The Hol­i­day Guide to Gifts You Can DIY

Indonesia Expat - - NEW YEAR - BY EA­MONN SADLER

The hol­i­day sea­son is upon us and even if you your­self are not cel­e­brat­ing, you may know some­one who is. This means gifts; you’re go­ing to be giv­ing them and you’re go­ing to be get­ting them. Now, Jakarta has many shops, with many aisles, filled with many many op­tions but we’ve all been do­ing this for years and it feels as though any­thing we would want to buy, we’ve bought al­ready and if we haven’t bought it, some­one else has. This year, do some­thing dif­fer­ent. Here is a guide to gifts that are sure to be one of a kind and straight from the heart. It’s the 12th month of this year. This means, it’s prob­a­bly the 12th month your re­cy­cling hasn’t been col­lected. If you have a cup­board, case or even a closet full of un­wanted empty glass jars and bot­tles, I have the so­lu­tion. Give them away. But fill them up first. Rather than stock­ing stuffers, th­ese are ideas for jar fillers. First, pre­pare your empty jars (or bot­tles) by clean­ing them with a drop of dish soap and some warm wa­ter. Close the jars and shake them. Once the liq­uid in­side is foam­ing, place all your empty bot­tles (or jars) into a sink of warm wa­ter and leave them to soak for a cou­ple of hours, or as long as it takes for the la­bel strip to do ex­actly that, strip. Re­move them from the wa­ter, scrub them dry and voila! Th­ese are now shiny, clean and ready to stop oc­cu­py­ing your pre­cious stor­age space.

A SPOON­FUL OF SUGAR

Now, no one wants to play “pass the jar” around Jakarta, so let’s fill them up and give them a new pur­pose. For your friend who loves cos­met­ics and a good pam­per ses­sion, (or maybe your friend who doesn’t love them enough), make a home­made scrub. Scrubs are ex­tremely sim­ple to make and ex­tremely lovely to re­ceive. You’ll need three ba­sic in­gre­di­ents: gran­u­lated sugar, oil (co­conut or olive), and an es­sen­tial oil of your choice. And fol­low this ba­sic ra­tio: one part sugar to half a part oil and add the es­sen­tial oil as lib­er­ally as you think the re­cip­i­ent would want. That’s the joy of mak­ing it your­self; you can per­son­alise it. If you’re gift­ing this to some­one who’s had a long year and you’re hop­ing this will help them re­lax, fill them up a larger jar and use laven­der oil. If you want this to be a lip scrub that can go any­where with your friend, use a small jar (the tiny jam pots I steal from ho­tels work great), add a lit­tle more co­conut to loosen the con­sis­tency and drop in some or­ange or pep­per­mint essence. It’s hard to get this wrong. Write your own la­bel, wrap the lid with a rib­bon and you’ve saved your­self a headache-in­duc­ing trip to the mall.

BE YOUR OWN BETTY CROCKER

Have you baked that same, on de­mand, batch of brown­ies so many times that you could do it blind­folded and up­side down? Or, do you have a recipe that your friends will not stop ask­ing you for? Well, it’s the hol­i­days. Give it to them. If it’s a recipe that you’re will­ing to share, type or write it up and stick it onto a piece of card to make it feel of­fi­cial. But, what makes this gift spe­cial is that you’re go­ing to do half the work for them and give them the in­gre­di­ents too. This idea works best with a bak­ing recipe but can be used for spice mixes as well. Mea­sure out the cor­rect amounts of all the nec­es­sary dry in­gre­di­ents, for ex­am­ple co­coa pow­der, flour, sugar, bak­ing pow­der, and layer them into a jar. Try not to mix them up as this looks best when you can see each in­di­vid­ual layer. If you have some spare fab­ric, although wrap­ping pa­per works just fine, cut a square out and place over the open­ing of the jar and then tightly close the lid. Now all your friend has to do is add eggs, or milk, or oil and they can have their favourite food, when­ever they please.

MES­SAGE IN A BOT­TLE

Th­ese aren’t just for pi­rates, they’re ac­tu­ally a great gift. I’ve re­cently seen “I love you be­cause…” books pop­ping up across shops; you read a page a day and each page has a dif­fer­ent rea­son why some­one loves you. My idea is to turn the book into a bot­tle (in­ci­den­tally, the same idea adopted by first year univer­sity stu­dents). When you have some free time, get com­fort­able, grab an (empty) bot­tle, dif­fer­ent coloured pens and a few sheets of pa­per. First, cut the pa­per into strips small enough to roll into scrolls that can fit in (and out of) the bot­tle. Next, on each strip, write some­thing that will make the per­son you’re giv­ing this to smile; it can be a rea­son you love them, a mem­ory you share or even some­thing you wish will come true for them that day. Roll each in­di­vid­ual strip up and then toss them in­side the bot­tle. You can tie a string around each scroll if you’d like, make them larger if you have fewer things to say, or smaller if your bot­tle isn’t big enough to fit all your words but, how­ever it’s made, the per­son who gets it will love it. If you have the cork or cap, close the bot­tle up and make a la­bel for the front that reads “One a Day”. Each day, some­one will shake out a scroll, read it and be re­minded of how much they mean to you. This gift is ver­sa­tile and isn’t lim­ited to love notes! You can write a new word and def­i­ni­tion on each scroll, you could be mo­ti­va­tional and make each note an ex­er­cise chal­lenge, ev­ery­day could be a dif­fer­ent song rec­om­men­da­tion - the op­tions are pretty lim­it­less. Per­haps it’s a cliché to say “it’s the thought that counts” but it is also true. Giv­ing some­one a gift is al­ready lovely but mak­ing some­one a gift is truly spe­cial.

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