01 July 2013

A Handmade Christmas Challenge

Who doesn't love to receive a handmade gift, made especially for them?  And I love to give homemade gifts, especially if they are consumable or useful. They are enjoyed while they last and when they've been eaten, drunk or used there's nothing left to clutter up the house, nothing to dust or polish or store or find a spot for - the perfect gift.

With that in mind, and seeing as Christmas is only six short months away, it's time for a handmade Christmas challenge.

If you are going to make the gifts you give this year, you need to start now. Those six months will fly by and before you know it, it will be the first of December and you'll be thinking you need to get a wriggle on, then it will be Christmas Eve and you'll be at the shops, frantically searching for a gift, any gift, to put under the Christmas tree.

No, if you want to have a handmade Christmas start right now, today, the first of July.

Start with planning.

Make a list of everyone you will be giving a handmade gift too.

Next to their name make a note of just what you'd like to give them.

Then, and this is the important part, list those names in order, starting with the ones that have the most complicated and time consuming gifts next to them.

For example if you are going to crochet a lap rug for Great Aunty Mable, you need to start it now. Lap rugs take a little time so you can't whip it up two days before Christmas. But if you are going to give Cousin Charlie a box of homemade Russian Caramels, then you don't want to be making them in August, they are a last minute gift, on the list for Christmas Eve.

As you choose the types of handmade gifts you are going to give, remember your craft or cooking skills. It's probably not wise to try and crochet a bedspread if you've never crocheted before. Instead you could trim a matching set of bath towels or pretty hankies or even crochet a couple of dish cloths to match a pretty tea towel you've trimmed with a crochet edge.

Here are some ideas for handmade gifts:

  • Recipe cards
  • A family recipe book
  • Mini photo albums - theme them around a special occasion  i.e. family Christmas, weddings, new baby, graduation, 21st birthdays etc
  • Bath salts
  • Handmade soaps
  • Trimmed face washers with matching hand towels and handmade soaps
  • Trimmed kitchen towels
  • A hamper of MOO cleaning products and a handmade dish cloth
  • Covered coat hangers - either knitted, crocheted or sewn
  • Quilted, knitted or crocheted pot holders
  • Quilted place mat set
  • Quilted coasters
  • t-shirt shopping bags
  • A set of re-usable veggie bags with labels
  • A set of plant markers for the garden
  • A tea cup pincushion
  • Lined baskets - for knitting, sewing, hankies, bread etc
  • Scented ironing water
  • Scented sachets
  • Shoe sachets
  • Make-up purses
  • Dough ornaments
  • Embroidered cushion covers
  • Crocheted floor pillows
  • Knitted dishcloths
  • Flavoured vinegars
  • Homemade sauces
  • Jams
  • Lemon butter
  • Homemade pickles
  • Homemade Christmas puddings or cakes
  • Bird feeders
  • A set of sock covered terracotta pots planted with herbs
  • Pretty hanging baskets and a packet of seeds
  • Pretty seed packets (perfect for the gardener who seed saves)
  • Pretty aprons
  • Garden aprons
  • Hand-painted dustpan and brush sets
  • Handmade doyleys (crocheted, knitted or embroidered)
  • Photo frames
  • Home management binder
  • Personalised bill paying system in a pretty binder
  • Sets of personalised stationery
  • Sets of handmade greeting cards
  • Hand knitted socks

The list could go on and on and on.

Choose a gift that suits each recipient, because that level of customization and creative thought will shine through. Each loved one will know that your gift came from the heart and will cherish and appreciate it accordingly!

You'll no doubt have other ideas. Share them below, I'll update the list as we go on with the challenge.

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  1. I started two days ago. Knitting one of those fancy scarfs, I've got lots of lemons so I'll make some lemon butter too!

    1. If you make lemon butter now, you'll need to either freeze it (it freeze very well) or finish it off in a water bath to seal it properly.

      Or you could just juice the lemons and freeze the juice, then in December make Six Minute Lemon Butter :)

  2. I always make almond bread, and a biscotti, my kids love it, and make sure that I'm making both of these. Even last year when I was going overseas for a month over Christmas, I still had to make the almond bread and biscotti for them.


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