I came up with a long list which I have narrowed down by considering things that we can realistically do now in time for Christmas time wise!
The next factors are things that will suit at least several people plus be a reasonable cost. Better still, use items we already have on hand!
Many times I have made batches of prettily wrapped soaps. I buy pink Dove soap in boxes. The fact they are boxed makes the wrapping look neat and lovely. Usually I can get these for $1 each in the cheap shops yet it is beautiful soap that smells just lovely. When I post these everyone says how the parcel smelled so good!
You can use wrapping paper, craft papers, images from magazines or books, wallpaper...
I got the idea when I saw exquisitely wrapped soaps in a gift store. They were $20 each!
I have used all kinds of ribbons I have, silk flowers, bling, old brooches...
One year I worked crochet edges around face washers and little flowers and paired these with my soaps. If you crochet this is a fairly fast project. My edgings tutorial is here.
Working an edging around something is much faster than crocheting the whole item. Edgings look lovely on kitchen towels, aprons, pillowcases, wash cloths, scarves, towels... and more!
My soaps are usually in a few colour schemes. I have used floral book pages and all sorts of images.
The main thing is to wrap neatly and stick things down in such a way that your ribbon will conceal everything. I then craft glue the ribbon edges to hold tight.
I have also given these away in groups of three if I need a larger gift.
Another gift I have made lots of times is various versions of notebooks. Most of us love note books! You need to find inexpensive little books with plain covers. Sometimes I have found them in multiple packs. If you are a crafter or card maker and have images, sparkly stuff, stickers etc you are set. Also lace, motives, ribbon, etc are possibilities.
These are fun to make and if you make small ones they post well. A pen could be an addition. Another idea is to use larger books and cover them with fabric to be diaries or with food/cooking images to be somewhere to write best recipes.
Similarly cards make good gifts! I love a big card making session. If you make them into packs of five or six you have a gift. Everyone uses cards and they cost a fortune!
I usually use cellophane bags as my packaging but a lovely box would be very nice. Again a pen would be nice if you want to add something, stamps or a birthday book maybe.
My dear friend Ethel many years ago would make up a folder with dividers and pockets. She did this for the Mums and Grandmothers. It would have cards for every occasion and all the family birthdays written in. So Grandma could turn to January and there was a list of Birthdays plus the cards needed. This was a beautiful and helpful gift. It was a gift of help, money saving and thoughtfulness.
Another one Ethel taught me was mini Christmas cakes. She saved the tins from tuna and washed them up. He husband would knock the sharp edges with a hammer. These became her little cake tins. Lined well with non stick paper she would make up Christmas cakes. These can be made well ahead.
Most years I do some of these. They are right for a person who lives alone or even a couple.
You could use any recipe at all. My Christmas Cake recipe keeps at least a year and that is here. Ethel decorated hers beautifully with royal icing. My icing skills are not so hot. You could also use muffin trays or little round soufflé dishes or any small cake tins.
Gift tags are another idea. Like cards they make lovely gifts in packs. They could also be book marks.
Tanya has made lots....
She cut up a book of flowers for her images. They are really pretty!
Six in a cellophane bag tied up prettily is a good gift.
Tanya your gift tags are just lovely! The bottom ones I can also see as luggage labels for travelling.
Another I make every year is Coconut Ice. In stores this is sold in tiny pieces as it is rich. I make a couple of baking trays of it and cut them into about 3 x 5 inch pieces. This is one of the times I use my dried rosebuds too.
This is so yum and easy to make. It is smooth and creamy. I like to make the top layer the palest pink.
This is my recipe Coconut Ice.
Lots of recipes are good for making big batches. Packaged nicely they make great gifts. I like fudge, rocky road, gingerbread, peanut brittle....
I usually make shortbread. Even with the price of butter this is a spectacular gift for very little. To give it as a big gift I do the whole recipe on a pizza pan and give it whole.
This recipe is good as it isn't crumbly! Vanilla Shortbread.
It can be cut out in shapes as well or baked whole and cut into wedges. If you have tins then it can be given this way.
If you have someone who is gluten free (or grain free etc) making them a batch of something they can have is a really wonderful gift! It is thoughtful and special and most store bough special diet items are very expensive! This could be a hit.
Holley suggested Crock Pot Candy. She shared this easy recipe which is here. I am going to try this thank you Holley!
Barb suggested making up little hampers with a theme. Pampering, coffee drinker, afternoon tea, gardener. This can be quick and easy to put together.
Jane has made lots of things in big numbers. One is lip balms...
Another was shopping bags.
Something like this would be great if you have a lot of fabric and fairly fast to make up.
Pretty pillowcases are another one!
Jane also decorates pegs. These are amazingly useful! She started with a tutorial found on Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. A couple of years ago I did ones with birds on them. They still keep the cheese packet shut! I gave them away on cards of six. Thank you for demonstrating this also Jane!
Wendy makes decorated hand towels in big numbers. This is another good one. She adds a strip of pointed fabric and lace etc. If you have fabric or lace remnants this would also work on face washers or kitchen towels.
Another I love to do is make up hampers of some of everything. If I have preserves I will include a cake, jam, packets of shortbread, gingerbread, peanut brittle or whatever I have been making. It is a selection. Size it to match the family. I watch for baskets from the op shop/thrift stores and save wooden boxes, trays etc. With some cellophane and ribbon you can make it look wonderful. If you look at the prices of hampers in the stores they are extremely expensive. These are wonderful gifts.
Sometimes I have found bulk packs of things that can be broken down into gifts. I watch out for these! This can apply to pretty much anything but the last time I did it was the hugest pack of Christmas Sweets. I broke it up into about 20 little packs that I decorated and added these to my hampers.
With just over a month to Christmas making a big batch of something can really boost what you have. Timing is everything. For most of the baked goods I collect everything I need now. Make sure I have cellophane etc as well. I generally make coconut ice, shortbread etc about a fortnight before Christmas and give it out then. For things given on Christmas Day I would do this kind of cooking a few days before. Everything else can be done now to keep Christmas week calm!
Thank you everyone for sending in ideas! There are some more in comments on last Wednesdays Christmas Challenge post and I have run out of time. If you would like to add ideas and recipes please do!
I can't believe how close we are to Christmas! I know tomorrow is also Thanksgiving for our USA friends. Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope your week is going well! It is hot here! xxx