If you celebrate Christmas, I’m sure that with less than a month to go until the big day, you’re no doubt knee-deep in present planning or purchasing mode.

Gift giving is one aspect of Christmas that can get out of hand quickly….. from a cost and a sheer volume point of view alone (let’s not even go there on waste!).

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this post I’ll discuss four easy, sustainable, homemade Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank or send you into a spin.

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It can be enough to send anyone into a spin….. The expectation to give gifts at Christmas can (and more often than not, does) get out of control. Gifts for your spouse, children, extended family members, friends, teachers, carers, neighbours, bosses, employees, colleagues, your house cleaner, your sisters’ dog!!! Sometimes it feels like the list never ends!

Now of course, you don’t have to give all these people a Christmas gift.

You really don’t.

Often a nice card with a lovely hand written note is appreciated more than any gift. And of course just our time is the most precious gift of all that we can give to our loved ones.

However, if you would like to give many of these people gifts, rather than defaulting to the shops and buying another box of chocolates for your child’s teacher, consider making an original gift yourself.

It doesn’t need to be time consuming. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Just utilise your talents and creativity and have a go. And before you say “But I’m not creative”, remember that every child can paint. You have it within you to be creative – just have a go!!

Throughout November, my Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs community were challenged to have a go at making just one Christmas gift and they blew me away with their creativity!!

If you’re a newbie at making gifts, or you’re looking for some different ideas, here’s where I suggest you start this Christmas.

Cook It

Christmas baking is my default go-to when it comes to gifts for teachers, carers and extended family members.

I find I can tick off many gifts just by making one batch of macadamia nut shortbread and bundling them into individual packets. This is perfect for colleagues, kindergarten or child care teachers… basically when you want to acknowledge a larger group of people in your life.

If I’m a bit more organised I’ll bake some medium-sized Christmas puddings. But these are obviously more time consuming so they tend to go to my A-list of gift recipients…. like my son’s class teacher at school. Tell me I’m not the only one with an A-list of gift recipients!!! 😉

Laura Trotta Sustainable Living Homemade Christmas Pudding

If I’ve managed to build up my collection of preserves, like tomato or sweet chilli sauce, in the months leading up to December, it’s so easy (and such a relief) to just jazz up one of these with some ribbon and gift to a friend. But even during the years when I haven’t had a decent stock of preserves, just a couple of hours in the kitchen has turned out several jars of apple or cranberry sauce …… a perfect gift for the festive season!

Craft It

If craft’s your thing you can really go to town on homemade Christmas gifts. Simple Christmas decorations are always a winner here.

I used to be a prolific quilter (before I had children and started a business!) and while these days a big quilt top is a bit much for me to handle time-wise, I’ve reignited my creativity and quilting passion this year by making some Christmas pot holders to gift to close friends.

Laura Trotta Sustainable Living Homemade Christmas Gifts

But you don’t have to be a gun on a sewing machine to make impressive gifts from fabric. Just by cutting and hemming some nice Christmas fabric, you can make serviettes that double as eco-friendly Christmas bon bons!

I’ve been so impressed by some of the crafted gifts being shared this past month by Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs members and one that particularly caught my eye was Kim’s rag rug. Called a Toothbrush Rag Rug, because the needle (in days gone by) was made out of old toothbrushes, Kim made this bath mat from an old quilt cover…..

Laura Trotta Sustainable Living Home Christmas Gift Rag Rug 

Mix It

If you’re not a Cook It or Craft It kind of person, perhaps Mix It appeals to you when it comes to homemade gifts.

Homemade soaps, bath bombs or hand washes are so simple and effective to make and are always well received.

Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs member Vanessa made some natural bath bombs with her children to give as gifts this year and had a heap of fun in the process!!

Laura Trotta Sustainable Living Homemade Christmas Gift Bath Bombs

Grow It

And last but not least, living gifts such as a plant in a pot are always a wonderful gift option.

I really love this idea shared by Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs member Kamila. Using glasses she purchased from an op shop and succulents she grew herself, Kamila gifted her child’s day care educators with a plant with a lovely message of thanking them for helping her children to grow.

So thoughtful, simple and effective!!!

homemade-christmas-gifts-succulent-lt

So this Christmas, before you dash to the shops to buy another box of chocolates or tin of shortbread for a gift, have a think and see if you can cook, craft, mix or grow your very own unique homemade Christmas gifts. I bet they’ll be well received and you’ll enjoy the process!

And if you’re keen to join a warm and inspiring community of like-minded eco folks, be challenged to live more sustainably and be in the running for awesome eco prizes (the winner of the November challenge will win two boxes of 10 Christmas cards from Earth Greetings), not to mention exclusive member discounts, I’d love you to join me in Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs.

Happy Homemade Christmas!!!

Laura

Laura

Laura Trotta is one of Australia’s leading home sustainability experts. Fusing her professional expertise as an environmental engineer with the down-to-earth pragmatism that comes from being a busy mum, Laura is an eco thought leader who’s not afraid to challenge the status quo.
Laura