Looking to do Christmas on the cheap? Here are some recommendation for homemade presents

If your student loan is running perilously low and the idea of inevitably forking out for all the obligatory Christmas presents makes doing your dissertation seem preferable, then have a go at some of these crafty ideas for thoughtful, homemade presents. They won’t break the bank and will offer a welcome respite from the library.

Lavender pillow

If you can sew, this is an easy but thoughtful present. Choose two squares (or rectangles) of fabric, making sure they are bigger than you want your cushion to be. Fabric offcuts work perfectly for this and also reduce waste. Sew three sides of the fabric with a blanket stitch (this is very easy – search for a YouTube tutorial if you don’t know how). Then, fill the pillow with dried lavender and sew the fourth side up. Decorate the pillow if you want by sewing the recipient’s initials onto the pillow or add shapes of a different fabric.


Baileys is expensive and if you make your own, you can edit the flavour to suit different tastes. To make your own Baileys you need to blend together on a low speed: 350ml Irish whiskey, 250ml single cream, 1 can of condensed milk, 1 shot of espresso, 3 tsp chocolate sauce and 1 tsp vanilla essence. Put in glass bottles and refrigerate. Best before date: whatever is shown on the cream.

Body scrub

To make a natural body scrub, use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or almond oil, brown sugar, and a few drops of essential oils (all available at pharmacies, supermarkets and online.) Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl, using the oil and sugar to balance the consistency. Lavender and peppermint oil are good options, but you can choose whichever you like best (but remember to only use a few drops as excess can cause skin irritation). Add to a glass jar or container, add a ribbon or pretty label, and you have a lovely homemade scrub. If you want to make it even more appealing, add food colouring to half the batch and make swirly patterns with the two colours.


Using colourful card and pens, write out the months of the year on separate pieces of card. Using string or colourful ribbon, join them together and add a hook so that it can be hung up. Next, choose fun or meaningful photographs to include each month and order large prints. Snapfish offers free prints with their app, making this such a financially friendly, yet really considerate gift. Personalise your calendar with important dates for you and the recipient and, of course, decorate the calendar as much as you like.

Infused Olive Oil

Choose a glass container. Make sure to wash and sanitise by boiling, then letting it air dry. Then add the dried ingredients. Some ideas are dried garlic, rosemary, chilli or whatever the recipient enjoys! Buy some extra virgin olive oil, heat it to 80 degrees in a pan, then pour the oil over the dried ingredients. Put the lid on and store in a cool dark place. Keep the oils for up to 3 months.


Image: FinePix HS20EXR via pxhere 

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