I am going to jump right in. Obviously, if you’ve clicked on this, you are a planner. And so am I. You don’t need to hear me tell a short story long about why homemade is best. It just is.
Ask your family for their favorite recipes. Mine is my mac and cheese, turkey pot pie, Grammie J’s biscuit recipe and the chewy choc gingerbread cookies I make every Christmas. Write them out or print them out on recipe cards. You can find the wooden recipe boxes unfinished at Dollarama, and paint them a crisp chalk white, sand the edges to weather it. I have been searching vintage shops for old recipe tins or boxes for cheap as well.
One year, I bought binders, photocopied or wrote out all my best recipes (alot), put them in clear plastic page protectors, and personalized them for my oldest daughter and niece. It started them off with some solid meal ideas and basics.
Also if you would rather pick one and print it out with a fabric marker on a tea towel, that is such a great gift for someone to hang onto. Only if you have good penmenship though. Do not scribble it on there and think that’s good enough. Sorry, but I am bossy on this one.
Homemade Vanilla extract can easily be made in large jar by putting real vanilla beans in a 1 liter jar and pouring vodka on top. This takes 6 weeks to age, giving it a shake every three days or so. Mint and vodka becomes mint extract. Small 6-8oz bottles can be used for gift giving a dual package of extracts, send with some cookies made with each extract , and a recipe. Voila. Done.
Spearmint is done the same way as mint, and you can also make coffee, orange, lavender and almond extract very easily. Just google:)
Homemade advent calendars
I’m pumped over this one this year. I have seven nieces and nephews and usually spend $30 on each of them however because we have a very big family Christmas morning is a jumble of gift giving so I was hoping to give an experience this year. I am making the boys one style with birch bark trees, and the girls another with lathes in the shape of a tree, painted glittery . I ordered small muslin bags ( I was going to make them until I realized I needed 150….I am not a machine), a fabric marker, and have started gathering all the 150 gifts needed to make this so fun for my nieces and nephews and a daily reminder of how much I think of them. I don’t know if they will love it, but I am having a ball doing this one.
I save my amaryllis bulbs every year and just plant around November 4-5 to ensure a bloom by Christmas. If you want to give these as gifts, go buy the kits and plant them up. Lots of people forget to plant them early enough, so its a thoughtful gift plant lovers will appreciate. And the miracle of these blooms in December is just awe inspiring on a holiday table.
I do herb infused oils and vinegars. I just made apple scrap vinegar, chive blossom vinegar, lemon balm oil, dandelion oil, and lemon verbeena oil. I probably won’t give alot of those as stand alone gifts but will add the oils to soaps, homemade scrubs and lip balms, and use the vinegars done up in pretty vintage bottles to add to cooking kits for gifts.
Rum cakes, fruit cakes, bourbon spiced pears and anything with some booze in it, will need some time to sit. Make it now to fully allow the taste to mellow and meld together. Its meant to be a hint of the alcohol flavor, not like taking a shot.
And that’s five gifts to start now or give you inspiration to put your own twist on homemade gift giving. I would love to see what you get up to….creative people are my favorite people. The piece of yourself you give when making homemade goodies is the real gift.Cheesy to say but couldn’t be truer.
Love, Jenn xx