Ah Christmas. That wonderful time of year when you show your friends and family how much they mean to you in exact monetary terms.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Increasingly, we’re coming to value experiences over things, unique and home-made over cheap and mass produced. And that’s nowhere is more evident than in Christmas presents. This year, craft is bigger than ever, so whatever your experience level, it’s time to try your hand at a few home-made presents.
We’ve rounded up a few ideas that will save you money, and impress your loved ones. Good luck!
1. Personalised wooden gifts
You do have to buy the tools for this, but once you’ve got the kit, it’s the perfect way to make any wooden gift far more special (and seem more expensive).
To get started, you’ll need to get yourself a basic pyrography set (found at Amazon, Hobbycraft etc.), and take a look at this YouTube tutorial.
Then get personalising anything you like – from reclaimed boxes, to chopping boards. When you have a really steady hand, you could even think about more intricate presents such as jewellery made from reclaimed driftwood, and other Etsy faves!
2. Crochet Christmas decorations
Easy and cheap knit or crochet tree ornaments are the gift that gives every year. Head to Ravelry.com, which has loads of great patterns for free. Woollen tree decorations are a great way of using leftover bits of yarn too, which keeps costs down. And look out for balls in charity shops.
3. Clementine wreaths
If you’re super-duper skint, this is a nice option for grandparents who don’t really want anything anyway. All you have to do is dress up a bag of clementines. Wrap in cellophane and add any glitter, sparkle or ribbons you have in your craft collection. Finish off with a personal message. Simple, cheap but lovely and sweet.
4. Homemade bubble bath
The ingredients for this are cheap, and go a long way – ideal. The basics are castille soap – pure soap you can find in whole foods shops, chemists or online -, coconut oil, essential oil for the scent (lavender is lovely) and a container (most supermarkets sell bargain-priced multi-packs of decorative glass jars).
There are plenty of online recipes (this one by Apartment Therapy is great), but essentially all you need to do is mix everything together and pop it all into your container of choice. Decorate with ribbons and a nice label, and you’ve got a thoughtful present for every bath-lover in your life.
5. Chilli Oil
For food lovers, this is a fantastic addition to their store cupboards and will be genuinely useful. Plus, it’s super easy to make. All you’ll need is some reasonably decent olive oil, chilli flakes (plus a dried chilli to put in each bottle). If you know your stuff about the kitchen, try mixing up the chillies – you can get all sorts of dried options that give different flavours, from chipotle to arbol. And look out for a bulk box of small bottles to use as your containers (or pop to your local Robert Dyas).
You’ll need to spend a little time in the kitchen – heating the oil and then straining it into a sterilised container – and that’s it! The BBC has a great recipe to follow if you need some guidance.
6. Bath bomb cupcakes in a jar
This is a cute, colourful gift that’s far cheaper than its shop-bought alternative. You’ll just need a few ingredients you can usually find in your kitchen cupboard, and a bit of imagination to dream up fun flavours. Head over to Idle Wife for a step-by-step guide.
7. Homemade candles
Good quality candles that don’t smell sickly sweet are super expensive. So why not make your own using your loved one’s favourite scents? For more grown-up candles, get inspired by herbs and spices – for example, bay and rosemary make beautiful partners.
All you need is beeswax, jars (or try cheap teacups from a charity shop), candle wick and essential oil scents – again an initial outlay that will make itself up quickly enough. The blog A Beautiful Mess has a fab tutorial to follow.
8. Colourful kitchen utensils
If you’re new to the crafty life these are a good way to get started. All you need is some paint colours (think about the kitchen they’ll be living in!) and varnish and some masking tape to help you make the pattern. Head over to Cleverly Simple for help with the design, or go wild and create your own. Just remember to stick to the handles, no one wants a paint stir fry.
9. Polaroid magnets
These are super cute and wonderfully personal – but probably on the intermediate level from crafters (you have been warned!). You just need some photos, Modge Podge glue (if you don’t have this, what kind of crafter do you call yourself?) and sticky-back magnet tape. It’s a bit fiddly and you’ll need Photoshop or similar, so read through the instructions and get all your equipment sorted before you fall in love with this idea. There’s a good tutorial here and browse Pinterest for inspiration.
Any other ideas? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.