DIY Christmas Gifts

… for teachers, work colleagues, friends & family
I’ve recently been told about the competitiveness with the ‘what to buy the teachers for Christmas’ game, and the effect it can have the following year. We’re talking Country Road or Esprit tote bags overflowing with beach towels, home wares, wine and the sorts. Of course, these were combined presents from a couple of sisters, but who would’ve thought?
As a kid, I remember buying my teachers some nice soaps or chocolates, and that was it! Oh the days…
But it got me thinking, as I prepare to embark on the journey of motherhood, and soon enough the ‘what to buy the teachers for Christmas’ thing too, will I succumb to beautiful textiles that I would normally reserve for the BFF? Or will I go the more homemade, DIY style gifts – gifts made with love and from the heart.
Through-out the year I have been busy ‘pinning’ things on my Pinterest board and jotting notes down in my ‘Christmas ideas’ notepad – fun gifts to make for Christmas. Below are a few ideas to cover off gifts for everyone – teachers, work colleagues, friends and family.

Chocolates

Chocolate makingChocolate moulds are readily available from your local discount shop or baking specialty store and come in all shapes and sizes. All you need to do it temper your chocolate which means it will retain that glossy shine, and have a hard crack when you bite into it (this gets lost when you melt chocolate without following the tempering process). Follow Cadbury’s easy process on how to temper chocolate (it’s just melting, cooling and re-heating to certain temperatures).

If you are feeling clever, you can purchase powder or oil based colouring suitable for white chocolate – stir through before setting in the moulds, and top with some edible silver or gold leaf foil for a fancy finish.

For tasty add-ins, crush candy canes and stir through chocolate or chop up some jelly lollies. You could even try making your own ‘rum & raisin’ chocolate. Flavour combo’s are as limited as your imagination!

 Rocky Road / White Christmas

Another chocolate variation, but a Christmas classic. I have made this before without tempering the white chocolate, but it just means it will melt quicker once removed from the refrigerator (any excuse to eat it all at once!)

White chocolate rocky roadMelt white chocolate, then stir in shredded coconut, dried cranberries, chopped pistachio nuts, chunks of Turkish delight (you can find cheap boxes from K-Mart or Target) and sliced marshmallows. Once combined, I pour into a 30cm square, baking paper lined cake tin, and leave to set in the fridge. Then, turn it out and cut into slices, bars or bite sized pieces depending on how you are packaging it up. I buy the cello bags and tie the end down with some twine or Christmas ribbon (bags available from craft shop).
For a fancy look, think about the ingredients you are mixing in and colour coordinate. You can add some freeze dried strawberries, violet petals and dried cranberries. If you want to get really technical, you can also buy some white colouring (titanium dioxide) to ensure your colour contrast doesn’t end up a bit yellow – as some white chocolate can have quite a creamy yellowish colour to it.

Image courtesy of: Donna Hay

Mint or Vanilla Rose Body scrub

This recipe is very versatile, and if you would like to make a coarser scrub for feet or dry elbows, use raw sugar instead of brown sugar. If you would like a smoother scrub for sensitive skin, use caster sugar.

  •  1 cup brown sugar
  • ½  cup coconut oil
  • 8-10 drops of your favourite essential oil
  • 2 drops of Vitamin E oil  to act as a natural preservative

Stir all the ingredients together in a glass bowl until the desired consistency is achieved. If it’s a little dry, add some more oil, if it’s too wet, add some more sugar. Store in cleaned glass jars (you could make very cute gifts with little labels and swing tags) or in an airtight container.

These are extremely easy to make, and you can customize to your mood. Perhaps your child’s hard working and potentially stressed out teacher might like one or a combination of the below oils to promote calmness:

  • LavenderSugar scrub
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Sandalwood

Or you could go with your more classic scents like:

  • Peppermint
  • Vanilla
  • Rose
 Image courtesy of: Love Grows Wild

 

Cookie or Brownie mix in jam jars

Baking jarIf you have a favourite baking recipe, you can use this to create the cute jars. It’s really all about layering the dry ingredients in a jar, and thinking about the colours as you pour them in. If you can, try and pick recipes that use brown sugar (to add another colour to the mix rather than white sugar, white flour, bi-carb etc.) some sort of chocolate (choc chips, both milk and white, broken choc pieces, Maltesers, M&M’s etc.) and nuts (to add visual texture).

Don’t forget to include a tag with the remaining baking instructions and ingredients!

Image courtesy of:  30 something urban girl

Reindeer Noses

These are just the cutest little gifts! They are cost effective, and great for kids to hand out to their friends or teachers at school. All you need to do it search ‘Reindeer noses’ on Pinterest and a tonne of results come up, but we think this is one of the cutest versions. All you need is 8 chocolate malt balls (Maltesers) and 1 red coated candy ball (Jaffa) per pack – easy!

Reindeer noses Reindeer noses

Images courtesy of: Crafting in the Country

Ginger Crunch

Cut this classic slice into bit size pieces and box up with some baking paper in cute packaging tied with a big ribbon.

Ginger Crunch

Grown-up hot chocolate jars

Grown-up hot chocolatePick up some jam jars from K-Mart or Target and fill ½ with your favourite hot chocolate mixture, ½ with mini marshmallows and tie a mini Baileys bottle to the side of the jar. A simple, yet effective, homemade gift that the recipient can enjoy after a long Christmas Day with the family.

Image courtesy of: BuzzFeed
 

Fresh squeezed juices

Just omit the yoghurt from the recipes found here and bottle in a beautiful 2L flip-top vessel. Tie a small gift card with twine around the neck of the bottle and be sure to include the date that you made it. Fresh juice won’t last long, so perhaps make it the day you are gifting it.

fruit juices

Cinnamon candles

This is a quick little project that you can get the kids to help with. They would also look (and smell) great on the Christmas lunch table, or just for your buffet at home over the Christmas period.

cinnamon-stick-candles-2

Image courtesy of: Home Stories at oz

Infused olive oils

The hardest part of this gift would be find the right sized glass jars or bottles. Your local discount store should have a good range with different types of lids too. Once you have thoroughly cleaned them, fill them with good quality olive oil and pop in your flavourings.

Infused olive oilsIt’s a good idea to decide on what flavourings you are going to use before you buy the glass bottles to ensure it will fit through the neck of the bottle. If you know the cooking style of the person you are making the gifts for, try and match them to this. If they like to cook a lot of chicken, some lemon peel or rosemary infused oil would be a tasty complement.

If you are going to do several smaller bottles, think about the colours and shapes of the flavourings to make sure you have a good range. Again, flavour combinations are endless – just think about what you normally cook with for a flavour boost.

Image courtesy of: Just Putzing

Ice-cream sundae kit

Grab an old shoe box, or a big flat gift box and arrange inside some:

  • Chocolate dipped waffle cones or bowls
  • Chocolate topping or sauce
  • Chocolate Flakes
  • Sprinkles
  • Choc-chips
  • Crushed almonds
  • Maraschino cherries

Ice-cream sundae kit

Display the toppings in cello-bags with cute labels, and put some long ice-cream spoons in too. Now all that is needed is the actual ice-cream!

You can also create a milkshake version with milkshake glasses, toppings, shaved chocolate and some cute straws.

Image courtesy of: BuzzFeed and Mixing Bowl Kids

Flavoured butters

Flavoured buttersThis is an easy gift that can be packaged up in glass baby food jars (washed and de-labelled of course) and tied with pretty bows. All you need to do is stir softened butter with your desired flavours and voila, you have flavoured butters! Some flavour ideas include:

  • Sugar and cinnamon for pancakes, crepes or toast
  • Garlic and rosemary for piping hot dinner rolls
  • Chilli and Lime for ‘straight off the BBQ’ corn cobbs

If you feel a little more ‘gourmet’ head over to Martha Stewarts blog for butters that claim to ‘take (your dish) to a whole new level of deliciousness.’

Image courtesy of: Martha Stewart

 

So, what will you be giving as Christmas presents this year? If you take to any of the recipes above, or even if you come up with your own, please share them with us – we always love some new inspiration!

 

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