Christmas is galloping towards us apace, whether we want to think about it or not. This year, perhaps more than ever, with money in general tight and the future uncertain, it would be a good time to think about home-made, personalised presents.
Home-made doesn’t have to equal cheap or tacky. With a little thought and careful planning, home-made Christmas presents can look beautiful, and the recipients should certainly appreciate the work and care which will have gone in to making a special gift, just for them!
Christmas Presents: Edible
These days, almost every food under the sun is available in the shops at all times of the year. What can’t be bought in shops, though, is personalised knowledge of the present recipient’s personal preferences.
Perhaps only you will know that granny loves ginger, in all its forms, and secretly longs for a box of ginger parkin, just like the sort she used to share with her brothers and sisters when she was a girl.
Maybe only you know about cousin Claire’s passion for chocolate and sour cherry cup cakes. What could be nicer than a gift box of these delicious little cakes in their snazzy paper cases, carefully wrapped in a presentation box tied with ribbon chosen to match the design on the paper wrapping.
Maybe uncle James confided in you about the delicious little pastries he sampled on a long ago summer holiday in France. Get out the rolling pin and the pastry cutters – go on, it won’t take long and think how much you’ll enjoy experimenting.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, now might be a time to start experimenting with gingerbread. Gingerbread houses are great fun to make, but gingerbread ornaments for the Christmas tree (or packed in a gift box for a friend) might be the answer for the less ambitious.
Christmas Presents: Ceramic
If you are lucky enough to have a “Paint Your Own Pottery” studio near to where you live, now is a good time to visit. Even if you have little confidence in your artistic abilities, take heart – everything looks better once it’s been glazed and fired.
The Christmas stock will be making its way onto the shelves and Christmas ornaments, Christmas tree dishes and hand printed plates and mugs for friends and grandparents need to be carefully planned. Weekends have a way of disappearing as Christmas approaches, so now is a good time to start thinking about what you and your children will make, and for which lucky friend or relative.
Planning ahead will make you a very popular customer with the studio proprietor too. Things can become extremely hectic in ceramic studios as Christmas approaches. Kiln time and space is limited, so planning ahead really is a good idea, especially if you have a special gift for a special person in mind, or if you are considering commissioning a snowman or ceramic Christmas tree.
Christmas Presents: Knitted
Beautiful knitted Christmas presents are easy to make these days, with all the fashionably coloured and textured yarns available in the shops. A chunky yarn in an attractive colour and a pair of 5mm needles will help you to knit a fashionable scarf in a very short space of time.
Even if you are only confident enough to knit a square you can still achieve a scarf, a cushion cover, a cot blanket or a throw, using only the simplest of stitches and techniques. The green striped cot blanket in the pictures below has been finished by adding lines of vertical stitching in contrasting colours to the horizontal knitted stripes. It’s a very simple technique but can make your work appear stylish and professional.
Christmas Presents: Infinite Variety
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Think about your own hobbies and interests for further inspiration. If you like making cards, why not make some little presentation packs of personalised note-cards for your friends and family?
If you love long country walks, maybe take a camera and frame two or three of your best images to make an attractive gift for a city-bound friend, or if you live by the sea, a little beachcombing may provide you with the materials for a framed shell and driftwood mirror.
Whatever you decide to do, now is probably a good time to start planning ahead for the festive season.