Christmas may seem like ages away, but you will lose nothing by preparing in advance! A couple of afternoons and a set of old jam jars or mason jars are all you need to create a good stock of small presents, stocking fillers, or emergency gifts for any unexpected guests in your home over the festive period (who knew Auntie Agatha was going to pop by!).
Here are some suggestions which will not only be fun to make, but a hit for everyone you give them to!
Before you start making your preserves, sweets and spirits, remember to sterilise your containers before you begin.
These gift ideas are both easy and cheap to make in your own kitchen, and you can make their presentation completely unique. Labels, bows, handwritten notes, it’s all in the details!
Here are four ideas of what to put inside your Christmas gift jars:
Flavoured vodka, gin and even whisky is becoming a huge trend in the shops, with citrus vodka and honey whisky flying off the shelves. Limited edition Christmas flavours are inevitable, so beat the big brands to it by making your own home made spirits, which can easily be stored in glass bottles and jars (or even old spirit bottles with the label removed).
Flavour choices can include oranges studded with cloves and coffee beans, cranberries mixed with nutmeg, or even a brilliant Christmas Pudding vodka will get everyone into the festive, ahem, spirit. Adding pine needles, elderberries and fennel seeds to gin will create a “Christmas Tree” flavoured spirit that’s worth the novelty factor alone (trust us, it’s really tasty!)
Join in with one of the biggest food fads of the past year and make a batch of salted caramels. The only new equipment you are likely to need is a sugar thermometer. Individually wrapped and presented in a jar with a bow wrapped around it, salted caramels (or any type of caramels, in fact!) will put a smile on anyone’s face and is an indulgent treat.
Jams and Sauces
If you have missed the summer fruit season, there are still plenty of jams you can make with autumn fruits. If you’re brave enough, you can even replace your friends’ jar of ocean spray with a jar of your own home made cranberry sauce! Other fall fruit jams include pear and damson, experiment with mixing them with cinnamon and other festive spices to create some truly Christmassy spreads!
If you don’t fancy yourself a whizz in the kitchen and don’t want to slave over a hot stove all afternoon, making sugar scrubs for your friends and family is one of the easiest gifts out there – you only need three ingredients (sugar, coconut oil, and and essential oil of your choice) and mix them together to create a luxurious scrub that keeps skin feeling exfoliated and silky smooth! For a Christmassy scrub, create a peppermint scrub, divide your mix and add red food colouring to one half. Swirl your two batches together for candy cane sugar scrub!