Let’s face it, some people are just really difficult to buy Christmas gifts for. Whether it’s the husband that has everything, or the work colleague you’ve picked out for Secret Santa who you don’t know too well. So what do you buy? Well, what if we said you can give them a gift they’ll love, without breaking the bank?
Homemade Christmas gifts are all the rage. Sure, they may take a little time and effort, but that’s what makes them special and unique. Anyone can hop online and order a present, but a DIY Christmas gift just seems a little more meaningful. That’s why we’re sharing 7 of our favourite crafty Christmas present ideas, with something for everyone. And the best bit, you don’t need to be a former Blue Peter presenter to be able to make them!
1. Slice-and-Bake Shortbread Biscuits
This is an ideal recipe to make for multiple people as it’s easily scalable. They’re buttery, crumbly and super easy as you just need 4 ingredients. And you can pick up cheap gift tins or boxes to make your biscuits look extra special.
Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup of salted butter (softened), ¾ cup of icing sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a large bowl until it becomes light and fluffy. Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour and on a low speed, beat until the dough just starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together to form a log. Divide the dough in half and form each piece of dough into a 6-inch log. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for at least 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice each log into ½ inch slices and evenly space on the baking sheets. You should have about 40 cookies. Bake until the bottom edges of the cookies just start to brown, 14-16 minutes.
2. Cinnamon Scented Candles
Is there a more Christmassy smell than cinnamon? We think not! But you can use any essential oil to make your homemade candles smell beautiful—vanilla, lemon, coconut—the possibilities are endless. And once you nail this recipe, scented candles will be your new go-to gift for any occasion.
Boil some water in a large saucepan, then sit a heatproof bowl on top. Add 2 kg of finely chopped soy wax and leave to melt, stirring every so often. Use a thermometer to ensure the temperature of the wax does not exceed 90°C. Once melted, add your oil (around 30 ml of oil for a 250 ml-sized candle). And add powder for colour, if you wish. Remove from the heat once everything has been added and mixed so that the colour and oil are distributed evenly. Next, insert the wick into your jar/teacup/container by tying the wick to a pencil and sitting it horizontally across the top so that the wick hangs vertically. Pour in the wax to about 2 cm from the top. Use a hairdryer to dispel any air bubbles and smooth the top, then cut off the wick (wait at least 24 hours before lighting it).
3. Stovetop Christmas Potpourri
Stovetop potpourri is a mix of ingredients (usually edible, like fruit, spices and herbs) that you can keep simmering away on your stove for hours (you just need to simply replenish the water as it cooks down). Not only does it make a stunning gift for a loved one, it will also fill your home with the most delicious Christmassy smells too. It’s a much cheaper alternative to scented candles and it’s a 100% natural air freshener. Many ingredients can probably be found at home or in your garden too.
For a gorgeously festive cinnamon, pine and peppermint fragrance, take 2 peppermint sticks (make sure it has peppermint oil in the ingredient list) + 2 sprigs of pine (trim some from your Christmas tree) + 2 cinnamon sticks (makes one small mason jar of potpourri). Simply put all of the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan and top up with water. Simmer on the lowest setting and enjoy! You can pour into jars if gifting to someone.
4. Macramé Rainbow
Macramé is a wonderful art form that you can really lose yourself in, allowing you to relax and unwind while creating something beautiful. This DIY rainbow is really fun—and easy—the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of macramé.
Lay 8 ft. of rope (¾ inch thick works well) out flat to form the shape of a rainbow. Cut your rope into 4 pieces, using the following lengths to create a curved rainbow: 64 cm, 56 cm, 48 cm, and 40 cm. Take 4 colours of chunky yarn and cut to the following lengths: 15 yards, 14 yards, 13 yards, and 12 yards. Take the rope for your largest curve (64cm), and attach your yarn (15 yards) with an overhand knot 2 cm from the end of the rope. Wrap the yarn firmly around the rope until you come to the end, leaving the last 2 cm visible, then secure in place. Repeat the process with the remaining curves, and once complete, lay them all together in a rainbow shape. Then working from the back of your piece, use a needle and cotton to sew every rainbow curve to its neighbour, as close as possible to one another. Finally, take a comb and comb out the bare, unwrapped rope at both ends of your rainbow. The fluffier, the better! And snip the ends. Sew in a small split ring at the back of your rainbow to hang.
5. Easy Citrus Marmalade
Combine oranges, lemons, and limes for a delicious marmalade with a fresh citrus flavour. Present in a cute jar with a Christmas ribbon, and pair with a selection of cheese and crackers for the savoury-loving foodie in your life.
Cut 4 oranges (washed, skin scrubbed and dried), 3 lemons, and 2 limes into large chunks. Whizz briefly in a food processor to small chunks, and put the fruit in a large pan with 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 30 mins. Remove the pan from the heat and leave, covered, overnight. Add 1.75 kg granulated sugar and return the pan to a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Boil, uncovered, for 40-50 mins, or until the mixture reaches 105°C on a sugar thermometer. Spoon the marmalade into sterilised jars and seal.
6. Terrarium Gift Idea
These miniature glass plant displays are an easy way to bring a bit of greenery into your home. They make a great gift, and they’re super easy to do. All you need is an enclosed glass container (an old jam jar or pasta container is perfect), a little potting soil, pebbles (for drainage), activated charcoal (will help keep the water fresh and avoid bacteria growing), and of course, your chosen slow-growing plants. They’re a great way to get a dose of nature indoors, and every creation is unique.
Layer around 3 cm of pebbles in your glass container. Next scatter across some charcoal, and then layer on the potting soil (enough for the plant roots to sit comfortably inside it). Make a hole and put your biggest plant in first, filling it in and flattening the soil around it. Make sure your plant has enough room to grow a little – don’t cramp them against the glass. If you have more, keep adding the rest of your plants, and place in other stones, or maybe some moss or sand to cover up the soil if you want to before putting the lid on. Or create an open terrarium (with no lid) which is great for displaying cacti and succulents.
7. Stylish Photo Book
Why not turn memories into a lasting keepsake with a unique photo book? There’s no better personalised gift than a beautiful book full of treasured family photos that you can look at time and time again.
There are a multitude of websites and apps which allow you to create stylish photo books. With easy-to-use software, a range of paper and cover types to choose from, and an abundance of themed design templates to suit any occasion, you can really showcase your treasured memories. You can also create personalised calendars, mugs, cushions and lots more for the perfect Christmas gift.
We hope you’ve been inspired to get crafting and consider giving a loved one a unique Christmas gift this year. But it doesn’t need to be limited to the festive season. Homemade gifts make great birthday, anniversary, and valentines presents too. And if you get really good at making something, why not even consider turning it into a business and selling your creations on online marketplaces, like eBay or Etsy?
You might also like to have a look at: Christmas Main Course Recipes from Ocado