Like you, I’m always extra busy at this time of the year.

In this current 3 week period we have three dance concerts to attend (and perform in!), kindy break up, a son’s birthday party, 20 year school reunion interstate, hubby’s usual cricket commitments and higher than average pre-Christmas sales in the business.

You kind of get the picture, life is bordering on manic.

If your family schedule resembles mine, I’m not surprised if the thought of making Christmas gifts sends you into overwhelm. But I want to let you know it doesn’t need to be a huge, time-consuming effort.

Now, I’ve always loved to make Christmas gifts for friends and family, and have done so since I was a young girl, but it’s getting harder to do this each year as business and family life gets busier.

Generally I bake an assortment of yummy homemade Christmas treats and present them nicely in a gift box. I’ve also been known to make individual Christmas puddings or even quilt Christmas table runners and serviettes.

But I don’t want to be up until 2am baking the night before the last day of kindy next week, the same week as my son’s birthday party. I’m too tired after all this mayhem and an unexpected bout of kid’s gastro and ear infection thrown in, which really turned our household upsidedown.

Instead, I’ve taken some of my own advice and made some preserves on a free evening last week.

Preserves tick all the following boxes when it comes to suitable gifts…..

Make in advance. Check.

Homemade. Check.

Useful. Check.

Eco-friendly. Check (especially if you re-use jars).

Affordable. Check.

So this year, teachers and carers who have made a significant impact on our son’s lives will each receive a jar of homemade cranberry and apple sauce. Both were made quickly in my Thermomix one evening, so weren’t a massive time commitment on my part. I also love that they’ll come in handy for their Christmas dinners and stand out from the 20-odd boxes of store-bought chocolates and biscuits they’ll receive.

So, if you’re looking for a quick and effective homemade Christmas gifts this year, try your hand at the recipes below. Enjoy!

Cranberry Sauce Recipe


  • 600g dried cranberries
  • 2 oranges
  • 400g water
  • 40g sugar (I used organic raw sugar as I had heaps on hand but you can also use coconut or rapadura for a healthier result)
  • 2 star anise
  • Splash of port (optional)
  • Pinch salt flakes (I use Murray River Pink Salt Flakes – like to keep it local)


  • Zest and juice oranges
  • Place sugar, water, orange juice, star anise, salt, port into Thermomix bowl and cook 12 minutes, 70°C, speed 2.
  • Add cranberries and cook 12 minutes, 100°C, speed 2.
  • Add orange zest.
  • Chop 10 seconds, speed 6.
  • Place into sterilized jars, seal lid and place them upsidedown for 2 minutes before turning upright and allowing to cool..

Apple Sauce

Refer to Thermomix Everyday Cookbook for recipe.