In our family we have a home made (and second hand) Christmas. So, you either have to make something for the present you give or purchase it second hand. It’s about sharing the creative things you like doing and valuing each others skills, time and effort.
And if you get a second hand present, it is often a very thoughtful present. Because someone has seen something that REALLY reminds them of you (like a nice golf shirt for dad).
Today I have put together a list of 10 great home made gift ideas. They are tried and tested …
1. Cook some food
Food is a great present. For someone who has everything, disposal gifts are ideal.
Preserves are a great starting point. Everyone uses tomato relish. Strawberry jam is good too. Last year we had rhubarb in the garden and so I made rhubarb relish. We ate it on Christmas day. And I gave a jar to everyone to take home. It was a great Christmas present. And here are olives from our tree and tamarillo paste that I have packaged up nicely – we have a tamarillo tree in our garden.
If one jar of jam seems a bit meagre, you can make a ‘home made food hamper’. Buy a basket or a nice box and fill it up with jams and preserves and vinegars and cellophane wrapped biscuits.
Nick, my brother-in-law makes an annual gift of florentine biscuits. I think he uses his Mum’s recipe. He makes them with dark chocolate and my Mum loves them.
You can give these types of presents to anyone. Neighbours, friends, teachers.
2. Make slime or playdough
While we are on a cooking theme, making something fun for the kids like slime if they are at primary school, or playdough if they are at kinder is a good present. Package the slime in a nice jar, with a cute label. It lasts for ages if you keep it in the fridge. And playdough can look gorgeous in the right packaging. You could make rainbow playdough. Or you could add some Christmas glitter and package it up with some cookie cutters. Or a tea set. Or some wooden blocks. Or a packet of coloured icy pole sticks. Playdough goes with some many things.
3. Knit or crochet something practical
Does someone in your family enjoy a cup of tea? Why not knit or crochet a tea cosy. You could buy a new teapot and add some home made love with a cosy. Or you could jazz up a groovy second hand pot with a home made tea cosy. A couple of Christmas’s ago I specialised in cosies (with roses on the top). I got inspiration from some books I borrowed from the library. I am sure there are loads of patterns online as well.
Or knit a dish cloth or two. I have given these away with a bottle of fancy dish washing liquid. Or you could look out for an interesting dish washing brush. Everyone washes dishes. Everyone could do with a home made dish cloth.
Or a hot water bottle cover. I made these quite a few years ago now. I knitted one for myself, one for Elise and one for each of Clive’s parents. These were all the people I knew who unashamedly advertised that they used hot water bottles (I didn’t want to give them to people who might think they were daggy!).
4. Decorate some salad servers
I am always happy to get a set of nice salad servers. Buy some plain timber ones and add some personality. I recently bought a whole heap of salad servers and painted them black or white. I used acrylic paint and then waxed over the top.
You could give these as presents by themselves or with a salad bowl or platter if you wanted to add something extra.
5. Grow a plant and pot it up
As already mentioned, we have a tamarillo tree and Clive is sure that everyone else in the world needs to own one of these trees as well. I quite like tamarillo paste with cheese and biscuits, but he eats them when the are ripe and loves them (I find them a bit too sour). I agree it is a handy tree to own.
This year he saved some seeds from the fruit and he has been growing tamarillo plants for Christmas presents.
And Elise is busy taking cuttings from her favourite indoor plants and growing some for presents as well. She was inspired by Ali. I can see it is going to be a ‘green’ Christmas at our house this year.
6. Make a family calendar/video
Every year for the last 5 or 6 years someone in our family has made a calendar for every family. Merryn is currently carrying the mantle. She uses Snapfish I think. The calendar is super. She puts in everyone’s birthdays (so there’s no excuse for forgetting) and she loads it up with photos taken in the previous year and places them in the calendar in the month relevant to the birthday boys and girls (ladies and gents). The kids love to get to their month and look at all the photos from the previous year.
And last year my aunty had some film footage that my grandpa took about 45 years ago converted to digital. She gave everyone a DVD for Christmas. It was of her and my mum playing with their cousins at the beach when they were young. And all the extended family that I didn’t meet or don’t remember except through photos. That really was a great present.
7. Make a quilt
Like quilting? Make a quilt. I have made 5 quilts for my own kids and some of my nieces and nephews over the years. It is a big job to tackle. So I always give them at Christmas so that at least all the effort gets admired! And hopefully the recipients will keep their quilt forever and remember who made it for them.
8. Give a voucher
My Mum and Dad always give me babysitting vouchers. They are such a great present. It just means I can ask without feeling like I am imposing. The one above I got for my birthday. A weekend without children (hooray!).
Or if you like cooking you could give someone a dinner voucher or a series of dinner vouchers. Or if you like sewing you could offer to make a skirt for someone. Giving someone your time is an excellent present.
9. Make a Christmas decoration
Christmas decorations are something that your kids can make, or you can make. Most years the kids make something for their Nanna’s tree. And for their teachers. It’s lovely to look back at the glass ball covered in fingerpainting that India made when she was a baby. And last year we painted some pre-bought white plaster Christmas tree decorations. They were good too. I found them at Bed, Bath and Table Factory Outlet.
This year I am contemplatig making some strings of colourful dyed pasta. But I might chance upon a better idea on Pinterest …
10. Make something for the garden
If people are fussy about the inside of their house they might appreciate a present that is for the garden. You could get into the current ‘cool’ and make some concrete pots (I am seriously considering this idea). Or get some copper paint and get into the copper thing. Or macrame a plant hanger (it really is so easy). Or make an outdoor mobile from driftwood (tick!).
A couple of years ago Pricey made a set of these garden stakes for us. They are THE BEST. I move them around and use them as I need them – to prop up plants, grow tomatoes or just to add some arty interest to the garden.