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We understand that although Christmas may be our favourite time of the year, it does come with some drawbacks. Every year, most of us face financial strain at Christmas causing us to stress when we should be relaxing.
We have put together some ideas on gifts you can make at home, at minimal cost. Giving a homemade gift not only saves you money but it shows the receiver that you put thought and care into their present. Maybe you’ll even have some money left over for the January sales!
Our personal favourite gift is the light up canvas; it’s reasonable to buy the crafts to make it, it’s personalised and it’s useful all year round. All you need is a canvas, pencil, scissors/craft knife or any sharp tool, metallic silver pen, small set of battery operated fairy lights (white or clear wire if possible), stencil (if needed) and sellotape.
Once you have decided on a design, using the pencil draw where you will be cutting the canvas. For example, draw a basic outline of the house the receiver lives in the bottom corner of the canvas. Draw stars in the sky (variety of sizes), the moon and finally trace the name or wording you have chosen in the centre of the canvas. Using the carving knife (an adult should take control at this stage), neatly cut incisions where you want the light to shine through: the windows of the house, the name, the moon and the centre of the biggest stars.
Next, using your metallic pen trace over any scenery on the canvas that hasn’t been cut out: the stars, outline of the house etc.
Turn the canvas over and begin to push the bulbs of the fairy lights through the holes (they will only go through the small holes the centre of the stars and the house windows); larger incisions such as the text and the moon will just spill excess light through.
If necessary sellotape the lights and wiring in place so they are secure and hidden behind the canvas.
Be careful when wrapping this gift and let the lucky receiver know its fragile when you give it to them. Try your own twist on this idea and have fun coming up with new ideas to wow your friends and family this Christmas!
Another classy decoration to give at Christmas is a personalised vintage birdcage. This is a bit fiddlier to make than the canvas but looks amazing when it’s finished. This gift can either be hung up or stood on the side or floor.
Birdcages can be found in many homeware stores now for a reasonable price, alternatively you could look in antique stores or online. The style and colour of birdcage completely depends on personal taste. Once you have your bird cage you could weather its appearance to give it a vintage, rustic feeling: rub it down with sand/glass paper. You could colour it with a spray paint can (cream and metallic gold create a nice effect, especially when rubbed down afterwards to age its appearance). Glue pictures back to back and tie up with string inside the cage: tie string from the corners of the personalised pictures and attach the end to a wire (glue in place if necessary).
Tie bows and ribbons around the wire so they hang from the outside of the cage. Wrap fairy lights around the entirety of the cage, weaving through the wire bars and hide the battery power box inside the cage. Alternatively place battery powered candles inside the cage.
You can use whichever decorations appeal to you and would suit the receiver of the gift. Each cage can vary in colour, size and style
If you want to create a Christmas cage, use artificial snow spray and glitter on the cage. Put some artificial snow at the base of the cage with either decorations (trees and reindeer figurines) or candles resting at the centre. You could tie paper/sequin snowflakes from the wire roof of the case to create a snowfall effect. The possibilities are endless and each cage will be unique!
*Transform jam jars and salt shakers into snow globes: turn a jam jar upside down so it stands on its lid. Remove the lid and glue on the centre piece of your snow globe e.g. a small ballerina figurine. Decorate the inside of the jar with specs of snow on the glass (could use tipex). Once everything has dried empty a couple of table spoons of fake snow in the jar and replace the lid. Alternatively you could fill the jar with glycerine and add glitter, sequins, fake snow.
*To create the snow globe salt shakers just empty and sterilize a glass salt shaker, remove the lid and glue a figurine in the base of the shaker e.g. Christmas tree cake decoration. Once dry, half fill with salt and replace the lid.
*Make a Christmas wreath: bend a wire clothes hanger into a circle and hang on wall/door from hook. Decorate with leaves, ribbons, pinecones, twigs, cinnamon sticks, dried fruit, glitter etc.
*Decorate leaves with glitter and hang them with string or use them as Christmas tree decorations. Press leaves in a heavy book wrapped in kitchen roll and leave for a week. Once pressed and dry, spray with glue and sprinkle glitter on top or spray with a metallic gold/glitter can. Punch hole in leaf and tie festive ribbon through hole in a loop, ready to be hung.
*Make your own potpourri: Fill a jam jar with dried oranges, lemons, cranberries, cinnamon sticks etc. Pierce holes in the lid of the jar and decorate with a personalised label and ribbon.
*Print an image onto wood – coasters & tablemats, cheeseboard, wall hanging etc.
*Candle Characters: Decorate the outside of a jam jar to create a set of Christmas characters Santa, Mrs clause, elves, Rudolph, Elsa from Frozen, reindeers, snowman etc. and then put a tea light inside to illuminate the character.
*Christmas string: Sew Christmas items together on a string to decorate someone’s house. Use bay leaves, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, popcorn, dried orange slices etc.
*Make your own Christmas cards: often the simplistic (and easy) designs are the most effective!
*Children’s Christmas Eve box: new pyjamas, a Christmas bedtime book, slipper socks, stocking to lay out, magic reindeer food, Santa’s magic key, hot chocolate sachet etc.
*Adult’s Christmas Eve box: new pyjamas, favourite magazine, favourite snack/chocolates, miniature bottle of baileys, slipper socks, hot chocolate sachet etc.
*Handmade jewellery: use wire, string or opaque plastic thread to create a necklace or bracelet.
*Edible homemade gifts: Spiced cranberry, fig and date chutney, Mincemeat shortbread, Christmas marmalade, Chocolate caramels with sea salt, Berry jam, Fruit and nut chocolate bites, Marshmallows dipped in melted chocolate and decorated with sprinkles.
Tip: add a sprinkle of edible glitter to any of these to make them magical!
*Lollipop Christmas tree: Place a green polystyrene Christmas tree/sphere triangle in a plant pot. Insert assorted (wrapped) lollipops in the polystyrene, add a star to the top point of the tree and tie ribbon around the plant pot base.
*Brownies or cookies in a jar: perfect and easy to make gift. With a dash of edible glitter. Measure and layer the ingredients in a jar and put cooking instructions on one side of a label, with a Christmas greeting on the other side.
*Flavoured vodka: Divide a bottle of vodka between smaller bottles and add chosen flavouring i.e. vanilla pod and leave for two months. Attach a handwritten/decorated label and festive ribbon to the neck of the bottle.
We hope you found this useful and enjoy making some of these gifts.
Most importantly, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, from everyone here at Dream Doors!