How to...make DIY Christmas gifts

Tis the week of Christmas, which is so often filled with last minute panic. Maybe you don't have the money, haven't had time for shopping or are just out of ideas…whatever the reason, instead of panicking and battling through the crowds to find something, why not try some cheap and easy DIY Christmas gift ideas? After all nothing says Christmas better than homemade presents with a personal touch!

How to...make DIY Christmas gifts

Sugar Scrub

Everyone gets toiletries for Christmas but how often does someone make it themselves? The thing is, it's so easy! Basic ingredients are:

Equal parts sugar and oil (olive or coconut)

Essential oils of your choice

You can buy all of these from the supermarket and swap the essential oil you use for different people! Lavender oil is great for relaxing before bed-time while citrus smells like orange; both are a great pick me up for the busy bee in your life. For another take on this, you can use honey instead of the essential oils and voila - an edible and super tasty lip scrub. Find or decorate some jars to hold them and you have a ready-made gift set to rival Lush.

Cosy knits

Even if you've never knitted before, don't panic! Making a knit headband is so easy, just arm yourself with some wool, needles and a spare Sunday afternoon. Use knit or garter stitch all the way through (great for beginners) – cast on twelve stitches then keep kitting rows until it just fits around your head (it will stretch) then cast off and sew the ends together with your spare yarn. If you are feeling adventurous, or are a bit more experienced try a scarf, or use Innocent's Big Knit tutorials and make some adorable little hats for tree decorations or adapt to make finger puppets – great for kids!

An everything-you-need jar

These have become so popular, you can now buy them - but why do that when they are so easy to make? Choose from a baking recipe or hot chocolate mix and marshmallows and just layer all the ingredients they will need into a cheap mason jar (you can get these from any supermarket!).You can personalise them to the goodies which you know your friends and family like, or give them your own special recipe. Adorn with Christmas themed cookie cutters and candy canes, or get creative with a scarf and marker pens to make a snowman one.

Candles

This one is great if you have a lot of spare, half-used candles. Just shred the wax into small pieces, place them in heat resistant bowl, then pop this bowl over a pan of boiling water (don't heat the wax directly as it may catch fire). Set up the wick in a container - use glass jars, metal cans or old tea cups as they are heat resistant. For a wick, you can use parcel string – make sure you cut it longer than the container, and tie it to something which you can balance across the top of the container. When the wax has melted, pour it into the jar, but be careful! Always wear oven-gloves and have someone to help you, as this part can be tricky and hot wax is dangerous. Once poured leave to cool and then trim the wick for a finished product. You can use essential oils to personalise the smell and non-toxic crayons to add a bit of colour!

Chocolate truffles

These are perfect to bring when visiting friends and family and so simple too.

Use:

300g dark chocolate

300ml double cream

50g butter

Melt the chocolate, then heat the butter and cream in another bowl until simmering. Pour the chocolate into the cream and stir until smooth. Add your choice of flavourings or go with the good old chocolate taste then leave to cool in the fridge for four hours. Once cooled use a warmed spoon to scoop out small chunks and shape into balls. Coat your truffles in your chosen topping – melt more chocolate and spoon over for chocolate coated truffles or dust with cocoa powder for a more rustic look! Place in a jar or line a box with tissue paper and tie with ribbon for maximum effect!

Now that all your presents are sorted you can kick back, relax and watch your favourite festive film!


Image: Nina Nelson via Flickr

Author

Ellen Orange

Ellen Orange Voice Reporter

I am a 24 year old Marketing Officer from the North East with a passion for arts and writing. I did a BA in English Literature and an MA in Twentieth and Twenty First Century Literature at Durham University, because I love books and reading! I have experience in writing for a variety of student publications, as well as having contributed to Living North, a regional magazine and Culture magazine, a supplement to regional newspaper, The Journal. I have been part of a Young Journalists scheme writing for NewcastleGateshead's Juice Festival, a young people's arts and culture festival, and have since become a Team Juice member. As well as reading and writing, I love theatre, photography and crafts.

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