Keeping Christmas cheap but cheerful
Many Kiwis reckon Christmas is the most stressful time of the year when they spend far more money than they intended.
Fortunately the silly season doesn’t have to cost an arm or a leg. Here are a few easy DIY gift ideas that won’t cost a lot but will look like you’ve gone to a lot of effort. Most elements can be found at op shops, gardening or hardware stores, the supermarket, in your garage, or in your neighbour’s garage.
Some of the loveliest gifts are the simplest. Fill an empty jar with anything from homemade lollies or beautiful shells to all the ingredients your lucky recipient needs to make Christmas cookies (just Google ‘cookie in a jar’ for a simple recipe). Beautify the lid with pretty fabric or paper and a ribbon, and top it off with a homemade name tag.
Terrariums are perfect for people who don’t have much room – or a reputation for keeping gardens alive. Trawl op shops or ask around for a big glass jar or bowl. Line it with a few centimetres of pebbles, add a layer of activated charcoal (you’ll find this in the aquarium section at a pet store) and a few inches of soil, then plant a cactus or succulent or two. Add a personal touch to your terrarium with a small decoration like a goldpainted dinosaur or shells.
Personalised magnets and coasters are simple yet special ways to share your most memorable moments with family and friends – and they’re useful. Head online to sites like kroma.co.nz to transform your favourite photos into handy gifts at the click of a few buttons. They’ll get delivered straight to your door too.
There’s nothing cuter than kids’ drawings, especially when you think it’s a tree but actually it’s a robot. Immortalise your child’s artwork by framing it then gifting it to grandmothers and aunties. Frames are easy to find at stores like The Warehouse; keep an eye out for old frames you could repurpose (think paint or spray paint) at garage sales; or head to a specialist framing store for that professional touch. Ask your littlies to describe exactly what’s going on in their masterpiece and write up their description in a Christmas card for the lucky recipient.
Herbs are the gift that keep on giving. Consider repotting cuttings into pots and passing them on as gifts. Herbs are also inexpensive from a gardening or homewares store. If you want to go the whole hog, create a simple window box out of wood off-cuts, then pop three or four pots inside. Label each herb with brightly painted metal clips or ice cream sticks for a splash of colour.
Homemade soap makes the perfect smelly gift. You’ll need to buy a soap base like shea butter along with soap moulds, but almost all of the other ingredients can be found in your pantry or garden. Think lemon, grapefruit, lavender, coconut oil, milk, vanilla, mint, sage, oat. The lucky recipient will love lathering up your handmade wares.
Christmas giving doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune.