Homemade Christmas

This year is my second year away from home for the holidays. Last year, I made an effort to order gifts ahead of time on Amazon and have them sent to my family members so they’d have something to open up. Due to the distance though, they sent me money which made the whole process seem a bit redundant. I’m sure my family enjoyed the gifts I got them, but they could have just as easily saved the money they sent me to purchase what I bought, or just to get something they’d enjoy even more.

I’ve never been one to buy gifts. I usually do homemade gifts. They make thoughtful, affordable, and unique gifts. Although I have a disposable income now, Luc and I decided that we’d rather save our money for our upcoming trip to Thailand and Malaysia, and opt for homemade gifts instead. So I’d like to share some of my favourite homemade gift ideas for friends and family!

All Things Canned – Pickles / Preserves / Salsa / Sauces

It’s been two years since I whipped up a couple batches of pickles to give to my family for Christmas. With carrots, cucumber, and zucchini that I grew in my garden over the summer, these pickles were homemade from start to finish.

The recipes tend to be simple, but you have to be careful with the canning process. If it’s  not sealed properly, it can spoil the food. It’s also important to find reputable recipes – such as from canning company websites like Bernardin – getting the balance of acidity right it important for safe preserving.

If you’re worried about food safety or don’t have all the equipment for canning, never fear! You can just pack the recipes into old (clean) glass jars and keep them refrigerated!

Hot Packs

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Perfect for anyone living in a winter climate, or anyone who tends to get aches and pains. I have a long, skinny one that I use on my neck when it gets sore from being on the computer too long. Small bean-bag sized ones are great for re-usable hand warmers in throughout the colder months. And for any ladies, they are fantastic for getting through cramps.

They can be spiced up a bit too by adding things like cinnamon or lavender to the rice, barley, or whatever grain you decide to use. Lucky for me, I have a pretty endless supply of fabric available to me as my mum is a textile designer. But since that’s not the case for most people, you can save money by using old shirts (flannel is the best). With any luck, this gift could almost be free!

There’s a great tutorial for them at Leaf TV. A quick search will also give you loads of ideas for different grains and scents you can add along. It’s easy to adjust the size for the type of bag you want, and it can be sewn by hand if your don’t have the skills or equipment to use a machine.

I know I’ll be making up a batch of little hand warmers for my co-teachers. They open a new pack of disposable ones almost every day throughout the winter!

Baked Goods

Okay, who doesn’t love getting baked goods? This is simple, easy and delicious. Whip up a batch of your loved one’s favourite cookies or a nice tray of fudge. There are plenty of great wrapping ideas too, so get creative and make something impressive!

These No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Cups are crazy easy to make, but look amazing. Throw them in a nice tin and voila, you’ve got something magical.

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Or, try cookies, like these Matcha Ginger Shortbread. They’re festively green, and matcha has antioxidants, so they’re healthy right?

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Pinterest that shit!

So I’ve included some things that I’ve done myself that went over really well with friends and family. But there are SO. MANY. great homemade gift ideas out there. From memory boxes to coupon books, it’s impossible not to find something perfect to give!

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