Christmas Preparations: The Home Made Gift Challenge

homemadegiftchallenge1Yes, you read it right: Christmas Preparations.

I don’t really do New Years Resolutions. I know that my capacity for sticking with anything is minimal and actually, I’m pretty contented; there’s not much I want to change. This year though, I am making a plan. I want my Christmas gifts to be homemade in 2013. My New Years Resolution is to work on my preparations, creating at least one gift per month. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about what I can make. My list so far includes:

1. Christmas Cakes or puddings.

2. Food or preserves hampers

3. Crochet items – scarves, handwarmers, shawls, bags, brooches, Christmas decorations

4. Flavoured liquers – I already have quite a bit of apple and bramble gin steeping. It should be delicious by next Christmas!

I can assure you, in the words of Jessie J that “It’s not about the money, money, money”. I think that in terms of the cost of the supplies required to make the gifts and the time, I probably won’t be much better off. It’s about the pleasure of giving. Each year I hate the stress of buying gifts. I’m hoping that creating them makes Christmas more enjoyable.

If you have any good ideas for home made gifts that can be made well in advance I’d love to hear them. Likewise if you’d like to join in my home made gift challenge and create something once a month, let me know.

Teacher’s Pet

Being a teacher in a primary school at Christmas is a Good Gig. They get a gift from pretty much every child. I have a friend who timed her maternity leave based around this fact. I bet it kept her in chocolate for the rest of the year. Well, at least until Easter.

I think I have always given a home made gift, usually because I haven’t been organised enough to go to the shop and buy something. This year has been no different. Last week consisted mainly of nursing sick children. Any time I had left over was frantically devoted to (online) Christmas shopping and card writing. Thursday night rolled around and I had only just started to think about the obligatory gifts for teachers. Fortunately, I had a few things to hand….

I raided my preserves store (that sounds so grand doesn’t it – what I mean is a couple of shelves in the garage) and decided on jars of home spiced pickled onions and pumpkin and ginger jam. They needed a bit of perking up and fortunately I had a few checked paper jam pot covers hanging around. A bit of ribbon finished everything off quite nicely, though clearly, I forgot to take a photo of that!

Do you remember the stars I was blocking out the other week? I decided to turn them into tree decorations by adding a few bells, beads and buttons.

What do you think? Not bad for last minute? I seem to be using that expression quite a bit lately.

I always worry that the teaching assistants might get missed out but I also don’t really know which ones work with my children. I did what I usually do and decided to make a cake. At least then cake can be shared out with the right people. By this time it was so late at night that I decided to make my No Fail Muffin recipe and customise it as ‘Spiced Cranberry and Orange’ so that it seemed a bit more festive. No Fail Muffins are great: quick and easy. I’ll share the recipe soon.

This is how they looked when I packaged them up at about 6am the next morning. What was I thinking getting so obsessed with this stuff? I think I had about 4 hours sleep. StUpID! It would have been far more sensible to go to a 24 hour Tesco. I must really not like shopping.

I could only console myself by thinking that somewhere, somebody’s teacher had probably been up for a similar number of hours working on lesson plans and marking. Who knows how long my children’s teachers have worked this term. They deserve a little love.