‘Tis the season – to get creative
The festive season is upon us, people. A time to deck the halls, wish for peace on earth (good luck with that one), and hear ‘Fairytale of New York’ so many times that involuntary ear-bleeding feels like a serious possibility.
While Christmas historically is a time for being with family and friends, and making memories together, the Christmas period is now a commercialised hotspot where people throw caution to the wind and spend, spend, spend. According to the Bank of England, in the UK we spend on average almost £740 more in December than at any other time in the year – which is 29% more than in a typical month. That’s a lot of money.
Unfortunately, this also, inevitably, leads to a lot of waste. And while many of us are wising up to our impact on the environment, and how we can lessen that, progress is fairly slow. In fact, a survey conducted in the United Kingdom (UK) in November 2020 showed that more than half of UK consumers will not be thinking about or buying sustainable gifts for Christmas. But buying sustainably isn’t the only way to have a positive impact this festive season. How about making your own gifts?
Now, don’t panic – I could sense the “I can’t make things” reaction from here. Handmade gifts may sound overwhelming, but they can in fact be super easy, super cheap, and super fun. Plus, you’re giving things that are personal and individual – which is way nicer than yet another toiletries set. No one needs that much Lynx.
Check out some quick and easy handmade gift ideas below to get you feeling inspired.
The season for snacking
No-bake edible treats could not be easier to make, and with the addition of some edible decorations or some cute packaging, they always go down well. Think rocky road, homemade chocolates, or give good old Gordon Ramsay’s chocolate, marshmallow & peanut fridge cake a go – no baking required:
The Tasty YouTube channel never lets you down when it comes to simple, step by step recipes, and these 4 easy chocolate truffle suggestions have got “I’m the favourite child” written all over them:
Chutney is a Christmas table must have – and, of course, BFFs with all of your cheeseboard residents. Check out national hero Mary Berry’s recipe for easy homemade chutney, perfect for making ahead of time and dishing out smugly when the gift giving begins:
If your gift recipient likes to take the ‘jolly’ part of the season seriously, then why not make your own flavoured spirits, like vodka or gin. ‘Tis the season, after all. Watch this video for 11 flavour infusion suggestions to try – and let me know how you feel about option 8…
Handmade clay or salt dough ornaments can come in all shapes, sizes and styles – from simple stars with initials added, to full tiny models of your family and friends. However ambitious you’re feeling, it’s also a fun way to spend a festive afternoon. Top Tip – don’t forget to make holes for string before you dry your creations. You can thank me later.
Don’t know how to make salt dough? Good job you’re here then isn’t it. Check out this handy step by step video (Top tip part 2 – watch it at 1.5 speed):
Or, invest in some clay and make your own clay decorations – either for the festive season, or for all year round:
Everyday household items like plant pots and mugs are perfect for sprucing up with some easy additions, creating something totally one-of-a-kind. These marble mugs are perfect for using up any old nail varnish you might have lying around:
Tote bags are another perfect blank canvas for adding personalisation – and they’re handy to have around so you can avoid plastic bags. Use cookie cutters and fabric paint to print shapes and patterns onto your tote, opt for some tie-dye or bleaching for a trendy effect, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, dust off your sewing machine and have a go at making your own:
Or, turn some old t-shirts into tote bags – and, bonus, no sewing involved! Whether it’s a t shirt you no longer like, something that doesn’t fit anymore, or perhaps a top with sentimental value, this is a great way to let it live on. Top Tip: not a fan of the fringe? Just tie the knots on the inside.
Finally, how about leaning into the self-care vibes and creating your own sugar scrubs or bath soaks – which you can tailor to your recipient’s favourite scents or needs. Check out these four bath soak suggestions to get you started:
That’s a wrap
Now that you’ve crafted your cute Christmas chocolates or cookie-cutter-printed totes, don’t reach for the wrapping paper – oh no, no, no. Wrapping paper is a huge contributor to waste over the festive season, with research showing that consumers in the UK use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each Christmas – estimated to be enough paper to wrap the island of Guernsey each and every year.
Instead, why not invest in some reusable wrapping cloths, or perhaps get creative and reuse and embellish other materials – like newspapers, or paper shopping bags. In fact, brands like Fat Face have specifically designed their bags to be cut up and used as wrapping paper. You even get a gift tag, so there’s no excuse.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, people – and if each of us make some small changes, we can have a seriously wonderful impact this Christmas. Check out other ways to have a Green Christmas.