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Homemade Christmas present ideas

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Rachel Manley Rachel Manley | 16:44 UK time, Tuesday, 23 November 2010

If you’re stuck for ideas of what to get your nearest and dearest this year, you can’t go far wrong with some homemade treats.  We all know that the taste of something homemade is far superior to anything bought in a shop, plus it really is the thought (and time and effort) that counts.

Why not make them really look the part with our gorgeous labels? Simply print them off and stick onto jars or thread with ribbon.  For packaging, I save any pretty boxes, gift bags or bits of ribbon from presents I receive and wash and save jars when I’ve eaten the contents. Plain cellophane bags are also excellent for packaging up biscuits or sweets. Just tie them with some festive ribbon.

Download our food labels

Download our exclusive gift tags and labels for your edible gifts.

Gift labels

Christmas labels

Preparation is key: now is the time to spend a weekend afternoon cooking up quantities of chutney or marmalade. It’s worth baking a batch or two of Sophie Dahl’s wicked peanut butter fudge and stashing it in the freezer - my family can’t get enough of it and have already requested some for Christmas! If you want to go all out, macaroons are sure to impress, try colouring them pretty pastel shades for a rainbow effect. The macaroon shells can be frozen and filled a day or two before Christmas, they actually improve when left to chill in the fridge overnight.

Pretty pastel macaroons are sure to impress

Get the children involved by baking a batch of our easy Christmas biscuits and letting them loose with the icing - they’ll love helping out in the kitchen and grandparents and teachers will appreciate their ‘creations’. Our Christmas baking recipe collection is full of child-friendly recipes.

Our Christmas biscuits are really easy to bake with children

While cakes and biscuits are nearly always a winner, it’s worth thinking about the tastes of your recipients. For cheese lovers, how about a jar of onion marmalade or apple chutney? You can pair it with a wedge of cheese and some oatcakes, or even better, a loaf of homemade bread.

Make homemade chutney look extra special with some ribbon and one of our gift tags

If they enjoy a tipple, how about a mulled wine kit? Package a bottle of red wine, an orange studded with cloves and some cinnamon sticks with a handwritten recipe for mulled (or even better, this mulling syrup from BBC Good Food.)

Or buy the ingredients for a favourite cocktail and wrap them up with a written recipe. (Check out our huge selection of cocktail recipes for inspiration.) Top of my list this year is a batch of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s blackcurrant liqueur (view the recipe here). I’ve successfully made this into a rather delicious blackberry liqueur and now that my stash is gone, I’ll be making it with frozen supermarket fruit (try a summer fruits or fruits of the forest mixture). It makes a lovely fizzy cocktail, so you could pair it with a bottle of champagne for an extra-special present.

For more inspiration, view our collection of homemade Christmas present recipes.

What will you be making this year and which homemade Christmas presents go down a treat in your house?

Rachel Manley works on the BBC Food website and loves giving homemade Christmas presents.


  • Comment number 1.

    One year we made golden plum jam and gave that away, everyone was super stoked. This past weekend we made some stained glass cookies in a snow globe and I think we're going to make a bunch of that this year to give away to our son's friends in preschool.

    Foodie gifts are my favorite.

    Damaris Palmer

  • Comment number 2.

    This year we don't have the spare cash to do pressies for everyone. So we are making mince pies and shortbread and will be giving them as presents instead. We are buying an ingredient a week so that we can spread the cost. They will be presented in bag of greaseproof paper and be tied up with little mini scarves that I will macramae with left over wool.

  • Comment number 3.

    Made a gingerbread house a couple of years ago for a friends kids. They loved it! This year its marzipan fruits, chutneys, plum jam, fudge and jewellry from re-cycled old beads or buttons. Dont throw away old jeans, they make fab patchwork cushion covers!

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Many of our messageboard regulars are hard at work in the run up to Christmas making edible gifts to give to loved ones. There are some great ideas on the messageboard this year and I’ve picked out a few highlights to share here:

    Capt-Lightning: Friends and family will get a selection eg. marrow chutney, courgette relish, wild raspberry jam, piccalilli, rowan jelly... I design and print the labels - usually a bit 'humorous' - or just plain silly - eg. a bunch of flowers with the slogan "Pick a Lily"…. I'd better print a few more labels. I dread to think what some people must think when they see a picture of a snail with "Slow Gin" or a line of raspberries in front of a 'Stop' sign - that's A Raspberry jam!

    DotCom aka Sweetpea: I made some mincemeat at the weekend, I'm going to make some mince pies this weekend and if they are any good I shall make some more nearer Christmas and will boxes of them to my friends, just need to source some nice gift boxes.

    emwilk: Last year, I made five hampers for different people. All included: vanilla sugar (in some cheapo sugar shakes I found at JTF!), chilli oil in a pretty swing top bottle, shortbread in a cute little bag, honeycomb chunks in similar little bags, plastic teaspoons (bought off ebay for a quid!) dipped in milk, dark and white chocolate (one of each) and a shop-bought bottle of wine. I found scraps of card and cut them into tags for each of the homemade items, wrote a quick message (eg "Chilli Oil - HOT HOT HOT! Drizzle over pizza or use in salad dressing for a spicy kick") and tied them on with bits of twine type stuff!

    irishcountry-cousin: Last year I did lots of these mixes-in-a-jar recipes and gave them a seasonal twist with an added wooden spoon and some nice ribbon. They went down very well:

    marknamanda: I make food gifts every year for my friends, in the past I have made sloe gin, marmalade, Delia's Christmas chutney, small Christmas cakes and puddings, chilli jam and a recipe for chilli prawns and biscuits. This year I am going to make cake pops.

    Cake pops:

    Joanbunting: I make jams, chutneys, pickles etc throughout the year and also dry herbs and I make vinegar from the small amount of left-over red wine we have, to flavour with herbs or fruit. These make great gifts but quite honestly I don't usually bother with witty labels just Joan's Homemade…. whatever, printed on the computer with suggestions for use or use-by as appropriate. I put on fabric covers. I add some mini mincepies and for local friends pack them into various assorted containers collected during the year, including plant pots for fellow gardeners. This year for friends from far I am planning postage friendly boxes containing seasoning. Piment d'Espalette (home-grown, dried and powdered), herbes de Provence, vanilla pods (a great buy in our local market recently) seasoned local salt (red wine is wonderful) dried wild mushrooms and maybe bouquets garnie or culinary lavender with, for my best friends, home-made truffle oil in little bottles.

    Go to our Christmas Food messageboard for more inspiration:

  • Comment number 6.

    Making sloe gin is very simple and is a fabulous gift when presented in small dessert wine bottles. I've been doing this for many years and freinds and family have told me they look forward to the next gift.

    It is too late to produce a batch this year so how about creating a personalised christmas hampers that contain things you know people will appreciate - they can make the gifts of home made preserves and pickles look fantastic.

  • Comment number 7.

    We made Marshmallow, turkish delight and crystalised fruit

  • Comment number 8.

    Can BBC Food blog provide the recipe for the stained-glass window cookies in this picture (half-way down) ? They look great.

  • Comment number 9.

    I love seeing articles about homemade Christmas presents. I don't think that Christmas presents need to be store bought especially when gift giving to extended family and friends. If you take a look at then you will find many Christmas crafts that would make great homemade gifts.


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