Giving presents at Christmas to your friends and family need not be a costly exercise. At this time of the year, it is often difficult also think of gifts for the person who has everything that they need. Buying something that the person may not necessarily want or need can be wasteful and unnecessary.

Why not make some gifts for your loved ones this festive season? Making gifts can be a great way to produce bespoke and thoughtful gifts and also a great way to reduce excess waste and give quality gifts that you have made yourself.

1/ Traditional Baked Treats

There are so many traditional shortbread recipes out there- does your family have a favourite? You could add chocolate, chopped nuts or even lemon peel to your standard shortbread recipe for something different.

Melt chocolate (dark, white or chocolate), stir in your favourite nuts (pistachios, roasted almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts), chopped marshmallows, chopped Turkish delight and even some of your shortbread. Pour into baking tray lined with baking paper, cool, cut into pieces.

2/ Bottle It

If you have lots of fruit or vegetables from your garden- why not preserve them? Even if you do not have any from your garden, there is so many delicious summer produce that can be picked up in bulk at your local market. Mangoes, stone fruits and tomatoes are great examples of seasonal products that produce delicious preserved condiments.
Tomato Sauce
Mango Chutney
Plum Jam
More ideas in our preserving food ebook.

2/ Tasty treats for the health conscious

Big O Bliss Balls

Raspberry Surprise Brownies


3/ Succulents in quirky bottles/ cups- recycled items
Do you have some succulents in your garden? Take some pieces of your succulents and add to soil top with small rocks- you can use quirky pots, such as tea cups and jars.
We have many more ideas in our succulents ebook.

4/ Edible herb basket
This is great for any budding chef. Having herbs on hand is essential. You can use favourites- such as parsley, basil, thyme, sage.
You could also make a growing herbal tea basket- some herbs that you could include in the basket could be peppermint, camomile or lemongrass.
More ideas in our Herb ebook or Medicinal Herbs ebook

5/ Skin care- herbal ointments

You can make some great herbal ointments with a few simple ingredients, here some simple instructions. You can make ointments to soothe stings and bites, cuts and grazes, or for dry irritable skin.
•    Heat some water in a saucepan so that it is simmering and not boiling.
•    Add 1 cup (250ml) of vegetable oil (e.g. olive, jojoba, almond etc) and
•    ½ cup of dried herbs of your choice (or more for fresh herbs) to a bowl.
•    Place the bowl on top of the saucepan so that it fits snugly but does not touch the water.
•    Leave for 20-30 minutes.
•    Strain the oil to remove herb parts and return to bowl.
•    Add 3 tablespoons of beeswax to the oil.
•    Allow the wax to melt but not boil.
•    Gently stir contents with a wooden spatula to mix ingredients.
•    Remove bowl and pour ointment into jars.
•    Allow to cool, then seal and refrigerate.

•    Use a glass or Pyrex bowl so that no contaminants leach into the ointment.
•    Buy a purpose-made double boiler.
•    Use more beeswax to create a thicker ointment which can be used as a lip balm.
•    Put date labels on your ointments and dispose of after 6 months or if they deteriorate.