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Make your own Christmas gifts

It’s a cracker!

Ever been disappointed by the crummy surprises inside your Christmas cracker? Then make your own – and fill them with goodies that everyone will love.

It’s entirely possible to make your own crackers from scratch, but you’ll spend from now till Christmas trying to find all the different bits and pieces you’ll need. So the quick and convenient option is to buy a ‘make your own’ kit that comes complete with hats, jokes, plus the all-important ‘bang’. Then you simply pop in the treats and add some ribbon or tinsel.

You could treat your guests to fancy chocolates, festive figures or Christmas keyrings. Or if you’re feeling generous, maybe some cheap ‘n’ cheerful jewellery items.

Handcrafted cards

Handmade greeting cards have become very popular, and you can pay more than £5 on ebay for a single made-to-order Christmas card. But why pay someone else to make posh-but-pricey cards when you could do it yourself for a fraction of the cost?

You don’t have to be an expert crafter to create something with a festive wow factor, because you can buy a kit that contains everything you need. Then you make your own beautiful, handcrafted cards for less than 30 pence each.

Search online for ‘handmade Christmas card kits’ and you’ll find loads of different themes to choose from, like a winter woodland scene, or a jolly Santa. It’s best to choose a kit that includes a variety of designs – otherwise all your cards will look the same, and they’ll lose their unique ‘hand crafted’ quality.

Personalised gifts

Sure, the kids may not appreciate a handcrafted gift instead of the latest Xbox or PlayStation game, but family and friends might enjoy receiving a gift that’s been lovingly created by your own hand.

Don’t worry if your crafting skills don’t stretch to knitting a sweater, or you don’t have a potters’ wheel lurking at the back of the shed. Simply buy a standard product - like a ceramic coffee mug - and personalise it with your own design.

You’ll find plenty of ‘paint your own mug’ sets at craft stores or online, but it can work out a lot cheaper to buy the bits and pieces yourself. All you need is a pack of white ceramic mugs, two or three brushes and a selection of porcelain paints. Once you’ve painted your own festive scene or written a personalised Christmas greeting, let the paint dry for 24 hours. Then for a permanent, dishwasher-safe design, pop the mugs into the oven and ‘bake’ for 35 minutes at 150°C.

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