“All I want for Christmas” by Maria Cary has featured on the radio nearly twice today and as you enter the mall it’s still playing. Excited that you’ve finished your Christmas shopping you willingly sing along, but if only it were almost always as simple as singing along to that song.
We wish we could bare gifts to all and everyone like old Saint Nick. Christmas is a time of giving and sharing is it not? However our budgets might not be as festive as the season and gift ideas are in short supply, never mind that though, homemade, handmade and self-made (or DIY) has a way of making themselves at home in people’s hearts.
So here are a few ideas for you to twist around and make your own DIY style:
- Recipe Books.
Hand written with little tips and words of wisdom for either a friend or a husband and wife’s first Christmas together. It’s also a nice gift for a daughter in law! It could consist of some of your favourites or dishes you know she and her husband likes. Bind it together and cover it nicely with some material or in a decorated file. TIP: laminate the pages to ensure they don’t get dirty as one cooks.
- Homemade Preserves.
Home cooked jams or Christmas Chutneys. It’s a no brainer, easy and adds a touch of sincerity. You could even add the recipe if you like, or a little card with a quote on it and preserve it in an old fashioned Jam jar. The great thing about it is you can make more than one batch in a single turn out, which means more gifts for more people.
- Customized plates or table ware.
- Used or vintage plates with a pattern of some sort (plain will do just fine)
- Adhesive foil, white mat
- Spray Paint, Templates, Scissors.
Make your plates are washed and grease free and trace your template of choice on adhesive foil, nice and big so it fits over the whole plate.
Cut it out from your adhesive foil and stick it firmly onto the plate.
Spray a thin layer of paint on your plate and allow the plates to dry and the carefully pull off the adhesive foil, bake them in the oven at a low temperature for about an hour to ensure the paint doesn’t fade when the plates end up in the wash.
TIP: Talk to the local arts and craft shop keepers – they have markers that one can use to write on plates and helpful tips when it comes to porcelain paints and stencils.
- Homemade Hot Chocolate.
This one is my absolute favourite and a gift I love giving my girlfriends. Inspired by Jamie Olivier and my obsession with Mason Jars this gift is simple and easy.
- 4 Tsp Coco powder.
- 3 Tbsp icing sugar.
- 3 Tbsp Horlicks.
- 2 Tbsp Maze meal.
- Salt and Cinnamon.
(Makes one litre)
Mix everything together and place it in your Jar. Fill your jar up to the top with marshmallows and close. Add a little guidance card reading “3 tsp per cup of milk” or something like “just add milk”.
- Candy Cane Vodka.
It’s festive and something for the grownups, who doesn’t love a little Christmas beverage with a kick and a twist?
The recipe was adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, you will need
- 12 full-sized candy canes
- 750 ml bottle vodka
- Glass bottle
Using a food processor grin the candy canes fine until it looks like a dusty powder. Pour the Vodka into your jar or bottle followed by your candy cane powder. Shake continuously until all the powder is dissolved. Keep it sealed and refrigerated and it should last for about a month.
- Homemade bath fizzies.
You will need:
- 1/2 cup citric acid
- 1 cup baking soda
- 3/4 cup corn-starch
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- About 6 drops food colouring
- 10 to 15 drops essential oil(s)
- spray bottle, plastic pipette, silicone ice-cube tray (molds), storage jars or a pretty tin.
Mix citric acid, baking soda, and corn-starch together and pass mixture thorough a fine sieve. Fill spray bottle with water, and add food colouring. Spritz mixture lightly (it should become damp but not fizzy) until you can pack mixture with your hands. Add you essential oils one drop at time by using your pipet. Mix the intranets together one last time and place into your moulds, press them firmly and allow them to dry at room temperature overnight.
- Herb Garden.
A nice little DIY gift is a little start-up herb garden. Local nurseries should be able to assist you. Pick three herbs you would like to start off with, for instance thyme, mint and parsley. Plant them in old rustic tin cups and place them together in a wooden crate, chest or whatever you feel might be the right fit.
You can also get some clay pots and instead of planting, buy a sachet of seeds. Tie a big bow around it and it makes for a fast and simple gesture or gift.
Sometimes a gesture is all it takes to put a smile on some ones face. Put in a little effort this holiday season with some unique touches and a personal influence. It might be a cliché but nothing says Merry Christmas like something made with love! Happy holidays*