For the loved ones in your life for whom you want to get a little something, without spending too much money or creating a lot of waste, DIY presents are the perfect solution.
Here is my lineup of my really easy, tried and tested DIY recipes/ step by steps, to create something unique and one of a kind whilst not feeding into the consumerist and wasteful bubble! I hope you enjoy x
- Dried lemon and cinnamon Christmas decorations
I think these look really impressive, whilst being made from the most simple ingredients; and you can use any citrus fruits which might be past their consumption best before date to save them from the (compost) bin. You can also make a garland out of the slices with string through the middle, which is nice for someone who may be in the need for Christmas decorations, a notebook decorated with these on the front cover, pop these in a frame for a bit of a retro print look, or even use them with some twine as part of your wrapping for presents; they are so versatile! If fully dried, they should last years.
1. Slice an orange, a lemon or a lime (or all three), very thinly (good to use a mandolin grater if you have one to achieve perfect slice; the thicker they are the longer they will take to dry and also you run the risk of cutting too thick that you can’t dry them fully, meaning they won’t last as long; I definitely cut some of mine too thick!).
2. Pop on an oven safe wire cooling rack with a baking tray underneath to catch juices, and pop in oven at 90 C/ 200 F for 2-4 hours (check every 40 mins or so to see if fully dry- the oranges take longer as they are larger); please excuse my very old and battered tray below.
3. Once fully dried (they will look almost crystallised), let cool, and then thread your chosen ribbons through the centre, best to use ribbons that you already have lying around to be truly zero waste. I have a bag full of old packaging ribbon which came so handy for this!
4. You can also play around with cinnamon sticks, I glued the ribbon for this around the middle and looped it over.
5. Ready to be gifted!
- Chocolate orange emergency skin/lip salve
So my original idea with this was to make a lip balm, however to create an authentic lip balm I needed to buy an extra wax, and I wanted to use what I already had in the house without buying anything new. However, if you have beeswax or candelilla wax to hand, please swap the shea butter for this for a more lipbalmy texture.
Ingredients (makes two of my small lipbalm containers, double the ratios for a larger volume):
2 teaspoons cocoa butter
1 teaspoon shea butter
2 teaspoons coconut oil
10 drops sweet orange Essential oil
- Melt the shea butter and cocoa butter in a bain-marie.
2. Add the coconut oil once it has melted almost fully.
3. Take away from heat and allow to cool slightly.
4. Add essential oil (feel free to substitute for any oil of your choosing).
5. Pour into your containers and leave to cool/ set.
- Handmade & Organic Vegan chocolates
I used my chocolate making kit from elements for life:
However, you don’t need to buy the kit to make the chocolate! If you already have cacao powder and cocoa butter, and some kind of sweetener (I use agave syrup) then the only extra you need is a silicone mould, which you can find very cheap online and use over and over again indefinitely. Here’s an example:
Here is the full recipe from elements for life- instead of sweet freedom you can experiment with whatever sweetener you have to hand, and adjust it to your taste- add more if you prefer them really sweet, or less if you prefer a more bitter chocolate.
These make really lovely gifts presented in a repurposed or reused box with some recycled newspaper or magazines as a lining, and some dried flowers or fresh leaves if you have them available to you.
The best thing about these DIY gifts is getting to be creative, and thinking about how to present them in a way in which you use up things you already have, and to me this is way more thoughtful than a shop bought present.
I would love to know if you have any trusty DIY recipes this Christmas!