A Homemade Christmas: How to Cut Back on Gift Shopping

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and with exams looming, we need to get our gifts-buying out of the way swiftly. I, for one, am a true shopper and Christmas is just one huge pile of shopping bags becoming apparent in my bedroom. I love the search for anything Christmassy, and matching presents to people like a manical sorting hat is just part of the fun!

But, this year I think the bustling streets and frantic shoppers on Edinburgh’s Princes Street are reason enough to avoid the malls. Online shopping is an easy solution, but lacks personality in your yuletide gifts. My answer to this? Homemade Christmas presents. And these ideas will be perfect for revision breaks: queue Buble’s Christmas album…

Even if you’re not the crafty sort and lack artistic talent, there are easy solutions of simple homemade gifts for you! The best thing is that you can customise them to any particular taste, giving that little hint of individualism and extra personal thought: so much better than a pricey gift set that you may never use again. And, a major plus point, since the electricity bills are climbing and we’d always rather cut back on food and notepads than miss a good Ball with alcoholic beverages… a simple answer to cutting down our minimal Christmas fund? Right here.

For friends: charm necklace

Need: Chain or old necklace, Pliers, Decorations of any kind.

This gift can be personalised as you like.  Charity and vintage shops always hold little trinket boxes that have reduced charms, key rings and the like, so root around to find what suits you to add to a new chain or old necklace. Little cake decorations can also be cute on a necklace – simply heat the end of a needle with a lighter to pierce a threading hole. And be creative: beads, silver pendants and charms galore.

For young siblings/family: A kids’ craft basket

Fill a wicker basket with crayons, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, glue sticks, safety scissors, wobbly eyes and other sparkly, decorative goodies. Reconnect with your inner child and join in, and you’ll always be the coolest older cousin.

For relatives: personalised calendars

It’s easy enough to use a template from your laptop. Simply add your personalised photos: particularly nice for parents/grandparents who appreciate gifts that let themreminisce about when you were small and adorable. Take them back and throw in some baby-chocolate-covered-face belters – baby bath time is always a fun one too.

For your Dad: spice samplers

Spice samplers are great as a gift for your dad, always enticing to get him in the kitchen! Clear spice jars can often be bought in sets of 3’s or 4’s and look wonderful if accompanied by a small wooden chopping board that can be found in any reasonably priced supermarket or cookery shop. Fill the spice jars up with an assortment of flavours, whether they be Christmas-based (rosemary, thyme,cinnamon) or curry spiced (rhilli,coriander,cumin,tumeric).

For your sister: a personalised mirror

Any girl loves a mirror, and a glitzy glam one is even better. Cheap sets of 4 packs can be found in IKEA for around a fiver. Attach gems and rhinestones with glass etching glaze that can be picked up online or at arts stores, or super glue. Finalise your mirror by attaching ribbon and twine to support the mirror as a wall hanging.

Boys: Cufflinks

Need: cufflink barrels, glass beads and strong adhesive glue

Apply the glue to your chosen beads, be careful not to glue neatly, or the end product will look messy. Simply glue to cufflink barrels to the chosen coloured beads and leave to dry until firm. ET VOILA.

For your mum: teacup candles

Need: old candles you can melt down, candlewicks and vintage teacups

Start by melting the wax candles on a mdeium heat in a thick pan (preferably with a pouring lip) and only on electric heat, not gas. When melted (don’t let it bubble) either remove the wax from a pan with a glass measuring jug or pour from a lipped pan into your vintage mugs with the candle wicks in the middle – support in a central position with chop sticks or something similar horizontally balanced across your mug. Throw in some dried flowers or spices for extra decoration or scent and Let the candles set overnight, have the mugs already placed on a magazine on your bench to prevent burn marks. 

For all: memorable maps

This is a sweet gift to reminisce over good times. Choose an area you want to remember such as the place of a great a holiday or birthday. Buy a cheap ordinance survey map. Draw a template like a heart, square or oval  and cut out the shape of the mapped area to your chosen template. Mount on a piece of thin card with spray glue or thin glue that won’t spread through the map. Cut a piece of backing card to fit your picture frame and glue in position, and then simply frame! PERFECT.


Images courtesy of sunnyfrogSergey Mironov, kuleczka, Barbara Dudzinska, and restyler. Compiled and edited by Kerri P.