Nothing’s quite the same as giving a gift you’ve made yourself. It makes for a really personal present; one that your friends and family are sure to appreciate all the more.
Jo’s already shared quite a few of her DIY beauty treatments on #BTHOUGHTFUL, and Becky’s contributed lots of recipes – so we asked them to round up a ‘top 4’ they suggest as gifts. On the girls’ list there’s something to nibble, to sip, for the body and for the home.
We hope you enjoy giving these homemade Christmas gift ideas a go!
“This is a delicious, yet healthy gluten free gingerbread biscuit recipe. Simple to make in one bowl, and a lovely homemade Christmas gift.” – Becky.
Time to prepare: 40mins
Cooking time: 10mins
Makes: 30 (depending on cookie cutter size)
210g all purpose, gluten free flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
110g light brown sugar
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1 egg at room temperature, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Royal Icing, for decorating (optional but adds that extra touch)
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas mark 3.
2. Line rimmed baking sheets with greaseproof paper and put them aside for later. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt, and whisk to combine well.
3. Add the brown sugar and whisk again to combine, working out any lumps.
4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the butter, molasses, honey, egg and vanilla, and after each addition, mix well. The dough will be thick and sticky at this point.
5. Place the dough on a large sheet of flour-dusted greaseproof paper. Cover with another sheet, dust with flour and roll into a rectangle about 1cm thick. As the dough is quite sticky, I’d put into the freezer for 10-15mins to harden it up.
6. Pull back the sheet of greaseproof paper, dip a gingerbread man cutter (or any other shape cutter) into the gluten free flour so that the dough doesn’t stick, and cut out the shapes from the dough. Make sure to wiggle the cutter a bit to create a neat shape. Don’t waste any of the dough – you can even use the cut out left overs to make little round cookies.
7. Place the full sheet of gingerbread men on a chopping board and pop in the freezer for 5-10mins until firm. This will help them keep shape during baking.
8. Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for about 10 minutes until just set.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
10. Decorate the cooled cookies with royal icing. You could add red or green food colouring for a pop of Christmassy colour.
Try wrapping a box of gingerbread men in recycled brown paper. Finish with jute string and a nice piece of greenery to give as a little Christmas gift.
Recipe adapted from Gluten Free on a Shoestring.
8 large organic lemons
750ml bottle vodka
675g of granulated sugar
700ml of water
A large glass jar or bottle
A sieve or strainer
Using a vegetable peeler; peel the zest from the lemons. Try to remove only the outer yellow skin and as little of the white pith as possible.
Place the lemon zest to your glass jar or bottle and cover with vodka.
Cover the glass jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 1-2 weeks.
After the infusing period is over, stir together the sugar and boiling water until the sugar has dissolved and allow to cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup into the glass jar with the alcohol and gently stir to mix. Refrigerate overnight.
Stain out and discard the lemon peels. Transfer the Limoncello into your glass bottle.
Keep in the freezer until you’re ready give your gift. Let your loved one know how to store it (in the freezer for up to a year) and to serve it chilled.
“Wondering what to do with all the lemons after you are done zesting them? Don’t let them go to waste – try making a vegan lemon sorbet or a batch of homemade lemonade for the kids.” – Jo.
Aimee, the blogger behind Wallflower Girl (and our BTHOUGHTFUL contributor) suggests giving this simple scrub this Christmas. “Not only is it very cheap, quick and easy to put together, it also smells incredible and is super good for the skin!” – Aimee.
500g / 2 cups brown sugar
240ml / 1 cup oil (olive oil, coconut oil and sweet almond oil are good choices)
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp mixed spice (or pumpkin pie mix)
A jar or container
Optional extras: Add 1 tbsp vitamin E oil or 1 tbsp honey for dry skin
1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. If the mixture is too oily, add sugar, if it’s too dry, add more oil.
2. Adjust spice measurements to your liking. Some oils can mask the scent of the ginger and cinnamon, so add more if needed.
3. Store in an airtight container or jar and decorate!
“This beeswax candle tutorial is from Wendy, our BTHOUGHTFUL contributor. They’re quick and easy to make, and you can usually find pretty little candle holders or vessels in local charity shops.” – Becky
Thanks girls! For more gift inspiration, have a read of this post to discover some of our favourite places to shop (other than Braintree!) for eco, ethical or sustainable gifts.