Home-made Christmas gifts

(98 Posts)

What have you made/are planning on making for gifts for Christmas this year, we really need to trim our gift budget a little so any ideas will be every much appreciated.

All i have on my list so far is homemade fudge and framed photos of the kids - it looks a litte poor doesnt it!

Okay, from your wonderful lists ive put together 4 'bags'. Almost all of which will hopefully be homemade by myself/kids. Could i have your opinions on the following, very nervous that people might think im just being tight....

CHILDRENS COOKING BAG
Jar Mix - Muffin/cake/cookie
Cooks Apron
Gingerbread man
Baking Bits - Cutters, rolling pin
Chocolates

CHILDRENS CRAFT BAG
Artist Apron
Craft Bits- Glue/Glitter/Cutters
Paints/Brushes/Sponges
Pencils/Crayons/Felts
Scrap Book
Roll of Paper

PAMPER BAG
Bath Bombs
Candles
Massage Oil
Body Lotion
Bath Salts

MUNCHIES BAG (For a couple)
Chocolates
Shortbread
Sweets
Truffles
Muffins
Mince Pies
Fudge
Gingerbread
Honey Comb
Spiced Nuts
Drink of some sort?

I did mainly homemade stuff last year, and apart from the fact that I left it a bit late so it was more work than I thought it was going to be, it went down very well.

I did food spice mixes:

- rogan josh curry
- tandoori beef curry (hot and medium versions)
- american pancakes mix (with a bottle of maple syrup)
- double chocolate muffin mix (with a small box of chocolate drops)

I bagged up the mixes in sealable plastic bags, then put them into parchment sandwich bags and printed labels for the front and the instructions on the back (with extra ingredients to buy for the curries eg meat).

They looked AMAZING, even if I say so myself
My sister rang me up complaining "I thought you said you were going to make the presents yourself this year!"

For kids, I recorded a CD of me reading 3 different stories and then gave that along with the book that the stories came from (this was particularly because I do not live in the UK and so thought it would be nice for my nieces to have me "reading" to them, as it's something I don't get to do).

This year, I have made loads of jams and liquers which will go with other stuff I am going to make.

From my Christmas Ideas List:

- candles/votives : either melting down old candles into pretty teacups or self-decorated flowerpots, or getting plain glass votives and decorating myself with beads/stencils; these will probably be scented too

- re-wrapping large matchbox with matching pretty paper (leaving the strip to light the matches free, obviously) to go with candles

- bath tea, have been drying lots of herbs so will get some muslin bags and bung them in, then glue&tie closed, put a few in a larger bag or box with nice labels

I also do a huge batch of christmas biscuit baking, all different sorts eg last year I did coconut macaroons, chocolate biscotti (highly recommended - last forever and taste SUPERB, would be a nice give in a box with eg. coffee beans or coffee cup for a coffee lover), , vanilla kipferl, shortbread-type iced stars and trees, chewy almond discs, meringue "nipples" etc so will be putting a selection of them in a pretty cellophane bag with nice bow and giving them to everyone too.

Would like to try some sweets this year too.

I'm still a bit stuck for kids gifts this year. So far I've only thought of that melted-crayons in a shape idea, but have been inspired by this thread - I could put them together with other stuff in an arts & crafts bag, which would be great!

Oh my, I've written MASSES blushblush

PS If anyone wants any of the biscuit recipes, let me know, they are from a German magazine I bought years and years ago and I use them evey year.

I've just remembered something else (I've written so much already, I'm now Beyond Embarrassment ):

I did a Gourmet Luncheon Voucher for my DH which basically meant that for 1 month I did really, really nice packed lunches for him. The voucher was in a nice new lunchbox
He was very, very pleased with it, I think more touched than by anything else I've ever given him.
And his colleagues at work were very "Ooooh, what have you got today?"

loola2shu Fri 10-Sep-10 16:19:18

Wow some brilliant ideas!

Hopefor , could I possibly have recipe for choc biscotti please!

I always make delias christmas chutney and get christmas fabric to cover lids and tie with gold elastic, they look lurvely!

Also last year I made choc, fruit and nut fudge for everyone at work wrapped in pretty little cellophane packets wrapped in ribbon. Went down very well! Also do the same with choc truffles.

I also give homemade christmas puddings as gifts in a nice pudding basin or home decorated cheap basin!! don't make these till stir up sunday though

Hopeforthebest- i would love those biscuit recipes please x

LittleB Fri 10-Sep-10 19:35:43

Would love to know how to make cosmetics; bath bombs, hand creams, bath salts etc. Did chutneys, jams, sloe gin and sweeties in home decorated paper bags last year but adding some cosmetics would be fun!

Actually (I am on a bit of a roll here, please forgive me for going on so much!), what about doing Craft Kits for Kids?
I did this by accident a while back when I had to prepare a craft for a number of children at the library.
We were reading a lion-themed book, so I decided we could make lions. The age of the children was 3 to 5.

To make my life easier, I put together in a large, folded paper envelopes everything that was needed to make one lion. I then handed them out and showed everyone my finished lion as a guideline.

If you were giving something like that as a gift, you could print a picture of the finished product on the envelope and include written instructions.

(Picture of lion on profile btw )

crayon roll

I made one of these last night with dinosaur material for my dino mad 2 year old.
They would be good for any little kids in the family and are really easy to make.

taffetacat Sun 12-Sep-10 15:04:16

I always do cranberry and macadamia cookies stacked high in a posh cellophane bag with nice ribbon.

Forced bulbs like hyacinth and iris reticulata in nice conatiners decorated with ribbon.

Chutney - a Gordon Ramsay tomato one this year.

Marmalade - normally pink grapefruit in lovely Kilner jars with nice ribbon.

Last year I also did a rather special Granola in Kilner jars too.

Please can we have the chocolate biscotti recipe HopeforTheBest?

I will dig out the magazine with the recipes in it and translate a few tomorrow morning when ds is back at Kindergarten!

Does anyone have any good recipes (or links) for sweets? Things that could be made ages in advance? I am hopeless at fudge, so don't think that would work (though if anyone has a 100% Fail-Safe method I would be happy to try (even with a sugar themometer, mine always FAILS)).

Tootiredforgodtyping Sun 12-Sep-10 17:57:44

I have painted water jugs before

Marking place

Lastyearsmodel Sun 12-Sep-10 18:49:55

Taffetacat Could you pass on your special granola recipe, please? Have tried a couple in the past with limited success.

taffetacat Sun 12-Sep-10 19:13:05

Granola

I am afraid I am not very good at amounts....

Large knob of butter
2 tbspns golden syrup or 1 each of golden syrup and honey
1 tbspn demerara sugar

Line large roasting tin with baking parchment. Melt above ingreds together in baking tin in oven for 5 mins ( oven 150 c ).

Meanwhile in large bowl mix together:

Half a bag of Sainsbo's TTD porridge oats
Handful sweetened desiccated coconut
Bag chopped roasted hazelnuts
Half a bag toasted almond flakes
Handful of hand chopped whole almonds and pecans and macadamias or nuts of choice
Sprinkling each of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds
Grated zest 1 orange
Few drops vanilla extract

Once butter and syrup mix melted, swirl it around to mix then tip in oat mix and coat all really well in the sugary goo. Bake for 25 mins, turning it all every 10 mins to check it bakes evenly.

Once cold, break it up and add dried fruit - I like chopped organic dried apricots ( the fudgy dark ones ), dried cranberries for festive cheer, golden raisins/sultanas and for real decadence chopped weeny chunks of dark, dark chocolate.

If you do add choc, make sure you only do it once the granola is completely cold, otherwise it melts.

www.makeyourownskincare.com is a fab site with loads of ideas and really clear instructions, sorry i dont know how to link blush

Lastyearsmodel Mon 13-Sep-10 12:35:08

Taffetacat Mmmmmmmmmmmmm! <drool> Thank you, that looks amazing. Clearly it is vitally important that I begin making test batches as soon as possible. smile

BigBadMummy Mon 13-Sep-10 13:16:48

I found bath bombs were a bit hit and miss on whether they stayed together or not. how about soaps? We made lots last year and they were fantastic.

I was a bit over-optimistic that I would have time to get anything at all done today, so will post biscuit recipes tomorrow!

Lots of great ideas here, my list is growing at an alarming rate - if I get even half of the stuff done that I've written down, I'm going to have to start giving gifts to people I would normally only nod to eg binmen, postman, random people walking past my kitchen window....

TheThingUpstairs Mon 13-Sep-10 20:46:05

Taffetacat please could you give your cranberry and macadamia cookie recipe, they sound lovely!

taffetacat Mon 13-Sep-10 21:15:22

Cranberry macadamia cookies

Makes 20 ( I normally make double or triple )

125g very soft butter
185g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg lightly beaten
185g plain flour plus extra for dusting
1 tspn baking powder
50g whole macadamias
50g dried cranberries

2 large baking sheets, lightly oiled or lined with baking parchment

Preheat oven to Gas 4/180c/fan 170c. Using electric whisk cream butter and sugar for 3-4 mins. Gradually add egg, whisking. Sift in flour, baking powder and half a teaspoon of salt. Roughly chop macadamias and cranberries add to mix and stir all together. Bring mix together with your hands and form a ball. Halve the ball then cut one half into 10 pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a small ball. Transfer to one of the baking sheets and press each one gently to flatten slightly. Bake for 18-20 mins on centre shelf. Form the other half into balls. When first batch ready, put second batch in. Leave cookies to cool for about a minute no longer or they will stgcik, then, using a fish slice, carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with second batch etc.

Keep for a week in airtight container or also freeze well.

TheThingUpstairs Mon 13-Sep-10 21:21:36

Thanks!

JetLi Mon 13-Sep-10 22:20:11

This is easy & festive (all red and jewel-like).

Chocolate Mocca Biscotti

Note: this biscotti is „twice-baked“ but is not as dry and hard as the usual biscotti you can get. If you want a drier, harder/crisper biscuit, I think you could probably turn down the oven temp at the second baking and bake for longer until they had dried out, but I have never tried this!

Ingredients

Dough

100g dark chocolate, grated
1 heaped teaspoon instant coffee powder mixed with 1 tsp hot water
260g plain flour
10g cocoa
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g icing sugar
125g butter at room temp
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod (I usually use a few drops of vanilla essence instead)
100g whole, skinned almonds (have also done this with walnuts and pecans)

Decoration
50g milk chocolate couverture
100g dark chocolate icing

Note: I always just use melted chocolate (or couverture) for the decoration, NO icing

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C

1. Sieve the flour, cocoa and cinnamon, and mix together with all the other dough ingredients. It will form a stiff, sticky dough. Try to handle it as little as possible and use a floured surface & hands for the next bit!

2. Form the dough into 3 rolls each 20cm long, place on baking parchment on tray and bake on the 2nd from bottom rail (track? runner? no idea what it’s called!) in oven for 15 mins. Take out and allow to cool.

3. Slice the rolls diagonally into 1cm wide slices. Place on baking paper and bake for 12mins. Allow to cool completely.

4. Melt decoration chocolate in bowl as per instructions. Dip each biscuit in halfway. Place on non-stick paper and allow to harden.

I usually give them a dusting of icing sugar mixed with cocoa before serving, and keep them in a tin.
You need a good, sharp knife for the slicing because the dough is still quite soft, and you want to get through the nuts without “ripping” everything iyswim.

They dry out more the longer you keep them, which is not necessarily a bad thing with this type of biscuit .

Alicetheinvisible Tue 14-Sep-10 14:30:34

please excuse crap typing - feeding ds smile

there is a brill thread in arts and crafts on making candles - lauriefairycake i believe started it last year.

lakeland do chocolate moulds, so if you want to do homemade chocolates relatively easily then would go for that.

flavoured vodka only needs 3months til it is ready, so we are going to do some rasberry vodka in the next week or so. made some sloe gin last november that will be ready for presents this year - just hope it tasts good!

personalised bunting for children's rooms, matching cushions etc

personalised drawstring bags for plimsolls, dancing/swimming etc

for newborn babies, muslin cloths or towels edged in fabric are very easy and look good.

last year i made bathbombs - not very good, honeycomb - yummy and snowflake cookies - good idea but need a better recipe.

hope any of this helps, not sure how homemade we will go this year due to newborn ds, but we will see smile

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