Our Christmas cakes are baked and sitting in their tins soaking in brandy, so Christmas must be on its way. I am nowhere near as organised as I usually am. I’ve ordered the turkey and starting buying one or two presents for the children on our list, but apart from that I haven’t done a thing. Strangely I’m not feeling worried about this at all. I have lots of lists and plans and I know it will all come together in the end.
In keeping with our aims to be less wasteful, we’ll be making lots of gifts this year and also trying to be inventive with how we wrap presents. I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about my ideas for Christmas presents and giftwrap for a while, but worried about the recipients of the gifts reading it and ruining their surprises. So, if any family or close friends reading this could stop here and not read any further until after the big day, that would be much appreciated.
- Kindling Kits – We have quite a few family and friends with open fires or log burners. They will receive kindling kits, which comprise of sticks, pinecone firelighters and a bundle of herbs and whole spices, such as cinnamon bark, rosemary and dried orange slices, to make their fires burn with festive spirit this Christmas.
- Candles in Teacups – I’ve been sourcing little teacups and dishes from charity shops for a few weeks and plan to make candles scented with cinnamon, orange and clove for some members of the family and friends.
- Biscuits in a Barrel – I was shopping in a discount shop the other week and found glass biscuit barrels with screw top lids. I only bought one and wish I’d bought more now. I’ll make some nice biscuits to go in it and tie a pretty ribbon round the top.
- Chocolates in Origami Boxes – My friend bought our children an origami instruction book and papers last Christmas. We had a go at making little origami boxes a while ago and decided they’d make lovely Christmas presents filled with sweets. So we’ll make boxes from some pretty paper and chocolate truffles to go in them.
- Stained Glass Biscuits – What could be nicer than an edible tree decoration? We’re going to make these lovely biscuits and attach ribbons so that people can hang them on their trees before eating them.
- Flavoured Vodka – For the ‘young people’ in the family, I intend to make flavoured vodka. I’m going to attempt cranberry vodka to give it a festive twist.
- Christmas Cake – We’ve made four Christmas cakes. One large one for us and three smaller ones to give as gifts in a nice tin, perhaps accompanied by some local cheese.
- Jack and the Beanstalk Planters – I’m going to wrap some broad bean seeds in paper and tie them to a pot of compost and give it as a gift to some of the children in the family. These will be accompanied by a scroll of paper on which I’ll write some of the Jack and the Beanstalk story, incorporating the instructions for planting and a warning about giants in castles.
Other ideas from previous years:
- Flavoured oils – Simply bottles of olive oil flavoured with chilli or lemon.
- Handmade Christmas Decorations – Felt stars sewn together with contrasting thread and stuffed, with ribbons and tiny bells hanging underneath.
- Edible Treats – Shortbread, cheese stars, mince pies and biscotti all make lovely foodie gifts.
- Vanilla sugar – Last year, I bought some really nice vanilla pods and then put each one in a jar, filled it up with sugar and tied ribbon round the top with biscuit cutters threaded on.
- Food hampers – A selection of local cheeses, chutneys, jams, crackers and a large pork pie all displayed in a basket or nice box.
- Puppet Theatre – The year before last I made two puppet theatres. One for my nieces and one for our children. It was quite simply a piece of green fabric to fit the width of their bedroom doorway, with a hole cut in for the ‘stage’, curtains and decorations stitched on and a panel at the top for a piece of dowel to fit in. Then we screwed two cup-hooks in each side of the door frame for the dowel to sit in (these are removed when not in use to prevent accidents). Voila! One puppet theatre!
- Christmas Fizz – I like to give little luxury gifts, like a nice bottle of champagne, prosecco or cava, either in a bottle bag or simply wrapped in tissue paper and tied with a snazzy ribbon.
Christmas Gift Wrap
- Brown paper bags with handles, printed with Christmas ink stamps.
- Vintage magazines and old newspapers, tied with ribbons or string.
- Brown paper tied with string or ribbon and decorated with holly sprigs.
- Pretty scarves or fabric with the corners tied.
- No gift wrap at all for items in jars or bottles. These look pretty enough tied round with a ribbon. I like to thread bells and tiny decorations on to the ribbon.
Writing this post has made me feel all festive. I think I’ll go and make a batch of sausage rolls. I love Christmas.