Good Homemade Christmas gift ideas

Are homemade Christmas gifts a good idea?
June 29, 2023 – 09:31 am
Homemade valentine card
Jars of honeyHome-made honey and jam – would you be happy to receive such a gift for Christmas? Photograph: Tim Graham/Getty Images

Britons are slashing the amount they spend on Christmas this year, but are planning to make and bake more presents than ever, according to a survey by Good Food magazine.

The magazine found that 31% of us are planning to cut present spending this year, with just 11% planning to spend more. But instead of cutting friends and relatives off the gift list altogether, 33% are planning to make and give homemade presents – up from 8% last year.

In the past couple of months I have made jars of quince jelly and bottles of chilli sherry to give away as Christmas presents – partly because I love these two things myself, so can't imagine anyone not wanting to get them as a gift, but also, I admit, to make use of the autumn glut in the garden and save money.

But there's the rub. Does making or baking a gift actually save money?

One colleague who shall remain nameless moaned that making coconut ice for her uncle last year cost more than she would normally spend on him. She admits, somewhat grudgingly, that she did benefit from a fair amount of tasting during production, but adds: "I had to buy a bag of desiccated coconut (88p for 250g), two tins of condensed milk (£1.44 for a 397g tin) and a jar to put it in (£4), so altogether it came to about £7."

Another colleague, who is intending to make pickled ginger and chilli oil for the second year running as gifts, says it does save him money: "I'm so lazy about buying presents, it's just easier to buy expensive ones – never less than £10 and often up to £30. So even though I buy the jars and bottles it does save me money."

Not all homemade gifts work. One relative knits jumpers or other garments for my daughter every year. When my daughter was little I could get her to wear them, especially if they had a horse or cat on the front. Now she's a teenager, they are instantly discarded.

But personally, I would rather receive a homemade jar of pickled ginger than a box of Thorntons chocolates, which seems to be the default present of choice in my family. Much better for the waistline, and apparently better than fresh ginger when used in cooking (according to the colleague who makes it).

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