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With a little creativity and thought you can create personalised presents for your loved ones... and you don't need to be a crafts expert to do it. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
It may not last long but a foodie gift will rarely go unappreciated. Handmade chocolate truffles (with a little added liqueur for the grown-ups), homemade chutney with a wedge of quality cheese and even festive cookies make a charming and tasty present.
For a different take on the traditional food items, put together a 'kit' - a bottle of wine and spices wrapped in muslin and tied with a festive ribbon, for example, and you've got a ready-to-make mulled wine kit. Alternatively, choose a favourite cookie or cake recipe, layer the dry ingredients within a large, glass jar and insert a smart, printed recipe card. The layered effect makes for an attractive gift and the recipe will be used time and time again.
The great thing about making your own gifts is that you can make them personal to each of your loved ones and themed baskets are a great example. Wicker baskets come in a variety of sizes and can be bought reasonably cheaply from garden centres or DIY superstores. Then just fill them with appropriate but small items.
The keen gardener will always be pleased with bulbs and seeds that they can plant for the spring, while a collection of herbs and spices will no doubt be welcomed by budding chefs. You could even add some of your homemade chutney or truffles.
If you have a creative youngster in the family, why not create a crafts basket - add coloured paper, crayons, stickers, old buttons, wobbly eyes, glitter, whatever you can pick up cheaply or have at home. With a glue stick included it'll keep them busy for hours.
Another easy way to give a personalised gift is to create your very own piece of art. With a few items from a craft shop, gem stones or beads for writing and flowers or buttons to embellish, you can add a personal message ('gorgeous', for example) to a mirror.
If you're a whizz on the computer, try using your Photoshop skills to insert your friend or family member into a famous photo - whether it's at a famous world landmark or a renowned event such as Woodstock, it's sure to put a smile on their face.
Even those who are not artistically inclined can create an artwork - take a photo of a friend's child or a particularly happy moment, trace the outline and make a framed silhouette on a coloured card backing.
A Christmasy glow
There is something wonderful about the warm glow of a lit candle and they make for a charming Christmas gift. But why fork out for the expensive shop-bought variety? If you have old candles lying around (don't mix colours or you'll end up with sludgy brown), simply melt them down and pour the liquid wax into a pretty tea cup or bowl, Kilner-style jar or terracotta plant pot.
To melt the wax safely, it's advisable to use the same method you would for melting chocolate. Sit a small pan (it's best to use an old one!) over a pot of boiling water, so that the wax doesn't touch the heat source directly. Stir the melting wax frequently.
Wicks can be bought from most craft shops and should be soaked in the melted wax. Once it has absorbed the wax, tie the end of the wick around a skewer or wooden spoon and hang it over the middle of your chosen vessel, pour the wax in and allow to set. You can even add scented oils if you wish.
Safety is paramount so be careful when pouring and don't leave the pan unattended and DO NOT pour any excess down the sink.
These homemade candles make a fabulous gift and, since a shop-bought plant pot candle will you set you back upwards of £10, you can be pleased with the money you've saved.
Do you make your own Christmas gifts? Leave your tips and ideas below...