This Christmas, Give Well for Less
Everyone knows that Christmas presents just mean so much more when they’re homemade. This year has been difficult, there’s no denying it, and with the festive season around the corner, some of us will be worrying about the expense associated with the time of year. So, this year, rather than buying gifts, why not make them? Maybe the recipient is someone you haven’t been able to see, or someone you want to show has been in your thoughts.
They’ll know that you had to spend a little more time on them, and that thoughtfulness is always appreciated.
Welcome to our list of the ultimate, most creative DIY Christmas gifts around. They work perfectly as gifts for parents, gifts for teachers, for friends, for kids, for neighbours, and everyone in between. Whether you use them as fun stocking fillers or easy-to-make hostess gifts, we have a gift for everyone.
DIY Hot Cocoa Kit
We can guarantee that you’ll have to make the kids a cup of hot cocoa when you recruit them to help assemble these sweet DIY kits. But spending quality time making gifts for loved ones will be worth the sugar rush.
To make: Paint a red circle with acrylic paint (or use a round red sticker) on a mug-size mason jar. Once dry, paint on a bit of greenery and write hot cocoa. Layer hot cocoa mixture, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows in the jar. Place a square of seasonal fabric between the lid and screw band and tighten.
Infused Olive Oils
These olive oil gift bottles can be quite expensive in shops, so why not do one better and make your own? You’ll have to start early to give the oil some time to infuse, but the results will be well worth it.
Try lemon, chili, garlic or rosemary.
Delicious served with a mid-morning tea or coffee.
225 g plain flour, plus extra to dust
1 tsp. baking powder
175 g caster sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
75 g each whole hazelnuts and pistachios
75 g milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Mix flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, stir until clumps form, then bring together with your hands, kneading until smooth. Add nuts and chocolate and knead until evenly distributed (dough will be stiff and a bit sticky).
- On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half and roll into two rough 33cm (13in) sausage shapes. Place on lined sheet, spacing apart. Bake for 20-25min until dough is lightly golden and has spread, then cool for 10min on a wire rack. Turn down oven to 140°C (120°C fan) mark 1.
- Using a bread knife, cut rolls diagonally into 1cm (½in) thick slices. Lay flat on baking sheet. Bake for 15min until dry and lightly golden – they’ll harden on cooling.
- Cool completely on wire rack, then store in an airtight tin for up to one month. Present in boxes or bags.
Rather than searching the aisles for an almost-perfect option, make a homemade reed diffuser instead.
First, stock up on all the supplies you need to DIY a reed diffuser. When it comes to picking a glass or vase, opt for one that has a narrow opening at the top, which slows down evaporation. Most importantly, pick the right kind of oil to use as a base. Mineral oils like sweet almond oil or safflower oil tend to be the most popular because they’re thin enough to travel up the diffuser reeds (or bamboo skewers!). The rest is your call: pick from an assortment of essential oils to infuse your space with scents that fit the mood or season.
- Pour sweet almond oil or safflower oil in small increments into the ceramic or glass vase.
- Add 30 – 50 drops of essential oils per 8 tbps of base oil. Remember: Some essential oils can be harmful to pets, so do your research before you add them.
- Give the vase a good shake or stir to mix oils.
- Stick in 5 – 8 reed diffuser sticks. You can also cut off the pointed ends of bamboo skewers, if you have extras on hand. Flip the reeds or skewers after one hour or when half-saturated.
- For a stronger scent, flip reeds once every week and replace the oil mixture once a month.
Top Tip: cozy up with a warming winter blend of Douglas fir, cedarwood, juniper berry, spruce, and patchouli essential oils.
A natural bath tea is a bag filled with nourishing beneficial indigents that can help soothe sore muscles, relieve tension, reduce stress, and soften skin. Bath tea can be made with reusable options like organza and muslin bags. Mason jars and test tubes also make great storage options.
- Mix 3-5 drops of your favourite essential oil with 150g Epsom salt.
- Add 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt inside a small organza bag (or until the bag is filled halfway).
- Layer a heaping tablespoon of lavender, calendula, chamomile, cornflowers, and roses.
- Make a knot and store in an airtight jar until ready to use.
- To enjoy the botanical bath tea, drop one bag into bath water or hang under running water.
Citrus Sugar Scrub
- 70g sugar
- 8 tbsp organic coconut oil
- fresh zest of orange
Mix the sugar and and the coconut oil in a bowl. You do not need to melt the oil. Add more sugar if you want more grit for the scrub. Add the zest of 1 to 2 oranges. You can add essential oil, but we love the fresh zest instead. Store in a glass jar with lid.
This scrub is best used while sitting on the side of the bath tub. It is not the best to use in the shower as the oil could be slippery. Massage the scrub onto legs, rinse and pat dry.
We love the orange zest, but you can also add other citrus as well. Lemon or grapefruit would be energising. Or try peppermint oil for a revitalising scrub. Vanilla scrubs also sound great, as does a cucumber mint sugar scrub. Sugar scrubs make fabulous gifts for friends. Mix up a big batch and put in little glass jars.
Decoupage Photo Frame
Take an old photo frame, and cover it with old maps (if you can find one of a relevant area, that makes it extra special), vintage sheet music, old books, or even comics. And then pop in a picture, or a leave it empty for the recipient to fill. Simple PVA glue watered down with a little water will work really well.
An empty jar and some scraps of paper can create a really thoughtful Memory Jar. The idea is that the recipient makes a note of all the great things that happen over the course of the year, and can then empty it out and look back on them at the end of the year (or whenever they are feeling low).
A sourdough starter is an ancient method of starting to bake bread and it’s made from the simplest of ingredients – flour and water. With a few days and TLC it can become the founding ingredient of some magnificent sourdough bread, and makes a great gift for anyone looking to start baking their own bread. Click here for recipes and to purchase a starter.
A Year’s Worth of Outings
Grab twelve envelopes, and in each one slip a piece of paper with plans for a free date/outing you can do together that month. At the start of each month in the new year, have your friend open up the envelope to see what fun lies ahead for you two.
Make your own Subway Poster
A personalised Likes Poster could be just the thing. It’s more than a gift, really, it’s a compliment , because it shows how well you understand that person (by knowing all the quirky things that they like!) and that you’ve put time into creating something for them. Print it, frame it… and hey presto!
This is a great way to take a teacup you don’t use anymore, but that looks really pretty, and make a candle worthy of being a gift. You’ll want to put it on a matching saucer, and they show you how to affix is so it’s one piece. This makes a very handy candle that they’ll be glad to receive.
- Empty and clean tin can
You could also make these with beeswax or you can use leftover pieces of wax from old candles. Just be sure to watch which scents you are mixing together if you are using leftover wax from old scented candles.
- Put the chunks of wax in the tin can. Put the tin can in the middle of a saucepan of boiling water. This way it melts correctly and doesn’t make a big huge mess. Be aware that if you have too much water in your saucepan, your wax container might float up. Try to keep less than an inch of water in the pan to prevent this.
- Cut a piece of wick to be slightly longer than the teacup. Tape one end to the bottom of the cup and wrap the other end around a pencil or pen. When the wax has melted, pour it into the teacup. Try and keep the wick as straight as possible and keep the end out of the wax.
- Let the wax cool for at least 2-3 hours and then cut the wicks. While they are cooling you can add a little spice (nutmeg or cinnamon on top) to make it look like a little-spiced drink.
Tag us on social media and show off your creations, we’d love to see them!