In an earlier post I told you about the time I was at university and I didn’t have any money so for Christmas I made my family food gifts. I made cookies, bread rolls, ginger snaps, chilli oils and basil oil.
Now I was only just starting out in the world of cooking then and I think I can safely say that most of it was an endearing disaster! But the sentiment was appreciated and I think that was mainly because I had put so much effort into personalising the gift and making the packaging look nice!
So in the theme of “saving money at Christmas” I want to share a few tips on how to make your gifts really special without spending too much money!
- Think about what they like:
I know this seems like an obvious one but it really does make a difference! Don’t give chocolate fudge brownies to your fitness guru cousin, or bread rolls to a relative who can’t eat wheat. By thinking about what they will really appreciate and use in their everyday lives you will be giving a better gift. It also means nothing will get thrown in the bin and wasted!
- Think about how you are going to package the gifts:
A cake wrapped in tin foil may be practical but it doesn’t look special! You can often pick up some cheap flat packed cake boxes online or in local art stores (or go to your local bakery shop and see if they have any spare). Why not paint these with bright colours, put your relative’s names on the packaging, or make them look festive with ribbons and bows!
When I gave my gifts all those years ago I was studying Lingerie design at university so I decided to come up with my own brand called “Pants at baking”. My labels were all shaped like knickers and it was a play on the fact that I couldn’t bake! Why not play around with your own branding to make the gifts unique, personal and funny!
This year I will think of new branding for my own gifts, so I’ll let you know once it is designed!
- Recycle everyday items:
If you are going to make things like chilli oils/ sauces/ chutneys then keep any small jars from foods you have bought, wash them and put to one side! You can replace any labels with your own and it means you don’t have to buy new jars for your gifts.
You can also recycle old cards/ wrapping paper and use it to decorate your packaging without having to buy new things.
- Put some of their personality into it:
A great idea is to make a big batch of cupcakes or cookies and then personalise the decorations you use. By making a big batch of something you do not have to buy loads of different ingredients (one big bag of flour will make a lot of cakes!). Decorate them with stars for your nephew who loves astronomy, music notes for that Rock n Roll uncle and even a poem for your grandma. No one will mind that everyone also got a batch of cupcakes because you have made it special to them, and you have saved money by bulk buying ingredients.
- Think about ingredients you have around you:
I have unlimited use of a few apple/ pear trees, a freezer full of blackberries from the late summer, a huge batch of walnuts from my mum’s tree in France, loads of crystallised ginger from a recipe I made earlier in the year and also ALOT of dried fruit and cheese left from the wedding so I plan to use these in my food gifts. By thinking about what you have in the house/ garden you can save money and also people will appreciate it more if they know that the ingredients are from a tree instead of the supermarket. You could play on this in your branding – “Nice n Natural” or “From my garden to you”.
I hope this has helped inspire you to give some personal home made gifts this Christmas! Add a few little twists to make a batch of bread rolls become a really thoughtful and unique present.
What would your branding be?