Hand-Made Christmas Gifts
by Gail Miller
How many times when Christmas comes
along do we end up spending a fortune on gifts for friends and family, which are
not the least bit personal, and regretting it afterwards? These days we often
seem to get caught up in a rush to spend as much as possible on commercialised
products when in fact we could save money and give much better presents if only
we applied ourselves to hand making them. Here I bring you a selection of lovely
gifts which are easy to make and will certainly not break the bank. The
recipients will love the fact that you have put your own time and effort into
making the gifts and will treasure them.
Personalised Recipe Book
If one of your recipients is a vegetarian or has a penchant for curry, loves
anything with tomatoes in or is a sucker for chocolate, make use of the fact by
making a personalised recipe book. Start collecting appropriate recipes from
books or magazines and purchase a small, inexpensive book to write them
in. Copy them out in your neatest handwriting or use calligraphy if you
are talented. If you have artistic flair, you can also include
illustrations! What a delight this would be to the avid cook or foodlover.
You need ordinary envelopes and cheap cartridge paper or newsprint. Now go
through all your magazines and cut out decorative pictures or illustrations.
Stick them to the fronts of the envelopes down the left or across the top. If
possible stick matching borders or motifs on to the paper too. If you cannot get
them to match, not to worry, just try to get illustrations with a matching
Buy a pack of plastic picnic spoons. These are very cheap and you can get
literally dozens in a pack (enough to make all your presents!) Melt some
chocolate with a knob of butter in a dish stood in a pan of boiling water. When
the chocolate is runny dip the spoons up to where the handle starts into the
chocolate. Place on greaseproof paper to dry then wrap with cellophane wrap and
finish with a pretty bow. To add flavour you can add liqueurs, mint, or coffee,
orange or vanilla flavouring to the melted chocolate mix.
Dress Up Box For Kids
You have to start this present halfway through the year as you can add to it as
you go along. Obtain a large cardboard box from your local supermarket and cover
it with pretty wrapping paper. If desired stick a large label on the front with
the name of the recipient on it. Every time you go into town, browse round the
charity shops and pick up cheap hats, scarves, veils, tutus, jewellery, gloves
and small size dresses or jackets. Kids will go mad for something like this and
you can tailor the clothing to a girl or a boy.
Instead of buying the kiddies selection boxes which are just a collection of
chocolate bars packed together and grossly overpriced, why not build up a store
of regular chocolate bars or packets of sweets throughout the year. Every time
you visit the supermarket add a couple to your basket. Come Christmas time,
divide the sweets between how many children you are catering for, into pretty
bags made out of wrapping paper. Decorate with ribbons & bows. You will save
Get a book on calligraphy from the library and make personalized gifts by
writing a poem, or if you are not that confident, the recipient's name on
delicately coloured paper or card. Add a pressed flower or two and mount in a
A set of cheap white hand towels can be made unique by the addition of coloured
ribbon or braid sewn approx. 3 inches from each end. Make them extra special by
attaching the initials of the recipients with some scrap fabric and Bondaweb.
Practical and customised!
Decorated Coffee Jar
Don't throw out your coffee, jam or pickle jars, especially if they are those
really beautifully shaped ones that you get nowadays. All you need are some
sequins or diamantes, which cost literally pennies from haberdashers. Stick them
on at random and glue a label to the front with "coffee",
"spice", "pasta" or anything else which the jar might be
utilised for storing. Tie a silver or gold bow round the neck of the jar.
Hand Decorated Ceramics
If you are artistic, why not purchase a set of plain white ceramic egg cups, tea
cups or plain glasses which are extremely inexpensive. Using a bottle of ceramic
paint decorate by hand or stencil or stamp on each one to make them unique. If
possible find out before hand the colour scheme preferred.
Flavoured Cooking Oil
Save empty oil or vinegar bottles throughout the year, or buy the plain corked
ones you can by extremely cheaply at thrift stores. Half fill with peanut or
olive oil. Add twigs of Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Parsley etc. If desired
also add some peppercorns for decoration and further flavour and then fill
bottle with more oil. Lid or cork and add a pretty ribbon to the neck of the
bottle. Not only will these look great on any recipient's kitchen shelf they
will also enhance their cooking!
Instead of making lots of ordinary size biscuits, why not make one or two giant
personalised ones? Make a large batch of biscuit mix using a recipe from a book,
but instead of using regular size cookie cutters, use an 8 inch cake tin to make
the shape or make a paper template of a heart can cut the shape round that. Cook
and cool, then decorate with icing using the recipients name. Wrap in
A Set Of Fridge Magnets
Decide who you are going to give fridge magnets to earlier on in the year and
take some photos of either the person or their children. Make small squares or
circles out of cardboard and stick the photos onto the card. Finish by attaching
small magnets to the backs.
Home Made Honey Bath Oil
Mix together a cup of light baby or olive oil with 1/2 a cup of honey, 1/2 a cup
of liquid soap and a drop each of your favourite essential oil. Mix together
gently and decant into a pretty a squirt bottle.
Home Cooked Delights
When you make your traditional Christmas Cake, double or treble the quantities
of ingredients. Make extra cakes which you can decorate with gold or silver
ribbon round the outside, and give to relatives.
Personalised Photo Album
Photograph albums can be picked up very
cheaply, especially when sold together in bulk; i.e. three or five sets
cellophaned together. Cover the albums with pretty fabric or lace and stencil
the recipient's initials on the front to personalise it.
Home Made 'Throw'
Throws, which are very much in fashion these days are very expensive to buy.
A large remnant, or a number of them patchworked together and edged with
fringing, makes an excellent and unique throw. A delightful and unique present!
About the Author:
Gail Miller is a writer and artist. Her websites include Gails
Gallery , Stage
Your Home To Sell , and, Cash
For Crafts .