We don’t give a lot of pocket money, so I encourage the boys to make Christmas gifts for family.
However, I don’t want to burden my family with piles of stuff they’ll never use. So, each Christmas I try to come up with gifts the boys can make that are vaguely useful or disposable.
I thought I might share this year’s list for anyone trying the same thing.
We make a range of these.
We make bath bombs (our recipe is in the pH science post here). Sometimes we add tea or glitter to give a bit of texture.
We also make bath salts. For these you just take Epsom Salts, add food colouring and essential oils, then mix it together.
This year, we’re adding soap to our repertoire. I did look at making soap from scratch here, but I decided that we wouldn’t try that this year. We’ll wait until Baby is a bit bigger.
Our soap making has been the basic ‘melt and pour’ method. I bought a packet of Soap Base and we mixed in orange oil, cinnamon, cloves and star anise to give a Christmassy scent.
The soap kept setting while the boys were adding scents and stirring, so I kept remelting it. I don’t think that has ruined the finished product. We set our soaps in silicon moulds and they came out really easily.
Even the eyes came out without breaking. I was delighted with how easy that was!
We make a few different truffles. This year we’re making these Sugar Free Chocolate Truffles.
These were easy, though we ended up adding extra jam.
We’ve made cinder toffee in the past, and that was popular.
You mix caster sugar and golden syrup and boil the mixture until it gets to about 150degrees. Then add a little bit of bicarbonate of soda and whisk. It bubbles up quite a bit. Pour the bubbly mixture in a well-greased tray and leave it to set.
It was exciting to make too!
The boys loved seeing the sugar bubbling, though it was a bit nerve wracking for me, I was worried that someone was going to get covered in molten sugar and badly burnt before I could get the sugar off them. In the event, of course, nothing dramatic happened.
We did buy a packet of moldable wax from Baker Ross. But, though I thought people could burn the candles, making them disposable gifts, everyone kept them on shelves and window sills. So, personally, I felt it was a bit of a failure, since my aim is not to give people clutter.
Vaguely Useful Stuff
Some of our attempts have gone fairly well. Coasters are reasonably popular and can be made just by laminating drawings, or using a craft set.
Bookmarks are another quick make. Unless you go all out and try to stitch a pattern. I quite enjoyed cross-stitch before I had the children. But, these days, we produce a lot of ‘wonky kisses’. We’ve put these on bookmarks, slippers, shirt pockets and cards. While the boys are still young enough, it makes a cute gift.
We’ve done a lot of mug painting.
We have been to some lovely pottery painting places, but I also have a set of paints to use at home.
We also buy cloth bags and decorate them. Another spare shopping bag usually comes in handy, and will hopefully be even more popular after the plastic bag charge came in. And I have a couple of sets of fabric pens, so that’s a very easy craft!
This year, we also have glass pens (which I bought in Tesco). I was pretty pleased with the vases the boys decorated.
I am much less pleased with my attempt at photographing it!
I’m always looking out for new ideas, as there are a lot of Christmasses and Birthdays! Please share any great ones that you’ve found!