Posts Tagged ‘homemade Christmas gifts’

How’s the Christmas prep going?

We left our run quite late this year, but we’ve finally finished putting together our mini-hampers. Here are a few last minute suggestions (which hopefully won’t necessitate a visit to the shops)…


Our hampers are packed in paper gift bags decorated with discount store stickers…

We always make our own gift tags, and thought we’d share them with you. Just print them out on thin card and cut them up as needed (we use a guillotine). The links are here

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Marilyn’s Christmas geese are a perfect school holiday project. They’re a little fiddly to assemble, but oh so very cute…

Have a look at the other Christmas papercraft on Marilyn’s website!

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Last Minute Treats

Every year, in the final days leading up to Christmas, I decide we need just one more thing for the hampers, and we end up making these spiced nuts.  They’re incredibly easy!  I made a quadruple batch this time (two kilograms) using egg whites leftover from a recent batch of microwave custard.

This year’s mix included hazelnuts, macadamias, brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds, but you could really use whatever nuts you have on hand…

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I have two batches of June’s vanilla kifli dough sitting in the fridge, waiting to be rolled, cut and baked just before Christmas day…

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I hope to bake a batch of toffee bars this week – at this hectic time, I instinctively seek the uncomplicated, and this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve come across in a long time.  For more simple baking recipes, please have a look at our recent Five to Share post…

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Here’s a peek inside this year’s hampers – each bag contains a jar of jam, a bag of vanilla sugar, six plum pudding truffles, and a bag of spiced nuts…

I hope you’re all having fun this December!  ♥

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For the last eighteen years, Pete and I have made most of our Christmas gifts.  It’s something that we love to do, not just because it feels like we’re keeping the spirit of the season, but also because it allows us to let loose our creativity.  It never really feels like Christmas until we start the annual cooking and crafting ritual.  Over the coming weeks, I’ll be blogging about the things we’re making for Christmas.  Hopefully you’ll find something that inspires you to create your own handmade gifts this year!

Why should you even bother making presents when they’re so easy to buy?  Here are some of the reasons we do it :

1. As I mentioned above, we really enjoy the process.  We love the feeling that we’re giving of ourselves – homemade gifts are far more personal, and our friends seem to appreciate the time and effort we put into them.  The proviso here is that they can’t be crap – don’t give people things made from toilet paper rolls, unless the rolls are filled with growing heirloom seedlings and your friends are avid gardeners.

2. It saves us a fortune.  $20 won’t buy a decent present, but it’s enough to create several homemade gifts.  Because of that, it allows us to give freely, without the miserly Scroogeness that a tight budget imposes on Christmas spending.

3. It allows us to give small gifts without obligating the recipient to respond.  I love that we can take a plate of cookies to the neighbours and no-one feels the need to reciprocate.  I don’t ever want our gift giving to impose a sense of obligation.  It’s much easier to achieve that with homemade presents, particularly baked goods, than it is with purchased items.

4. Wherever possible, we try and give consumables at Christmas.  Our houses are all so full of clutter – it’s much nicer to give something that isn’t going to compound that issue.  Most of the gifts come from our kitchen, although we’ll occasionally include small homemade items, like Christmas decorations, beeswax candles or crystal bookmarks.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been packing mini hampers for Christmas.  We purchase small paper bags with drawstring handles, and fill them with goodies – last year, each bag had a couple of jars of jam, some homemade vanilla syrup and a small bag of chocolate truffles. We also gave small bags of hot chocolate mix, plates of almond bread and little boxes of chocolate chip cookies.  Items like the hot chocolate, jams and vanilla syrup can be made well in advance, leaving just the baked goods to be made in the week before Christmas.

Watch this space – there’s lots more to come!

PS. Please have a look at our new Christmas page for more gift ideas!

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