I am normally the first person running to M&S for wrapping paper and cards for Christmas (and for every other occasion if I’m honest as they are lovely) but this year I fancied a change.
Actually if I’m being honest, it was less about wanting a change and more about looking at so many lovely ideas on Instagram and wanting to have a go myself.
When I try and take inspiration from others (essentially copy!) I usually find my efforts end up less than disappointing and I feel more of a failure than before I started, however I think this year I could have done Kirstie Allsopp proud!
I’m an avid Instagrammer (and Instastalker) and have been impressed by the lovely creative ideas people have shared this year. So here are some of the things I’ve tried this year.
I decided to dispense with my usual rolls of wrap and bows. Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely but I decided to go back to basics for wrapping family gifts. I took inspiration from @huntersandheels and I bought some brown paper and twine from Hobbycraft and some fresh Eucalyptus from a local florist. I then wrapped my gifts with brown paper, tied with the twine and decorated with eucalyptus. I did find on larger gifts that I needed two big sprigs of eucalyptus to make them look pretty rather than just a bit beige.
Wrap: £2 for 8 metres from Hobby Craft
Twine: £2.70 for 110 metres from Hobby Craft
Kraft Gift Tags: £1 for 8 from Hobby Craft
Euclyptus: £5 for a big bunch
This is the first year I’ve had to think about Christmas gifts for Harry’s Nursery Team. So I took inspiration from the lovely Emma Taylor @emmataylormade and chose a nail polish for each staff member. I then wrapped them in paper and downloaded “for your mistle-toes” gift tags for free from Pinterest. They look super cute and I hope they like them (photo credit @emmataylormade).
For family and friend gifts, I usually pick a theme. This year my theme was chocolates and wine so everyone has a yummy parcel to open on Christmas morning. Last year I did initial candles from M&S (they still sell these and they are lovely) and posh reed diffusers and the year before, I made up parcels with homemade red onion chutney, apricot jam and biscotti (all so easy to make).
I’ve not gone mad on presents for Ben and Harry this year but will do a separate blog post about those gifts.
I have always wanted to make my own wreath and found a local Sheffield Florist (Flourish in Crookes) that was hosting an evening where you could make your own wreath. It was £35 for a two hour session including all your equipment. It was fantastic as there was a range of trimmings such as cinnamon sticks, spray painted fruit, baubles, dried fruits and ribbons. Honestly I had no idea where to start but it was so fun. I went with my Dad and it was a lovely evening where we got to spend some quality time together. We now have a lovely fresh wreath hanging on our front door and I definitely have the confidence to give it a go myself next year.
We’ve been to a few Christmas parties already and I wanted to make something different. I found a recipe on Instagram for Laughing Cow cheese and spinach parcels. They were so easy to make and delicious too. We took them to a party last weekend and they were all eaten before I got to heat them up! Total hit from me! Here’s the recipe: http://allthatimeating.co.uk/blog/2016/01/16/spinach-and-cheese-vegetarian-sausage-rolls-with-the-laughing-cow/
We always have a go at our own mince pies and honestly they are always a bit crap but this year I’ve tried a new Port and Brandy mincemeat mix from Morrisons which was really tasty so a definite thumbs up from me (even though they are slightly burnt – ooops!)
Christmas cards…well I shouldn’t really call these homemade, but I have personalised cards for family. We took a great photo of Harry in a mini santa sleigh when we went to choose our Christmas tree. It’s a great photo so I used that for the design and created one for Grandparents, Parents and siblings. Next year I may have a go at making my own (perhaps I better not get carried away!)
Christmas Eve Boxes
Last year we started a Christmas Eve Box tradition. I think this could easily go OTT so we are keeping it simple and in the spirit it is intended. So Harry’s Christmas Eve box includes:
– PJ’s (these are flannel red and blue check pj’s that we got 1/2 price in the John Lewis sale last year).
– Santa and Rudolph plate. We had this made last year and will keep it forever.
– The Night Before Christmas and Santa Sleigh Comes to Sheffield books.
– Reindeer food made with oats and some glitter
– Chocolate coins
The box we keep everything in is a gift box from Card Factory which cost us about £5.
So there it is – my little homemade Christmas guide. Sorry for the ramblings, it’s hard to do homemade when you work long hours but I have really enjoyed giving it a go this year.
Thank you to all of the people who inspired me with their ideas.