Some of the most thoughtful Christmas gifts are homemade. While of course, you can purchase a custom-made gift for your loved ones but nothing beats the satisfaction of gifting a present that you’ve put time and energy into creating.
Don’t be intimidated by thinking you need well-practiced crafting or baking skill. With a bit of planning and creativity, anyone can pull these simple gifts off. While a lot of these crafts require items, you already have around the house, or in the pantry, some will require minimal purchases to take them to the next level.
Check out our favourite budget-friendly gift options that the whole family can help out with:
- Homemade herbal bath tea
Not much is as relaxing as a good soak in the tub, to wind down after a long day of work. This simple bath soak recipe is beautiful and fragrant and a real crowd-pleaser. Nothing more than a little store-bought Epsom salt and essential oils. You can kick it into the next gear by adding some dried flowers.
There are plenty of expensive or high-end essentials oil options but don’t let this fool you. Your local pharmacy will stock many of the best essential oils branded under their store’s label for a fraction of the price.
With a few easy steps, this recipe is a synch and can be fully customised to your scent preferences. Also, it’s a great DIY option for anyone with allergies in the family who often can’t buy certain store-bought fragrances.
What is bath tea?
Bath tea is simply a bath soak packaged in a pretty tea bag loaded with fragrance and dried flowers. Thanks to the nourishing ingredients, it has the added benefit of relieving tension and stress, softening skin and soothing sore muscles. Epsom salts to the rescue!
For single-use bath tea, teabags can be sourced and used. However, if you’d like a reusable option, muslin or organza is an excellent material to use for the bags. The most cost-effective and sustainable bath tea mixture can be gifted and stored in pickling jars with a few bath tea bags for reuse.
Supplies needed for the bath tea bags:
- 250 g Epsom salts as a base.
- 125 g Dried flower buds. Our favourites are lavender, chamomile and rosebuds.
- 3 to 5 drops of your favourite essential oils. Our go-tos are chamomile, citrus, rose and lavender.
- Tea bags, muslin or organza bags with a drawstring.
- Pickling or mason jars to store your bath tea bags.
- Ribbons, washi tape, labels and any other craft materials to decorate the storage jars.
- Mix the Epsom salts with the essential oils,
- Add 3 tablespoons of your bath tea base mixture into your little bags,
- Layer the dried flowers on top,
- Tie the bags with a bow and store in an airtight container to keep fresh. We suggest a mason or pickling jar sourced from a grocery or packaging supplies store.
How do you use bath tea?
Add a single bag directly to the bathwater or hang under the running tap as the bath fills. The Epsom salts will dissolve, and the oils and flowers will create a fragrance for a relaxing home spa experience. Collect the flowers out of the bath before draining. Rinse out the bag and hang to dry for the next use.
- DIY cookie Boxes
The festive season is a great time to get together and bake some sweet treats for the whole family to enjoy. It’s also a fantastic way to let your loved one’s know you care by packaging some lovely personalised cookie boxes.
Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with our simple sugar cookie recipe. The cookies can then be packaged in some cute personalised boxes that are bound to impress and show your love.
- An assortment of grocery store cookies or your own cookie creations.
- A paintbrush and acrylic paints.
- Brown papercraft boxes sourced from a local packaging supplies store.
- Tissue paper and any other decorative elements you can add.
For the Icing
- 3 egg whites
- Half a tsp cream of tartar
- 450g icing sugar
- Food colouring (optional)
Recipe Steps for the Icing
- Beat the eggs using a whisk by hand or a whisk attachment on an electric mixer until they are foamy.
- Gradually add the cream of tartar and icing sugar. Stop when the icing sugar is incorporated into the egg. Make sure you scrape any icing sugar off the sides of the bowl.
- At this point you can add a few drops of your favourite food colouring or choose to keep it white.
- Now you can up the speed and beat the mixture until stiff and glossy peaks form. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Set aside for decorating the cookies.
Ingredients for the cookies
- 1 egg
- 700g all-purpose flour
- 1 and a half tsp of vanilla essence or extract
- Half tsp baking powder
- Quarter teaspoon salt
- 250g butter (unsalted)
- 180g sugar
Recipe Steps for the Cookies
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder,
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamed. Then add the vanilla as well as the eggs,
- Reduce the mixer’s speed as you gradually add the flour mixture. Try not to overmix, stop as soon as the mixture is incorporated,
- Preheat the oven to 180 C,
- Roll out the dough on to baking paper till it’s about half a centimetre thick,
- Chill the dough for 15 min in the freezer.
- Line the baking sheets with baking paper,
- Cut the cookies,
- Bake the cookies, rotating them halfway. Bake them for 10 to 15min until they are golden around the edges,
- Cool on the baking sheets ready for decorating!
Top tip: If you’d like to hang the cookies on the Christmas tree, before baking, you can cut a small hole into the top with a straw. This way, you can tie them with a ribbon loop to hang on the tree.
- Prepare your cookies or pick them up from the store.
- Assemble your craft boxes and decorate to your heart’s content.
- Place the tissue paper in the box and then stack your cookies.
- Close your craft boxes and tie a ribbon around the box for the final holiday season touch.
Pancake Mix Jars
Everyone loves pancakes! A great way to show that you care is to pre-prepare some pancake mix by combining all the dry ingredients and packaging it in a lovely pickling or mason jar. These are super simple, cost-effective and fun to make and decorate with the whole family.
- Mason or pickling jars purchased from the grocery store or packaging supplies store.
- Ribbons, labels, washi tape and anything you can think of your decorate your jars.
- Cardboard to cut labels or you can purchase Christmas labels from the store to act as recipe cards to complete your pancake creation!
- 750g flour
- 1tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 3 and a half tsp of baking powder
Pre-prepared pancake mix recipe
- Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl so that they are well combined.
- Use a funnel to add the mixture to your mason jars.
- Seal the jars with the lid.
Time to decorate!
Now the kids can go wild with ribbons, stickers, markers for labelling, and any other decorations you can think of. Let your festive season creativity come alive! You will need to add the recipe cards onto the jar as well, so the recipients know how to complete your thoughtful gift and celebrate with their very own family pancake breakfast. You can copy the recipe below on printed, homemade or store-bought cards whichever you prefer.
Pancake recipe for the recipe cards:
- Prepared dry mix.
- 1 and half cups of water.
- 1 and a half tsp vanilla essence or extract.
- 1 large egg.
- 3 Tbsp of melted butter.
- Whisk the ingredients together and add the premade dry mix until just incorporated,
- Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes,
- Melt some butter, oil or non-stick spray in a pan and cook until golden brown. Enjoy with the toppings of your choice!
Make these activities for the whole family, involve the kids and get creative. You are sure to have a great time together, and anyone of these budget-friendly homemade creations is sure to communicate your love and leave you feeling proud of what you’ve made. Happy crafting and baking!