Homemade Christmas gifts

We’ve already looked at buying cheaper Christmas presents, but if you want to keep the cost of gifts down this year then homemade ones might be ideal too. However, they need to be made with care and love, and preferably also with some skill or talent (although gifts made by kids tend to have that ‘awwww’ factor whatever state they’re in).

I think it’s best to announce to people well in advance if you’re changing your gift-giving behaviour this year and giving gifts that are smaller, cheaper, or made by your own fair hand. Don’t let others go full steam ahead and buy you something expensive without warning them first; it’s not nice and can cause all sorts of offence. If they still want to give you a big fancy gift after you’ve told them your plans then that’s great.


Meanwhile, people often clamour for homemade gifts, especially if they’re made by anyone with great craft or kitchen skills. As it’s so close to the festive period, I’d strongly advise against learning to knit or use a sewing machine for the first time right now, or trying to book in for a workshop session where you’ll be blowing your own glass baubles or curing your own meat. It will take you ages to get things looking right, and the gifts might not turn out all that well.

That said, there are plenty of things you can make and cook that don’t require an enormous amount of skill. All they might need is some assembling or mixing, and then all you really have to do is pay attention to the packaging. That usually means some cellophane sheets or bags, a few ribbons, some bought or homemade boxes or baskets, or bottles and jars etc. Make it look good and show that you’ve made a big effort.


The only other caveat is to keep your spending in line with your budget. There are often hidden costs for ingredients, or expensive equipment that you might never use again. If possible, borrow or share any equipment you might need, such as sugar thermometers, jam pans, pinking shears, fancy biscuit cutters, soap-making pans, moulds, overlockers, icing sets and so on. You may find that buying materials in bulk saves you a fair bit of money too, but beware of giving everyone exactly the same gift – shake it up with variations of flavours, scents or colours if you can.

I especially like to give edible homemade gifts to party hosts, along with a bottle of wine, or to make quirky in-joke crafts specially tailored to the eccentricities of particular friends. Small foodie gifts also go down well with co-workers and as stocking fillers, in my experience.

The best homemade gifts I’ve ever received were: a huge bottle of sloe gin made the old fashioned way (with crushed barley sugars in it); a scarf knitted in 3 different colours of cotton thread; infused olive oils; and a big ramekin filled with brandy butter. I’ll put up lots of similar ideas and links to recipes and instructions in my next post.

 Have you ever received a memorably brilliant (or memorably rubbish) homemade gift? What was it?

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  1. Best homemade Christmas gift was from my very craft talented little sister. She made me and my partner a chess set out of Fimo, my side was all bags and shoes (eg flip flops as pawns, a handbag as my queen) my partner’s was music and super heroes – with amazing heart and attention to detail, wonderful!

    1. That sounds like the perfect quirky gift, and completely unique too. Made with lots of love! Has your chess game improved?

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