Your Home and Garden - - Santa's Planning Workshop -

If mak­ing, bak­ing or creat­ing gifts isn’t go­ing to add to your stress lev­els, get stuck in and churn out some pressies with a per­sonal touch. Don’t worry if your ef­forts come out look­ing less than In­sta-wor­thy, it truly is the thought that counts. Sched­ule a day in the kitchen and make ed­i­ble gifts that are fru­gal and filled with fes­tive spirit.

Co­conut ice, fudge, cook­ies (make them in a fes­tive shape for ex­tra points), choco­late or pep­per­mint bark are al­ways good, or step it up a level with an in-a-jar mix: place the dry in­gre­di­ents for pan­cakes, lux­ury hot choco­late or choc-chip cook­ies in a jar and write the recipe on a cute la­bel. For a less sweet choice, what about roasted honey nuts, home­made muesli, flavoured salts or in­fused sug­ars?

If you have a glut of fruit, make chut­ney, jam or le­mon curd. Pack­age your home­made good­ies in re­cy­cled jars or boxes with hand­made la­bels – if you have kids, leave them in charge of this bit.

Whip up this le­mon cor­dial, which is the per­fect thirst-quencher on a hot day: pop 2 cups sugar, 1½ cups wa­ter and the zest of 2 lemons in a saucepan, bring to the boil and sim­mer for 20 min­utes to make a syrup. Stir in the juice of 8 lemons, 3 tsp cit­ric acid and cool. Serve di­luted with wa­ter, sparkling or still.

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