. It’s a more refined box design, and as you might expect, it’s a little more challenging to build than the simple keepsake box presented earlier on this gift list. The sides are constructed so that the wood grain flows smoothly across one face, around the corner and into the adjoining face — and all the way around the box without a break — the grain itself becomes a major part of the design. The design is also enhanced by tapering the box sides, allowing the eye to more easily take in the continuous run of grain at the corners.

Napkin Holder


With only four parts total, this is a small project you can make in just a few hours. This version is 1/2″ thick quartersawn white oak, but any sturdy hardwood, such as birch, cherry or ash would do just as well. It’s another project that is easy to make multiple versions of and use up some scrap lumber.

There you have it. Fifteen projects that you can make as gifts this holiday season. Do you have a favorite woodworking project that you have given as a gift? Share it with your fellow readers in the Comments section below.

Happy Holidays!

Posted in:

  • Roberto Markham

    The keepsake box is a great idea but one can improve the appearance by using laminations of different timbers of varied colour. I have made a number of these with some having three layers and some five. I topped them off with a knob using a timber contrasting with the lid.

  • Maple Hohnstein

    Wow. Beautiful pieces here!