If you’re anything like me, you love giving hand-made gifts for that personal touch. And if you’re anything like me, you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and days in the week to get everything made in time for the holiday season.
Fear not! There are plenty of lovely little ideas that are easy on the wallet (because, let’s face it, who isn’t a little strapped for cash around the festive season?), and won’t eat away all of your precious time.
And don’t worry if you don’t feel particularly talented in the crafts department, there are some clever little ideas that even the least artistic of us can put together and have them look great and have quite an impact on the recipient.
Here are a few gift ideas, some of which I’ve made and given over the last few years. I won’t reveal this year’s gifts, as I obviously want them to be a surprise! Many of the ideas on this list are great projects to work on with kids for other family members too…
- If you knit or crochet, a nice easy option, and one that you can produce in multiples if required, are scarves and mitts. And even if you live in a warmer climate, ladies often like lightweight lacy scarves, so they can be an option.
- Little tree decorations can be a very quick gift to make, and you can use whatever craft you’re most comfortable with, to create all manner of lovely decorations. And if you’re not particularly crafty, get hold of some clear glass baubles (the kind you can take the top off) and pop a few feathers or scrolls of vintage paper inside for a unique decoration.
- If you bake, cookies or cakes are always a nice gift that can either be make far in advance (individual Christmas cakes that have been fed for months with booze), or just a few days before you see people (sugar cookies, shortbread, sweet mince pies). They can be wrapped in colourful cellophane for a festive look.
- Even if baking isn’t your thing, there are other foodie gifts you can make – truffles, chocolates, peppermint fondant sweeties, fudge, tablet and toffee are all great fun to make and also tasty to eat. Not to mention jams, chutneys, pickles and preserves – if you’ve had a bumper harvest from your garden or allotment, or there has been an abundance of fruit growing wild, this is a particularly great way of giving the double-whammy of using up excess items that would go off if not preserved.
- If you have friends or family who enjoy a tipple or two, you could always try flavoured vodka. There are the sweetie-flavoured ones you can make using things like Skittles or Gummy Bears, but there’s also the very chic vanilla-flavoured option, where you split a couple of vanilla pods and pop them into a pretty bottle with a tight stopper, and jut occasionally swish it around till, over the course of a few weeks, the vodka becomes infused. Or a pretty jar with peaches preserved in brandy, or cherries in kirsch. These are all delicious food and drink gifts you can make in advance.
- If you know someone who loves books or films, find a pretty jar and fill it with quotes from their favourites. Write them by hand, or print them off your computer, and either fold them or roll them into little scrolls.
- Looking for something special for Mum? A love jar will bring a tear to her eyes. Same as with the quote jar, except you fill it with reasons you love her. Guaranteed to keep you on her “nice” list for another year!
- For kids and jokers, a joke jar, filled with one-liners, knock knocks, and doctor doctor jokes will keep them giggling all year round and cheer them up when they feel down.
- For grandparents, a memory jar, filled with all those little stories that you associate with them. If the stories are longer, fill a little scrap book with them and decorate it to your heart’s content.
- Another one for the parents and grandparents is a photo book. Grab an inexpensive photo album or scrap book and pop in all the pictures that will make them smile. Make it small enough for them to carry with them and show off how beautiful their kids and grandkids are!
- Luminaries are a beautiful way to display a candle and are very easy and inexpensive to make. Again with the glass jars, find all manner of items – pressed leaves and flowers, feathers, tissue paper in different colours – then cover the jar in glue (a good craft glue like Mod Podge) and stick the items on the outside before giving them a good covering too. Or you can use glass paints for some stunningly colourful effects. Then you just pop a tea light in the bottom (you can buy bags of, like, 50 of them for next to nothing). Or you could make your own candles, either using paraffin wax or beeswax (which smells divine as it is!), because if you make your own, you can choose your own colours and scents to add, making them even more personal!
So, there are just a small handful of ideas. I’ve come up with a few new ones for my Yuletide gifts this year, which I will share after Xmas, but if you have some other ideas for hand-crafted gifts, I’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments below and we can all benefit from the additional inspiration!