By Lynnie Stein / December 2, 2022

DIY Christmas Gifts From A-Z

Crafted with the essence of affection. From the sparkling aura of A to the mystic glow of Z, a guide to crafting your own Christmas presents.

Get ready for an A-to-Z of gift inspo that’s more than just store-bought stuff! From homemade crafts and backyard bounty to special favours and heartfelt efforts, there’s plenty of ways to show love and appreciation all year round, not just at Christmas.

There’s joy to be had if you pull yourself off the meat hook of consumerism. The festive season can be the most expensive time of the year. Between buying gifts, going out to parties, and entertaining, the financial pressure starts to add up!

You are not obligated to continue Christmas Traditions that leave you Broke, Overwhelmed, or Tired. 

Give A gift of precious time that will always be welcome. (Spoiler: they’re all free) With inflation on the increase, many families are struggling. Ask what they would like done?

How can you add value to someone’s life today?

Young boy with red santa hat Christmas card

Give your time, love, kindness, joy, and good cheer.
Monetary gifts aren’t the lasting gifts of life.
The lasting and invaluable gifts of life are often intangible.

You can create lasting memories with creativity and your knowledge of a person

  • Some people could use laughter in their life, others need help cleaning or fixing their homes, some could use a night off from the kids, others may need career advice, others might need a place to stay temporarily, and the list goes on and on.

Be charitable with the intangible things; it feels much more benevolent and genuine.
Christmas can be a season of simplicity, generosity, connection and peace. Or it can be a season defined by more stuff, busyness, and stress. A season rendered insipid by a frenzied pursuit of possessions.

The awareness of extravagance as a source of stress is not new, yet the human spirit is not immune to errors, even when the path of righteousness is clear.

  • A parent, relative or partner with poor self‐control around money will often buckle to badgering from a child, or give into a yearning to people‐please, and buy that new smartphone, tablet, a holiday or even a car.
Lady with Christmas food display and drinks

Be Mindful

  • In the humdrum of modern life, we often find ourselves at a crossroads: to choose between the allure of the latest gadgets or the quiet pleasures of a good book, a captivating movie, or a rejuvenating massage. At times, the wisest decision may be to indulge in the latter, savouring the simple joys that enrich our souls.
  • Mindfulness, though not a cure-all, can indeed offer a helping hand.
  • From there we can make some deep, meaningful changes: when we are forced to face old assumptions about money.
Do You Believe in Magic?

Magic is within your reach.

There really is magic all around us, we must know where to look. It happens when we create space within ourselves and in the world.

Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like your emotions are getting the best of you. But don’t worry, this book is here to help.

Create Some Magic is a simple but powerful tool. It can help you attend to your emotional needs, boost your mood, create great relationships, combat loneliness, balance friendship and everyday obligations and set goals both big and small.

There’s a big mindset change some of us need to make at times like Christmas: how much we spend on people is not automatically a sign of our value and love for each other.

Brings us back to gifts

You can create lasting memories with creativity and your knowledge of a person.

With just a little help, even the smallest child will be enthralled making some of these special gifts all year round or for unique gifts.

May your heart be embraced by the gentle warmth of salutations.

Relax in the warm embrace of carols, savour the feast, cherish kinship, and, above all, bask in gratitude.

What is the 21 days of appreciation?
Your Guide to the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge — Passion Planner — Grateful Journal
These small changes will have a revolutionary effect on your career, your relationships, and your life.
young boy with homemade Christmas tree

May this offering bring you delight – a treasure trove of downloads, yours to keep, print, store, or share.

With love, Xo



  • Just ask. Instead of trying to find the perfect gift, find out what the other person really wants.

A whole case of your own grown / local fruit or vegetables.

APRONS are always handy for the busy cook or sew a serviceable one in strong calico or canvas for the gardener or handy person. 

56 Free Apron Patterns

A special thought …

  • When mum was little, one penny was a lot.
  • As she grew older, valued commodities changed e.g., sheer stockings in her teens were a luxury and worth saving for.
  • That was in the good old days, before we realised, we were not immortal and needed to care about the environment and quality of life.
  • Having children and grandchildren many miles apart, among other things, we started to value priceless things like letters.
  • People were writing letters hundreds of years ago.
  • Many feel sad when looking in the mailbox, not the inbox, and it is empty.
  • They miss the anticipation of a handwritten letter.
  • Write a heartfelt letter, it may just be the best gift.
  • A grandchild’s photograph and paintings are an added personal bonus to send as well.

A family video

  • wrapped with a packet of organic popcorn and seasoning mix 1⁄4 cup dried basil, 1⁄4 cup dried marjoram, 1⁄4 cup dried thyme,
  • 1⁄2 cup nutritional yeast powder, 1⁄4 cup garlic powder,1 ⁄8 cup kelp powder.
  • In a grinder, grind basil, marjoram and thyme and mix well with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Store in an airtight glass container away from heat and light.
  • Attach the following instructions on a homemade gift tag.
  • Sprinkle on lightly buttered popcorn and enjoy! (Add a small bottle of organic coconut oil – organic popcorn, popped in coconut oil is just deelish! no need for butter or seasoning).


Gifts are always optional.
We never need to buy the approval and love of others.
We don’t need to spend money to enjoy Christmas with others.

  • If we do get a gift for someone, we should not feel pressure to do it; the feeling should come from a charitable and joyous heart.

Spells of self-affirmation: My connections with others are pure and true. I stand firm in my identity, secure in my worth.

  • Who do I NOT need to get a gift for this year?
  • Only spend money you have — don’t charge your credit card(s) or spend your last dollars to get someone a gift.
  • It’s not worth it.
  • If you can’t afford to buy something, create a plan to obtain the item(s) at a later date when it is in your financial favour to do so.
  • After Christmas, many people greet the new year with new debt that could’ve been avoided had they stayed within their means during the festive season.

As the celebrations abound, I weave spells of financial prudence, treading carefully within my means. With each step, my resolve to remain financially disciplined shines bright, warding off the temptations of excess.

I am giving of my time.
I am kind to others.

How can I spread joy this festive season without spending a dime?

Avoid Unnecessary Stress…

Hacks to avoid unnecessary stress:

1. Take care of yourself first.

2. Maintain a clear perspective on your life and the world around you.

3. Instil clear boundaries with acquaintances, friends, families, & colleagues.

4. Hold onto gratitude; be grateful for someone and something each day.

5. Workout and eat healthily.

I have firm boundaries that I fearlessly enforce.
I am staying calm and relaxed during the festive season.

  • How can I decrease my stress this Christmas?

Don’t throw your health in the bag around the holidays...


Loved by dinosaur fans who love to colour, draw, and create!
Hours of fun to keep boys and girls engaged.
Connect the Dots, Colouring, Creating and Mindfulness activities.

This activity book is great for all levels: pre-readers as well as those more advanced.
Magic Food Creativity is for all ages – including grown-ups – never think you are too old for anything!

This is a book without rules: choose an activity at the back of the book or start at the beginning; whatever makes your creative juices flow.

As a mother and organic activist it gives me great pleasure to share my love for food, fun, and creating magic within.
We pay tribute to our greatest harvest of all: our children.

What better way to honour our children, than to teach them how to develop an enjoyable, healthful life through the food choices and thoughts they make.

Being slightly obsessive about all things healthy, I have confined myself to the food interests of our Food Heroes and young friends and indulged in ice-cream, chocolate, crisps, meringue and midnight feasts.

We look at the history of some foods specially loved by children.

In Magic Food Creativity, you will find over 130 pages:

Be a meal-time magic maker – Make a banana slice itself with the unpeeled banana trick. And make pepper pop up into the air.
Guzzle Puzzle – humour and information
Eato Leapo – information
What is your tummy telling you?
Is your tummy still hungry or happy – information
Tongue Twisters – humour and communication
Honey Bee – information and natural science
Moleculaire Gastronomie – information and natural science
Stone Soup – information
Bwok, bwok, bwok – make your own chicken laying egg noise machine – I promise you don’t have to lay an egg!
Celery flowers – craft
Spinning Eggs- Periment – natural science
Your Garden Promise – Virtues, skills, and life itself are learned in the garden
Food and Fun Pages –
Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration, and colour the main mode of expression.
There is just something calming about putting colour to paper.
Colouring promotes creativity!
Create a world as you see it, or as you simply wonder it can be.

Free creative thinking is vital to growing minds, and colouring nature is the simplest way to do that.

Captain Conservation – environmental

Mindful banana – You are creating your life. You are being you in your own unique way.
When our inner visions open we create our magic!
Be creative. Be enterprising. Do things better than you ever did before. Be optimistic. Be the STAR you are.

Grab a spare copy – creating magic is always best when shared with a friend!

In love and light, Xo, Lynnie ❤️



  • We gave Grandma a “Biscuit of the Month” certificate along with one dozen cookies.
  • Come the beginning of each month, we baked a different kind of cookie + you could enclose a recent photograph

How about baked with personal messages – each describing why you love the recipient ‐ hidden in the dough?

  • For avid readers gift a book gift voucher – or a trip to the library with morning tea
  • Rise & shine to a BREAKFAST  Pamper your partner, parents, sibling, or friend with a breakfast in bed!
  • Complete with herb tea, poached organic eggs, muffins, smoothies, bircher berry muesli and fresh fruit from the garden.
  • If they don’t care for the crumbs in the bed, let them read in bed whilst you prepare and set a beautiful table for a breakfast celebration.  Or head out to a picnic with watery wonderland view!

BONSAI TREE in shallow handmade pottery container.

BOOK Make a personal book.

  • The kids can cut pictures of things they like out of magazines and then glue them into the book.
  • Cut up some old photographs (or copy some photos or print from your computer) and glue their heads on other bodies, animals etc, and make a unique story book.

 How about a hand‐made recipe book containing meal suggestions from the recipient’s family members?

BIRD SEED for those who enjoy bird watching.


BOOKMARK if fond of reading, then a personalized bookmark would just be apt for the occasion.

  • There can be distinctive types of bookmarks like bird bookmark, greeting card bookmark etc.


Grapevine baskets made from own grapevine and fill with special treats.


For centuries oils have been used in the bath to soften and scent skin.

  • 1 bottle of organic olive oil + 1 tablespoon Castile soap + fragrant essential oil of your choice.
  • Combine all together, except essential oil.
  • Place into bottle or jars and add oil drop by drop.
  • Shake to combine.
  • Nice accompanied by a drawstring bag filled with dried herbs.
  • The bag can be hung around the tap while the bath is filling or just thrown into the bath.


BATH SOAK In the centre of a hemmed calico square place 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup almond meal and 1/2 cup cornmeal.
Tie up into a ball with a length of lace.
The mixture will diffuse into the bath water.

Add a little kick to party drinks

Bitters are staples in manhattans, easy to prepare and great gift giving for the cocktail lover or herbal bitters for an immune boost.

Make the recipient a special blend – excellent for festive & wedding favours’.

Herbal bitters are an excellent way to restore harmony to the digestive tract by improving the flow and quality of digestive juices from the stomach, pancreas and gall bladder.


  • BAGS … make the perfect gift – shopping, library, gift bag etc

Light up the Festive BBQ

  • Chilling with good company, beverages, garden harvest, old tunes and reminiscing.

What more would you ask for ?

  • Awww Food…Grilled tempeh with pickled green mango and lacto-fermented relish – emu apples (native cranberry).
  • Baked pumpkin with date water kefir syrup and topped with 2 old salty fruits – olives and preserved lemons. quinoa salad + rainbow fermenty goodness and bush greens.

Kombucha/kefir/ vinegar Marinade

  • We all know the phrase “leave for a few hours, ideally over night”.
  • Well that applies doubly to barbecues, to make sure the flavours aren’t overridden by the addition of the smoke.
  • In fact, it’s best to save some marinade when you make, and brush your meat or fish with the marinade every 10 minutes as it cooks.
  • That way it will add moisture, trap the smoke flavour and caramelise gently as it goes.

BEETROOT + CITRUS enjoy with BBQ fish or even a curry …

  • Cube 2 beetroots, tangerine, lemonade, lime (cubed including rinds), dash of ginger, T Himalayan salt, leave for 1-2 weeks.

Easy Sauce

  • Tomato Sauce – Blend FERMENTED SALSA and store in sauce bottles in the refrigerator
  • HOT SAUCE Ferment chillies of choice and Himalayan salt in a litre jar.
  • Blend when sour and add to re-purposed sauce bottle and refrigerate.


  • Have become such a detriment to modern health started out as health tonics.
  • That is why you would see soda fountains in pharmacies.
  • The sodas were a way of harnessing the vitamins and minerals stored in the roots or other plant matter and putting them into a tasty drink.
  • When we use the practice of fermentation to create fizzy drinks, we are not only pulling the vitamins and minerals from the plant material, we are also adding the healthy microorganisms that help our bodies break down and assimilate food.
  • The fermentation process can also create new nutrients such as B vitamins. 

Water kefir, a fermented beverage containing probiotic microorganisms.

  • Water kefir is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Kombucha and other fermented drinks are great for GIFT GIVING gut health.




CELEBRATING gives you a chance to celebrate all the important peeps in your life.

  • Show each of them how much you care by surprising them with a unique and personal gift.
  • They will remember for years to come.
  • Remember elderly neighbours and friends with a small homemade gift too.

COLLAGES look wonderful hanging in windows, worn as pendants and used as a greeting card.
Let your imagination run wild and create a range of different craft items including a mobile, cards, etc.  


  • After-dinner treats such as chocolate-covered organic Brazil nuts and organic strawberries – just melt some organic dark chocolate in a bowl over just-simmering water, skewer your nut, strawberry, fig (or organic dried fruit) dip into the melted chocolate.
  • Lay on paper to set.
  • Place in decorated jars, baskets, or homemade containers.

It is possible to mould your own chocolates and fill with nourishing centres.

A box of your chocolate creations makes a delicious, personalised gift for the chocolate lover. 


  • You can really make any craft by choosing papers and supplies that are environmentally friendly. Such as … Use what you have!
  • We all have bits of paper, odds and ends everywhere.
  • Use paper, ribbon, fabric, old clothing, plants, etc bought from thrift shops, too.


  •  Make a beautiful card from a brown paper bag / any old paper / recycled board / fabric and some ribbon.
    Brown paper (from a grocery bag) or paper or card or fabric scraps etc. 
    Pinking shears or scissors
    A hole punch, Ribbon (about 1/4 inch wide) or thick yarn
    Markers or crayons
    Cut a large heart or whatever shape you desire from brown paper or fabric using pinking shears. Using a hole punch, make a series of holes around the edges of the card.
  • Make an even number of holes. String ribbon or yarn through the holes.
  • Tie the ends in a bow (this is the hardest part of this project).
  • If the bow doesn’t look good, you can glue the ends of the ribbon to the back of the card instead. Write a message, paste a photo (or the children can draw a picture) on the card.
  • Glue pictures from old cards onto homemade or store-bought recycled paper to create new cards.
    Glue pretty paper on the inside of old cards to cover previous writing–and send them again. 
  • Make a greeting card or gift tag from scrap paper, fabric, or wallpaper.
  • For short quotes use a large leaf or flat stone.
  • Make cards or gift tags from pieces of a food box.
  • Write lovely quotes.


  • Make candles (paraffin-free), to light the special dinner or breakfast.
  • Try pouring them into small canning jars, mugs, tins, or any pretty container.
  • Use old beeswax candles which are nearly used up and re-melt them into new!


CERTIFICATES like the above for Grandma’s biscuits – bread, muffins, cakes, chocolates, preserves or a monthly dinner if you live close by.


  • Make up coupons that can be redeemed for everything from a hug to weeding the garden and taking out the trash, whatever comes from the heart.
  • Use a hole punch and ribbon, a stapler, or paper brads to hold your coupons together.
  • Breakfast in Bed Coupon, Walking the dog Coupon, an hour of silence Coupon, one hour control of the remote control, big hug Coupon, Washing the dishes Coupon.

Ask what they would like added to the coupons.
Once you have requests, all you must do is make them a reality!



  • By and large, home makers are the only workers who do not have regular time off.
  • They are the great vacation-less class.
  • It’s true.
  • Children and/or spouses are always around.
  • Everyone always needs something.
  • There’s usually way too much to do and most of it had to be done yesterday.
  • There’s often tension between work outside and work inside the home.
  • And when parent’s do try to take some time for themselves, they usually feel guilty.
  • So, one of the best presents may be making a nice breakfast -and then (after you clean up, of course) leaving!
  • Let them do what they like.
  • Make it clear they can’t do anything around the house or work-related, only things for herself / himself.
  • Maybe go out for a hike or a walk.
  • Maybe to take a long, quiet bath.
  • Maybe just like to watch a program or a movie or crank up the tunes.
  • And when you do return home, no long faces or guilt trips. 
  • What a great gift to give to a single parent….a day off.


  • Do an arrangement in a basket or jar, or glue to a woven place-mat for a placemat for the tray for breakfast in bed.


Prepare a meal and pamper with a hand massage or a day of pampering from homemade beauty products.



  • Herbal vinegars also make great gifts. 
  • With a collection of nice bottles, you can decant the vinegar and add a whole sprig of plant for decoration.
  • But be sure and tell the recipient why this vinegar is eggstra special!



 (in the form of job vouchers) ‘I promise to mow the lawn for one month’ or ‘I promise to tend the compost heap for one month’ or ‘I promise to rake the leaves for one month’.

Recycle flower created from beer can, plastic and glass bottles and waste paper stem spelling reduce-reuse-recycle over blue sky
  • Reduce … for children – maybe a promise not to pester for toys, trainers, or clothes for the next three months and to make use of what’s in the household already?
  • Recycle … maybe a promise to sort out cans, bottles, or newspapers for collections or for taking to a recycling centre for the next three months?
  • Or perhaps a promise to sort out (good quality) unwanted books from around the house; and sell them for example via green metropolis


Are you bothered with the “do we really need more stuff??”

  • Do a name drawing round and add another rule: each gift must be edible!
  • Or create your own rules.
  • Or each bring a food item for the Festive celebration table.


  • Embroidered tea towels and pillowcases.
  • Stitch grub leaves in simple stitches to fancy up hand towels and face washers.



  • fresh bunches from your garden of… tied up with pretty fabric and a big bow, or pressed flowers framed, or glued to notepaper, cards, or a bookmark, will be sure to please.


Fermented edible flowers

Flowering potted plant.


  • A simple-to-make flowerpot that is great as a gift. You will need – unglazed clay (terracotta) flowerpot, acrylic paint, paintbrushes.
  • Optional: A pack of organic seeds or potting soil and a young plant.
  • Optional: recycled paper and ribbon to wrap the plant pot.
  • Using paints, decorate a clay plant pot.
  • Butterflies, plants, or polka dots or hearts are nice, simple decorations.
  • If you will be adding a plant to the flowerpot, a painting of that plant is a nice touch.
  • Let it dry completely.
  • Optional: fill the plant pot with potting soil and plant the seed of a fast-growing flower (like marigolds) or put in a small plant (herbs like chives are a nice choice). 

FABRIC AND PAPER Covered empty books (journals)


  • Homemade fermented goodies add a level of sophistication …
  • Fermentation is not just about gut-loving probiotic food. It is about empowering and inspiring people.
  • And if we can empower you to make your own, then we are making our community a better place.
  • We will do so by exchanging a culture of community.


  • As an alternative to buying for all, throw everyone’s names into a hat and pick just one for whom to find the perfect gift.
  • Be creative with your gift-giving. 
  • If making your gift isn’t an option due to your lack of artistic skill, remember you could always give someone the gift of time.
  • Offering to babysit your sister’s children while they spend the day shopping for gifts or helping a good friend prepare meals for a holiday party is a very generous gift that costs little more than time



  • Use your imagination to present your homemade gifts in baskets (check out thrift shops, and decorate), decorated jars for cookies and treats, shells for small soaps, decorated clay pots or painted tins for plant cuttings and herbs.
  • Wrap your gift in something useful – tea towel, scarf, chamois / microfibre cleaning cloth or pillowcase and shopping bags that will be appreciated for itself.
  • Place several small gifts in an attractive little basket that will have future decorative uses.
  • Consider using  blueprints, wallpaper and fabric scraps, brown paper, newspaper, butchers paper (that the children can help decorate), graph paper, rice paper, children’s drawings, old maps, old sheet music, A3 or A4 paper (cut out the used print or paint or glue pictures if printed both sides, get your children to draw on one side) for attractive effects.
  • Use ribbon, string, rope, wool, instead of sticky tape.
  • Decorate with sprigs from the garden.
  • Consider adding edging, patches, buttons, draw-ties, or re-purpose other adornments from around the home.


Give a gift in a gift: 

  • A scarf with matching sash ribbon, a set of canisters, a towel, a sheet, a cup or mug, a hat or box, or even a shirt all holds gifts without contributing to landfill problems. Visit a garage / yard sale or thrift store for more container ideas.
  • Make your own gift boxes from cereal and tissue boxes.
  • Juice cartons or juice boxes.
  • These make interesting containers if you’re giving small size gifts (vouchers or promises in the juice boxes) or bigger gifts.
  • Have the kids take any recycled board or paper and glue to decorate the cartons with a solid colour and then they can cut out hearts, holly, or flowers etc.
  • Or they can glue on buttons or glitter or anything you have around the house to personalize it for that special person!


  • For some fun bags, start cutting up some of that worn out clothing and sewing it together into rectangular pieces.
  • You choose the size bags you want and then sew up the fabric on three sides like a pillowcase.
  • 18 inches by 24 inches is useful for giving everything from clothing to books.
  • Turn right side out put in a gift and tie at the top with some ribbon or yarn.
  • After you give the gift, they can return the bag and you wash, fold and put away until the next occasion.


  •  filled with hand-written letters of all your favourite memories.

GOURDS for useful and decorative objects from the garden.

GARDEN miniature, of herbs in assorted pots.



  • Many ideas for things start from items you might see here at or in magazines or elsewhere, add your own touch, and you have an original gift.

HAND MASSAGE The loving touch!

  • Hand and Body butter 2 oz Cocoa Butter,
  • 1 oz Olive Oil,1 oz Coconut Oil,
  • 2 oz Shea Butter,
  • 1 oz Jojoba Oil,
  • 1 oz Beeswax (grated).
  • Melt all ingredients, and mix well, while cooling, if desired, add essential oil.
  • A drop or two of Rose Geranium Essential Oil is a nice addition.

HERB BUTTERS And INFUSED HONEY flavoursome gifts for the dedicated cook.

HAT crochet, fabric, knit, whatever is your thing.


With just a little work in the kitchen you can reap the many benefits of elegant hair in a gentle way without all the unnatural additives you will find in store-brand products + save money to boot!

HUGS gift box Get the children to help make a tiny box from scrap cardboard and gift wrap with ribbon etc.

Attach a gift tag which reads…

This is a very special gift
That you can never see
The reason it’s so special is
It’s just for you from me.
Whenever you are lonely
Or are ever feeling blue
You only must hold this gift
And know I’m hugging you.
You never can unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied
Just hold the box close to your heart
It’s filled with hugs inside.

HERBS freshly picked in bunches, dried, or pots. Make Bouquet Garnie bags containing parsley, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns tied up in scraps of muslin or gingham to flavour soups, stews, and casseroles.


HANKIES especially nice for an elderly friend tie a cake of homemade soap in a pretty bundle with a ribbon bow or roll a cake of soap in a handkerchief and tie with a pretty ribbon.


  • Cut out suitable pictures from old cards or use an old photograph of yourself (baby pictures are good to use, if you have some) and stick onto recycled paper to make a card.
  • Or else make a home-made card using your very own artwork (and verse, or quote).

HANDPRINT especially nice for Grandma’s.

Add the child’s handprint, name, date, and poem to a homemade card.

My Handprint
Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls
But everyday I’m growing big
And soon I’ll be very tall
Then all my little handprints
Will be hard to recall
So here’s a special handprint
Just so that you can say
this is how my fingers looked
when I placed them here today


IKEBANA arrangement.

  • There is no special formula for incense.
  • A variety of aromatic gums, resins, spices, organic essential oils, crushed herbs, and barks can be mixed or utilised separately to produce perfumed smoke when burnt.
  • Mix herbs and essential oils with a base (makko powder), which makes it combustible without chemicals.
  • Creating your own incense involves research, experimentation and trial and error.
  • But with the wonderful blends you end up creating, it’s well worth the effort.

IOU write out IOUs on recycled paper or card.
Offer gardening, seasonal meal prepared, day out at the library, museum, art exhibition, whatever takes the recipients fancy.
A destination celebration in a specific location naturally creates its own theme, whether it is an overnight zoo experience, a movie or destination of choice

IOU Concepts:

  • Service projects are fun and thoughtful: Consider hosting a service-related gathering where teens help a senior with home repairs, pack items for ill children in hospital or animal shelters (from donated items). 
  • Afterward, celebrating with some homemade snacks and enjoyable activities will top off the event.
  • A book or book series:  (Twilight, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter) could exchange gently used books as gifts or collect books and deliver to elderly or sick children.
  • An evening of visiting homes for a fun or fancy progressive dinner can be great fun.
  • Each family on the “route” sets up one course of the meal, with the end of the travel coming to a home with dessert and planned events or just some places to hang out. This works best with a smaller group.

Host a potluck meal: dance and white-elephant gift exchange.
White-elephants are re purposed presents that can be funny, useful, or completely ridiculous.
Fundraiser:  throw a party to raise money for many causes, whether it is for a school club, team, church, or local charity.
The fundraiser can be many different activities, but in the end, both the guests and the recipients of the funds benefit from the party.

  •  A movie marathon night with scads of organic popcorn, cookies and treats can be fun and informal. Movies can run in the background or be played in a party room or home media theatre.
  • Bowling for Dollars: Go bowling, set up teams and the winning teams get money to donate to a favourite local kids charity or children’s hospital.
Discover how to nurture your inner child, heal past wounds, and find new joy and energy in life.
And what better way to explore this journey than with a delightful journal that’s filled with prompts and space for self-reflection?
With its gorgeous design and user-friendly format, it’s perfect for newbie and experienced journalers alike.


JEWELLERY fun jewellery from seashells, pottery, beads, and found items from nature.

Make a bead neck garland.

JARS decorate empty jars with simple flower designs or colourful patterns in enamel paints.

Fill with homemade treats made with love

Make a memory jar Write out some of your best memories (a dozen or more) on small pieces of pretty paper.
Include things you’ve done together, favourite traditions, things done or said that made a difference to you, the best advice given to you.
Fold and put into a jar so they can be “munched on” over time.
A “best memory” note can also open dialogue in a strained relationship.
People are often surprised at your best memories of them.
You’ll be surprised at how much sharing these memories mean.


  • of every description are always pleasing.
  • Present two or three small jam jars (use baby food jars) in a basket.
  • To make jam jar covers, cut circles of colourful fabric saucer size.
  • Pink the edges and secure to top of jar with a small rubber band.
  • Finish with a thick coloured wool, raffia, string or twine and a bow and tie a personalized label or glue a label on the jar.
  • Journals

JUMPERS knitted from homespun wool.


KNITTED slippers or socks.

  • KITCHEN GIFTS from your pantry or stove will be well received.
  • Fermented goodness, preserves, vinegars, beverages, liquor, bitters, dehydrated food, tinctures, cakes, puddings, and pies are a few possibilities.

Kimchi a day keeps the doctor away!



  •  Hide “love notes” around the house.
  • Each note can have one reason on it that you love them. 
  • They will find some of the notes on Christmas Day, and the rest through the following week.

LIQUEUR in fancy bottles (lots of home-made recipes around for Tia Maria and others).


  • 1 cup organic coconut oil + 1 cup grated beeswax + 1/2 cup castor oil + fragrant oil of your choice (peppermint / lavender).
  • Place the coconut oil and the beeswax in a pan over hot water.
  • Stir until melted then add the castor oil.
  • Stir well to combine all the ingredients then add your fragrant oil drop by drop until the perfume you require.
  • Remove from the heat and pour into small containers or jars.
  • Before giving as a gift add a pressed and dried flower to the top of each lip gloss, replace the lid and wrap with rice paper.
  • Decorate each gift with a little of your personality.

Living off the Land

• As humans formed into families, or clans, tribes and nations, various social customs, arose and were maintained.

Food, shelter, and clothing were produced by one’s own family, and rarely bought and sold.

• In many places it was still true in the 20th century.

• Most places remember and revere their pioneers.

The existence of recipe books the pioneers bought with them to new settlements, from these and from later family and friends’ recipes over the years, this book of recipes is compiled or inspired by.

Food for love book cover - a journey of healthy eating

LAVENDER AND LACE dry lavender from the garden and make up handy bags and sachets from pretty scrap material with lace and ribbon trims.

  • LEMON SACHETS all you need is 2 cups lemon or orange peel (dried and cut into bits), 1 tablespoon bruised caraway seeds, 1 tablespoon bruised coriander seeds, plus a few drops of oil of lemon.
  • Mix and package in bags of muslin, gauze etc, decorated with ribbon.
  • Ready to keep a drawer fresh.
  • LEMON OIL is speedy to concoct and is great in the bath.
  • Swirl together 2 tablespoons glycerine, 1/4 cup Castor oil, 1 dropper oil of lavender, 1 dropper oil of rosemary and 1 dropper oil of lemon.
  • Pour into bottles of your choice with a ribbon around the neck, with a lemon sachet dangling from it.
  • A good source of materials is your local thrift stores.
  • Apart from the savings for your pocket and the environment, you are helping a deserving charity.
  • As well as avoiding the commercialism.
  • Choose garments that are cut straight and gathered rather than shaped or gored, although these can be used for small items.
  • Sale items (yes, thrift stores have sale bins as well!) are just perfect as you can cut around any holes, stains etc.
  • Any zips and buttons are bonuses and can be put away for future projects.
  • From a velvet or silk dress or skirt you could make cushions, pincushions, jewellery boxes, bags or patchwork items.
  • From adult dresses make herb pillows, aprons, place mats, patchwork articles, handbags, shopping bags, coat hanger covers.
  • Denim jeans make bags or peg bags.
  • Wool jumpers can be unpicked and knitted or crocheted into new gifts.
  • Make sure the garments you buy are not matted.
  • Wind the wool into hanks, wash and steam to remove crinkles.
  • From this wool you can make gloves, caps, bags, tea cosies, golf club covers, cushion covers.
  • These are just a few suggestions for starters, the possibilities are almost endless.


A daily mindfulness practice will lead to a more mindful approach to gift‐giving, so we do not drift into autopilot when buying.
It’s inevitable this will lead us to confront some fundamental uncomfortable truths about money.
Mindfulness helps to calm the mind and with a calm mind we make better decisions.

Miracle Morning

Maidenhair fern in hanging pot.

MARMALADE Honey 1 cup sliced citrus, 2 cups organic honey. Heat together until honey is runny. Take off the heat. Leave for an hour. Reheat, strain when honey is runny. Pour the still runny honey into a jar. (Honey will thicken as it cools). Keep honey in the fridge. Note: this honey will be runnier than it was before the citrus was added. It should last at least several weeks, and hopefully longer. Great for the special breakfast.

  • N NUTS organically grown, if you are fortunate enough to have a nut tree in your yard and place in a decorated jar, bag, or basket.
  • Nuts and seedpods glued to a lidded basket, or to a woven place mat to use as a wall hanging will be a unique gift. Arrange in a pleasing pattern filling in any gaps with smaller nuts, seeds, and grasses.
  • The bigger variety of material, the more interesting the result.
  • NIBBLE DISHES made from pottery or woven grasses – fill with treats
  • NO COST GIFTS lovingly crafted from homemade or recycled materials.
  • O ODDMENTS of fabric, ribbon etc for a craft basket.
  • ORANGE RINGS spiced and bottled.
  • OLIVES home grown and preserved.
  • Old towels for new tea cosies and other household uses.

Here are a collection of old-timer recipes, including Oatmeal Soap, Bath Salts + Frozen Perfume

ODDMENTS of fabric can be cut into 15 cm by 15 cm (6 x 6 in) squares with pinking shears.
Place a dessertspoon of lavender in centre.
Gather up in your hand and secure with a rubber band and tie with a pretty ribbon.
Makes a lavender sachet to hang in a wardrobe or tuck into a drawer or handbag.


P PICNIC BASKET fully stocked and head for your nearest picnic spot and enjoy the day!

PHOTO FRAME insert a photo and decorate the frame. Write a message on the back of the frame.

PERFUMED herbal pillow.

Potpourri have always been a favourite and are apt to win difficult Grannies’ hearts.
This one will have her calling you the fave grandchild even if your boyfriend resembles Godzilla and belches over her pumpkin scones.

  • Early one morning gather 1 pint of rosemary leaves, 1-pint lavender leaves and flowers, 1 tablespoon powdered orris root, and 2 drops oil of rose geranium.
  • Place in a box to dry out, occasionally mixing, stuff into pretty glass jars, preferably with a cork stopper for a quick release of vapours.
  • POMANDER Pluck a small orange and gently stab it with a skewer so that the cloves can be inserted without aerating your thumbs.
  • Once completed, leave it in a dim spot to dry out but first sprinkle with 4 teaspoons orris root powder, 2 teaspoons allspice, 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon and 2 teaspoons powdered cloves. Decorate with ribbon and simply let Mum, Aunt or Grandma hang it for a great fragrance.

PAMPER and melt worries away with relaxing botanicals and other soothing stress busters!


Step 1:   Cut junk mail into small shreds, soak it in warm water for about 2 hours, and blend it in a blender.

Step 2:   Add small quantities of flowers, grass, and leaves for fun, colour, and texture.

Step3:   Spread it out on a flat, fine-holed, wire-mesh screen—use a rolling pin to flatten it.

Step 4:   Smear a tablespoon of corn-starch over the paper to increase its strength.

Step 5:   When it dries, you can use this paper as stationary, to decorate used boxes, or even to make Cards. (For an even prettier look, glue dried flowers on top of the paper).

Patchwork can be colourful for aprons, carry bags and bed quilts.

  • PENCIL HOLDER Rinse an empty can out and smooth away any sharp edges around the top.
  • Let the children decorate with cut out motifs or left-over scraps of material or found items from nature.
  • PENCIL STAND Sand the edges of a piece of scrap pine (14 x 6 cm is a handy size).
  • Rule a line down the centre and mark off the holes.
  • Carefully drill holes wide enough for pencils or pens to fit it.
  • Paint or decorate with the children’s help!
  • Planner

PLANT a tree that will last a lifetime.


QUICHE baked to your favourite recipe.

  • QUILTING place mats to serve your special dinner or breakfast.
  • Make a set of quilted place mats by cutting rectangles 30 cm by 40 cm (12 x 16 in).
  • Bind edges all around with bias binding or wide satin ribbon or turn edges under twice and machine stitch to finish.
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” – Burton Hills


“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” – Peg Bracken

“Peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day.”
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”
“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” – Janice Maeditere
“Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance—each beautiful, unique, and gone too soon.”
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” – Will Ferrell


  • R ROSE HONEY delicate flavour.
  • It’s much simpler to flavour honey than make jam.
  • Heat 1 cup honey until runny.
  • Add 1 cup fragrant rose petals (must be chemical free), white bit cut off.
  • Leave with lid on for two hours.
  • Heat with lid on until runny, strain, bottle- or repeat with more petals if it’s not fragrant enough.
  • RUG crochet or knit.
  • Crochet granny squares or knit squares to form a knee rug, or a larger rug for a chair or sofa.

Did you know wealthy romans used to bathe in saffron baths?
And rosewater, well, it bathes all the senses at once!
This delightful blend will add a little mystique to any dish – we add to our festive hampers, the perfect marriage with a jar or 2 of sauerkraut!


  •  Plan a surprise outing and put thought into favourite stops and a destination
  • S SUGAR AND SPICE Making potpourri and other scented delights is enjoyable, easy and doesn’t necessitate owning an old-fashioned cottage garden.
  • You can beg, borrow, or buy most of the aromatic flowers and leaves and with the addition of a pinch of spice, a little orris root powder and a few drops of essential oil, create a nose-twitching mixture.
  • Packaged colourfully and artistically you have a beautiful and unique gift to be cherished.
sauerkraut making
Festive Sauerkraut Making


Gifting pretty bottles of Gut-loving Festive Sauerkraut

SCENTED SACHET tie up dried lavender, jasmine, or orange blossom into small fabric squares to hang under the hot tap for a special bath!

  • SEEDS selection of seeds saved from your garden, in marked packets with comical sketch on packet.
  • SCENTED DELIGHTS Solid perfume – 1 2/3 pt. beeswax + 10 g (1/3 oz) each of lavender oil + oil of rose + oil of lemon. Melt the beeswax and then slowly pour the oils into whilst stirring.
  • Pour into small jars or small chocolate moulds or found moulds around the home, plastic lids etc. When the perfume blocks are solid take them out of the moulds, wrap in cloth and tie with ribbon. These perfumes are ideal for carrying or keeping in the drawer to scent clothes. try rubbing some on the corner of towels or drapes for a fresh fragrance.
  • 1/2 oz cocoa butter + 1/2 oz beeswax + 1 tablespoon glycerine + 1 tablespoon rosewater.
  • Melt the cocoa butter and beeswax slowly in a double boiler.
  • Remove from heat and add the glycerine and rosewater slowly, drop by drop, stirring all the time until the mix reaches room temperature and is the consistency of cream.
  • Now add several drops (let your nose be your guide) of one or more of the essential oils – calendula, sage, rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, thyme, lemon.
  • Store in a clean jar, can use as a deodorant or a solid fragrance for pulse points.

SPICE + all smelly things nice!

  • These recipes are simple to make yet hold so many uses. Add to pretty jars and label. Why not add a recipe book with tips on how to turn simple food to sensational?
  • Golden paste, Dukkah and Harissa is something every kitchen should hold.
  • Spice up the recipients pantry with pumpkin pie spice and Herbs de Provence


  • If you have lots of time, learn the guitar then write someone a song and play it for them.


  • This way, everyone gets a gift and feels the holiday joy, but you also only have to spend money on one person in your group (or children only) instead of everyone.
  • It will save you time, money and stress.
  • STRAWBERRY plants.
  • SCRAPBOOK PAGES Get everyone in the family to help make a few scrapbook pages to send, especially nice for Grandma’s. 
  • These could be made on standard friendly 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock and then covered with clear page protectors and put into a nice 3-ring binder.
  •  This way siblings from far away can send pages without having to match a particular scrapbook page size. Keep on sending pages for special celebrations. 
  • No wrapping, easy to ship, a surprise from each family involved!


TIME just spend time chatting and sharing time together.
Go through old photo albums together and reminisce.
At the end of the day curl up and read a book out loud to share.
Time is a key resource when it comes to gift-giving; you need to know someone or learn about them to know what might make them happy.
And time is valuable.
Benjamin Franklin was widely credited with the unforgettable line “time is money” in 1748 (although it’s been shown to have much earlier origins, perhaps even ancient Greece).
We can spend money and time, but where spending too much money might cause you crippling financial stress, spending a lot of time only enhances relationships – especially on children – by creating last memories.
Everyone thinks they are time-poor.
One tool I know that can really transform how much time I think I have is mindfulness.
Using mindfulness when I’m spending money means I make better decisions – no doubt about it

Traditions … Those little rituals passed down from generation to generation that help shape family by creating a sense of unity, warmth, and closeness.


  • Did you know that the wide variety of toys and books you have and see in shops everywhere haven’t always been available. 
  • Children from yesteryear received only a few toys each year – and yet considered themselves very happy.
  • Another big difference was due to the fact that there were no plastic toys because plastic had not been invented.

Back when our grandma’s were young, we had so much smaller Eco-footprints.

So they must have been doing something right.

The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.


TERRARIUM of selected tiny plants set in pebbles.


  • Japanese Tea Party: Hold a Japanese tea ceremony and teach children how to roll fruit and veggie sushi.

TEA a selection of various dried herbs suitable for tea-making.

A few years back, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow made knitting hip, but Wild Tea Cosies & Really Wild Tea Cosies takes the two-needed craft to a whole new level.

  • In both these fun and easy-to-follow books, knitting obsessive, Loani Prior, presents her wild and wacky tea cosy creations.
  • While initially, Prior’s soft art might seem complicated, her easy-to-follow patterns make her designs more than manageable.
  • These tea cosies are easy enough for knitters of even the most basic skill level to make and assemble.
  • You can produce works of art to impress your friends, give great gifts and yes, keep your tea warm!
  • Loani Prior is not just another knitter.
  • She intends to die with a stash of wool in her cupboard, bigger by far than every other woman’s. When Loani is not knitting for pleasure or gardening for solitude, she runs her own business.
  • She lives in Queensland, Australia and is adamant that a good pot of tea is a well dressed pot of tea.
  • From Loani Prior, author of the hugely successful Wild Tea Cosies, comes this entertaining, inspiring and easy-to-follow book featuring 20 even wilder knitted tea cosies.
  • Loani turns this functional, homely item into a fabulously creative knitted sculpture full of vibrant colour and humour, something that will bring joy as well as warmth to your daily cup of tea.

Really Wild Tea Cosies also provides instructions on how to make ten knitted and crocheted decorations, such as flowers, leaves and fruit, which can be used to embellish your tea cosy, or worn on a lapel or scarf.

Really Wild Tea Cosies By Loani Prior

In Wild Tea Cosies there’s Party Girl that resembles the fur of a pink manicured poodle and Sandwich, Anyone? which has knitted sandwiches with fillings for its crest.

* Twenty four sculptured designs inspired by coral reefs, gardens, geometric shapes and scrumptious food.
* Cosies knitted and crocheted from a most magnificent stash.
* Cosies knitted and crocheted in accessible eight-ply wool.
* Easy patterns with simple, straightforward instruction.
* Ideas for individualising each creating with fancy wools, feathers, buttons etc.
* Gorgeous photographs from all angles with design details.

Wild Tea Cosies By Loani Prior

Visit Loani Prior’s website
Grand Purl Baa
Queen of the (Wild) Tea Cosies



TAPESTRY cushions and wall hangings from leftover wool.

Tonics + Elixirs’


UNDERWEAR homemade from organic / recycled fibre or sew a pretty silk camisole and French knicker set.

  • make lavender umbrellas from small print fabric, lace, and ribbons.
  • Cut a circle the size of a dinner plate, fold in two and cut in half (makes two umbrellas).
  • Sew lace trim to right side of fabric on outer edge of one semi-circle.
  • Fold semi-circle, with right sides together, into a cone shape and sew seam leaving a small opening at the bottom.
  • Insert a pipe cleaner into the hole, leaving 22 cm (9in) protruding.
  • Secure chenille stick or pipe cleaner to base of cone shape with hand stitching.
  • Turn right side out and half fill with lavender.
  • Secure with rubber band, tie a ribbon bow to trim, and bend hook in top of chenille stick or pipe cleaner to form “umbrella”.

UNUSUAL potted plant – bromeliad or a Venus fly- trap, pitcher plant.


VINEGARS AND OILS make up herbal vinegars and organic salad oils in glass jars with sprigs of rosemary, tarragon, parsley, etc and season with garlic and peppercorns.

VIOLETS fresh, dried, or potted.



WINE home – brewed, in fancy bottle and personalized labels.

WIND CHIMES made from pottery discs, or anything recycled that takes your fancy.


X-TRAORDINARY homemade gifts are also extremely appreciated by their recipients because of the time, care and love taken in the making.



there’s some of you in every homemade gift, because of the pleasure in the making and the giving.


  • Make time for self-care
  • This season can be chaotic, with social plans, shopping, and family time stuffed into every spare moment you have.
  • Make sure you keep up with your regular mental health routine during this period, and set aside time for yourself to help cope with the extra stress.


ZANY hand printed organic T shirt.

ZESTY HERBS handpicked from the garden and turned into culinary delights – pesto, to accompany a fresh home baked loaf.

The nicest gifts are always those that have been handmade, fashioned by the hands of the giver and full of warm vibrations.
Making your own need not be expensive or difficult.
It just requires imagination and a little skill.
The varied ideas we have included here should start you on the absorbing and productive path.
Please feel free to weigh in with more.

  • It is my hope I can bring a little peace, love, happiness & tranquillity and inspire you to believe in the magic of your dreams & to never give up.
  • I create from my heart with love.
  • May the energy from each piece keep flowing to you! 
  • I am inspired by the beauty and diversity of Nature and of, Love and Life itself.

Love & bacteria, Xo,

Christmas table
Let the celebration begin!
Thierry, I love you.. you are my greatest gift…so grateful Xo

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