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Ideas needed for easy (& cheap) Christmas pressies
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mrs_ursus



Joined: 14 Sep 2009
Posts: 27
Location: Wiltshire
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:18 am    Post subject: Ideas needed for easy (& cheap) Christmas pressies  Reply with quote    

I'm in a severely financially challenged situation this year, and really can't afford to splash much cash on pressies. However, being a postive-thinking kinda girl, I'm looking at this as an opportunity to get creative, learn a thing or two and hopefully give some presents that will be appreciated for the effort and thought that's gone into them. That's the theory anyway.

So, I'm looking for some ideas of fairly foolproof things I can make and give. Need to be foolproof as I can't afford to muck stuff up and have to start from scratch

Things I'm thinking of so far:

Sweets and choccies - I'm going to make coconut ice & fudge as I know I can do those with my eyes shut. Might also have a bash at the truffles on Cab's Homemade Chocolates article. How long before Xmas can I get away with making them? I have no idea how long homemade choc's keep (any I've ever made tend to be eaten within hours )

Chutney - anyone got a foolproof recipe? Again, when should I make this?

Soap - just read Sally's post about rebatching soap. Is it really as straightforward as it looks? Grate, chuck in extra bits, add water, squidge, mould, leave to dry, wrap?!

Can any of you good folk think of anything else I could have a go at? Ideally it would be great if I could get my daughter (10yrs) involved in the making process too, to help reinforce the idea that presents aren't always something you have to buy in a shop.

Incidentally, my knitting & sewing are both truly shocking, but I can crochet a little.

Thanks in advance

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

how about crochet scrubby cloths accompanied by a soap ball- you do the cloths just a plain square works fine, your daughter could be in charge of the soap. It really is that easy!

Mulled wine sachets can go down well, use cheesecloth and put a few cloves, a bit of cinnamon or cassia bark, some dried ginger root (slice a fresh one and let it dry, only takes a few days if you chop it up first) some citrus peel and tie it up, package 3-6 with a lable instructing to add it to a bottle of plonk, sweeten to taste, and warm up

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41739
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you want to make chutneys or pickles for Christmas you should be doing them now(ish) mostly they're better for about a month's maturing.

Fee



Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Posts: 15802
Location: Surrey Heath
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Are you up to crocheted tree decs?

How about knitting some dishcloths? My OH can do basic knitting, so he gets to knit dishcloths You could teach your 10yo to knit them!

mochyn



Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 24551
Location: mid-Wales
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Aren't there instructions for cake/bics in a jar here somewhere? I'm going to do one for the grandson with a dinosaur cutter!

lettucewoman



Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 7834
Location: Tiptoe in the Forest!!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

buy one of these....scour the charity shops for wool, make people unusual "boa" scarves...sorted!!

Seroiusly it's dead easy and people love them...I sell them alongside the jewellery at craft fairs in the winter and they sell very well!!

Midland Spinner



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 2931
Location: Under a green roof
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Bath salts used to be a favourite when I was young - Didn't Blue Peter keep telling us how?
(I can't remember what you used, although I know it was a standard household chemical of some sort with colour & pong)

Any ideas (or is it a complete no-no now?)

wipka84



Joined: 07 Feb 2009
Posts: 221
Location: Essex, UK
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Body scrubs? Basically just sea salt and infused oil. The other half tells me that they are far cheaper and just as nice as shop bought ones.

marigold



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 12457
Location: West Sussex
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Do your costings very carefully - homemade isn't necessarily cheaper!

Cheapest option is a no-gifts agreement. Check with likely candidates to see if they would be relieved to be relieved of the gift-giving obligation.

Recycling stuff you already own as a gift is acceptable, as long as it's in perfect condition and the recipient doesn't know that you've had that necklace/vase/toiletries set/toy/game sitting is a cupboard for years.

Hand-made vouchers offering an evening's baby-sitting or a morning's gardening are nice, but you have to deliver the goods when requested (don't over-offer - one session is enough, with a pretty card).

Charity shops sometimes have near-perfect condition books for sale very cheaply. As long as the price-marking is easily removable I think it's fine to give them as gifts. Book that are obviously second-hand are also perfectly OK as gifts if you know the recipient will be pleased with your find.

If you have access to suitable materials gratis, you could make a seasonal bouquet/table decoration/whatever from holly etc.

Charity shops are also good sources of ornaments for shabby-chic lovers. A pair of pressed glass candlesticks with festive candles would make a trendy and cheapish gift.

Biscuits make nice gifts too, but can't be made too far ahead.

You can buy magazine subscriptions as gifts with Tesco Clubcard tokens. Not cheap cheap, but the cost in tokens is about a quarter of the cover price of 12 copies.

Last edited by marigold on Mon Nov 16, 09 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you're planning the chocs, cost it out carefully before you start, it isn't THAT cheap. Well worth it though if it isn't too expensive. I usually set aside a day sometime in the week before Christmas, they keep okay till New Year or a little later if need be (they're usually scoffed well before that though). 20 boxes last year if memory serves, seemed to go down well.

Try getting teaspoons and interesting cups/mugs from charity shops. Melt some chocolate, and dip the heads of the spoons in, allowing the choc to harden, and then do it again, and again... till its thick enough. Then put them in the cups with a marshmallow, wrap in some cellophane, and you've got a hot chocolate kit for a cost of next to nowt.

Home made soap goes down well.

If you're a competent shroomer, then jars of dried mushrooms are good. I'm experimenting now with a jar containing risotto rice, dried milk, dried shrooms, dried onions and garlic salt, and some herbs... Hoping to perfect my home made risotto kit for presents this year.

If you've got good photos of friends, like any couples you know looking good together or pics of their kids, have maybe three or four different prints of them done, give them alongside a photo frame (got the skill to make one? Easy enough, or buy them for a quid or two in a discount shop).

Will be raiding the store cupboard for excess jam, chutney, jelly, wine and liqueurs. Alongside the chocs, shrooms, soap, quilted christmas baubles (she's making those, I'll try to find a link for that some time soon), cake stands (in progress), chopping boards (done and stored away), and photos thats Christmas presents almost sorted.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

marigold wrote:
Biscuits make nice gifts too, but can't be made too far ahead.


Knew there was something I was forgetting

Ellie will most likely make a batch of liebcuchen (sp?). They last pretty well, and they're superb Christmas presents.

Fee



Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Posts: 15802
Location: Surrey Heath
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

cab wrote:

Ellie will most likely make a batch of liebcuchen (sp?). They last pretty well, and they're superb Christmas presents.


Yeah, I made a big box of those (lebkuchen) that I took around the country with us on our travels last year, sharing with each household, then taking on with us to the next, they were delicious, went down very well (several households tried to keep them ) and I'll def. be making them again (though I'll do a better job of proving the chocolate this year).


Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34890
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Recipe?

Fee



Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Posts: 15802
Location: Surrey Heath
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'll dig mine out

Hang on *searching...*

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1941/lebkuchen

I cut mine into different shapes and dipped them in chocolate, once cooled.

I'll post my recipe when I get around to making them, they're in my Christmas baking book.

mochyn



Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 24551
Location: mid-Wales
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 09 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Is there a link for cakes in a jar anywhere? I can't find it...

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