The current economic situation has decreed that flashy expensive gifts to everyone on your list may be in bad taste, especially if you’re giving something to someone who is not in the same financial position as you are. Gifts that you make yourself are always appreciated, both for the thought and the effort you’ve put into them. A box of hand-made truffles shows a lot more attention and love than a gift card from Best Buy.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a small list of simple handmade gifts that won’t take very much time to make or much effort to put together.
Spiced nuts are always a nice and easy present for a hostess or a colleague. They’re very simple, with just pecans, a few spices and some sugar, and an egg white. Here’s the recipe. If you put them into a pretty jar or a bowl and wrap a big bow around them, they make a great presentation. If you’re a knitter, I know that time is winding down to make things, but I love this big cowl that you can knit on circular needles and whip up fairly easily. At Purl Soho, they knit it up in cashmere, but you could use any soft yarn on big needles to make this quickly. I mentioned truffles which are a little bit of work, and you have to get your hands all chocolatey, but some people don’t mind that. You can add a variety of flavours including coffee or rum, and have an elegant little gift. If you can buy the little ruffled cups and a small box and roll the truffles in cocoa, it really ups the wow factor!One of the things that I make is gift tags. I collect interesting papers and especially love the ones I’ve gotten at Paperchase in London. I have a template for making hang-tags and have glued the paper to a piece of card-stock and made simple gift-tags. Someone mentioned making gift tags out of paint sample cards where they’d added plain paper to the back. It’s a good way to be green! Of course, one of the most thoughtful things to give is the gift of your time. You can make a little certificate or card with an evening of child care, a dinner delivery or an afternoon of running errands for someone. If you have a special talent like photography or sketching, you could give a gift certificate for a session. As children, many of us did this for our parents, but it’s still a great idea for someone who needs a hand. You can download certificates and fill them in with your own wording. Remember, a gift from the heart always trumps a gift from the mall!