The festive season is upon us and ‘it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ with lights, trees and rooms decked in holly. This year, we all know is going to be different. Christmas has increasingly become very focused on consumerism and about spending cash. Instead, this year we think creating homemade and sustainable gifts and spending quality time with our nearest and dearest, whether in person or virtually, will be more important than ever.
DIY homemade and sustainable gifts are a great way to show someone has been in your thoughts when you haven’t been able to spend time with them. You can also save money, stay safer by avoiding the crowds in shops, be creative and make something truly personal that your loved ones will most certainly treasure.
They are also generally more environmentally friendly and you’ll know they’ve been ethically made!
We’ve put together some easy homemade and sustainable gift ideas that all ages can make.
Easy body scrub
Homemade body scrubs are a nice pampering treat that are quick to make and use ingredients you already have in the kitchen. All you need is sea salt or brown sugar, oil and additional ingredients to scent. You can use essential oils, dried flower petals, orange or lemon zest for instance. Take a look at this very helpful page with a few recipes for great body-scrubs.
Easy hand cream
With all the hand washing we’ve been doing, hand cream is an essential to soothe dry skin. You can whip up your own with just a few ingredients. All you need is a plant butter like shea or cocoa, an oil like coconut, olive or hemp and optional essential oils. Simply put the ingredients in a bowl and whisk like you’re making buttercream icing. We’ve found that this recipe is great, but a quick search finds a great number of wonderful recipes.
Easy bath salts
Baths are a great way to relieve stress and relax. Natural bath salts are simple to make. All you need is Epsom salt, which is high in magnesium so it helps soothe muscles as well as aids sleep, Himalayan Pink Salt and optional additional ingredients such as dried rose petals or lavender.
Why not try this recipe. And remember, you can always up-cycle our glass jam jars as containers for all the pampering gifts above.
Scrapbook of happy memories
In this day and age we often take pictures on our phone then forget about them. They can often be treasured memories so why not print out a selection – there are a number of online services that will print your photos for free. Then arrange in a scrapbook with a handwritten line or two about the moment. This makes a really thoughtful gift that the recipient will love and no doubt treasure.
To help, here is a great link to a YouTube video with some ideas to get you going – they also have other videos which are brilliant for personalising your scrapbook!
Handmade photo calendar
Another way to use photos is to make a personalised calendar. You can find free photo calendar templates online then simply fill with your favourite family snaps and print off. These make great gifts for grandparents, godparents and aunties and uncles. Here’s a link we’ve found for you to get you going!
Handmade hand warmers
The cold winter weather is upon us which means cold hands and feet. You can easily make your own warmers to gift if you have a little bit of sewing skills. All you need is uncooked rice grains and material from clothes you may not wear any longer. It needs to be a strong material that doesn’t contain elastic or lycra.
If you have flannel, use that as it is particularly good at retaining the heat. To make these hand warmers, you simply cut the material in to equal size squares (basically to fit your hand).
You’ll need at least two layers of material (though four would be better), then sew together along three sides and fill the inside with the uncooked rice. Once it’s filled, sew the final side up securely. To use simply put in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
The festive season is a time for feasting so food gifts always go down well. Below are some ideas for edible presents.
A DIY food hamper
Christmas is a time of indulgence and Christmas hampers are a traditional treat, however store bought hampers are often rather pricy. Why not make your own homemade and sustainable gift hamper, tailor made to the specific tastes of the recipients.
Another food hamper option would be to fill it with ingredients to make a special meal or an exotic dish with a print out of the recipe. For instance you could put all the ingredients for a Gambian dish called Domoda in a basket. Domado is a delicious and hearty peanut stew that will send tastebuds travelling at a time when the recipient may not be able to.
Gifts that give back
If you should want to purchase a ready made gift, Chosan has beautifully packaged full-size and mini sets with all four flavours of our baobab jams and spreads. And you’ll be giving twice as every single sale we make gives back with our mission to empower African food producers by donating 10p from every jar.
Let us know if you make any of the homemade gifts and we’ll post any images on our Instagram feed.