With the holiday season quickly approaching, it is not too early to start thinking about gifts for loved ones. If you are fortunate enough to have family and friends who appreciate homemade gifts, then the possibilities are endless. Gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive, no matter what the TV commercials tell you.
Home baking is always a great gift. Items such as cookies, shortbread, fudge, caramels, banana bread, poppy seed cakes, chocolates and more can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer. When it is time to put together the basket, simply remove the goodies from the freezer and bring to room temperature before packaging. This will reduce condensation inside the package.
Homemade preserves are also a nice touch. For those of you who grow big gardens and make your own jams, jellies, pickles and more, why not decorate the jars with ribbon and give them to loved ones as gifts? An assortment of small jars of jams and jellies may be combined in a basket, wrapped in plastic wrap and decorated with a ribbon and a bow. Homemade pie filling is also a nice addition to a preserve basket.
For the cooking enthusiast, a set of matching oven mitts, pot holder and hot pads made in the recipient’s kitchen colors is a nice gift. These may be either quilted or knit/crocheted. It is advisable to use all natural fiber for these (such as cotton) as the heat may melt a polyester fabric/yarn. You want to give a gift that will be used and appreciated, not one that will sit in a drawer somewhere never to see the light of day again. A special touch would be to make a matching apron.
Candles are a practical gift for others, as a large number of people enjoy them. There are candle-making supplies available at the larger craft centers, including the wicks, molds, scented wax and charms to put inside. Some people will make custom candles and enclose a little treasure inside, such as rings, coins, bracelets, etc. One thing to keep in mind if enclosing a treasure inside a candle is to protect it from the heat and wax.
Quilted items such as wall hangings, table runners, placemats, lap quilts and full size quilts are also a nice gift. This is a good way to use up extra fabric (fabricaholics, you know who you are) and family and friends have gifts that they can use and enjoy for years to come.
Soaps, body scrubs, moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners can be made in any kitchen. By making your own you can show your family and friends you care about their well-being by using only natural ingredients. These items can be packaged in small jars and bottles and labeled with ingredients. To give a gift that keeps on giving, you can offer to refill the bottle with the same mix for the entire year. Many of the items listed are made with ingredients common in almost any kitchen, and do not cost much more than your time.
Putting together gifts can and should be fun, not seem like a chore. Watch the faces of your loved ones light up when they unwrap the homemade goodies you have prepared for them.
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