Friday, 6 December 2013

Countdown to Christmas Day 6: Home made gift ideas by Emma Hannigan plus a fabulous giveaway

Today Countdown to Christmas feature is a guest post by multi-talented author Emma Hannigan talking about how home made marvels make magnificent presents! 

Short of cash? Need something to keep the little ones busy on cold gloomy afternoon? Maybe you want to give your friends or colleagues something a little bit different this Christmas. Why not make some decorations and gifts! Everyone adores and appreciates the thought and effort of a hand crafted present.

I love to bake so every year I make trays of brownies mince pies and all the traditional fare. But if you’re not the next Nigella and don’t have a bakers touch, why not try a crafty option? If you’re not creatively inclined my third option might suit you better! 

I cannot stress how much friends appreciate a gift that’s unique. My pressies usually include a book but one of these ideas might appeal too!

Old fashioned paper chain people

Fold a piece of paper accordion style. Draw a person on the front flap, ensuring the hands reach the sides of the paper. Cut around the shape taking care not to cut the join at the hands. 

Open out and decorate with glitter stickers markers crayons cotton wool or anything you like! 

We love giving these as a little family gift. Make sure you have the right amount of people for the family and try to decorate the people as look-a-likes! If presented in a pretty festive tin or bag these make gorgeous gifts. 

Pomander balls

These are quite simply fruits, traditionally oranges studded with cloves! They create the most divine aroma and are a beautiful gift. 

I always make these with oranges but you could use any citrus fruit. 

Take one large orange and cross tie a ribbon around it. This looks pretty and enables you to hang it. 

Stud the entire orange with cloves.

Leave to dry in a cool dark place – I use the fridge, for at least two weeks. 

Your orange is now ready and won’t go mouldy. The spicy orangey scent it sends out is just gorgeous. They can be hung as a decoration or even placed in a wardrobe to make clothes smell nice! 

Travel sized wash bags

With more and more airlines charging for extra weight with baggage these days, it makes sense to have tiny sized versions of shampoo conditioner face cream etc. But how many of us ever get around to purchasing them? Supermarkets and many discount stores now sell small clear plastic wash bags with mini bottles inside. Last year I found these on sale and bought a few thinking they’d be handy gifts for travelling pals. 

I bought high quality products and was astonished by how many wash bags I was able to create from one normal sized bottle. I coupled them with inexpensive soft slippers and gave them as pressies. The beauty about this gift is that it can also be adapted for the men in your life. Add a couple of pumps of shaving gel to one of the bottles and substitute the slippers for comfy socks. 

I was amazed by how many delighted thank you’s I received!

Some excellent suggestions, thank you Emma.  I am going to try make a pomander ball so wish me luck as I'm not the most creative person in the world!

And thanks to Emma's lovely publicist Emily one lucky person can win a fabulous Christmas books hamper which includes a copy of Emma's Driving Home for ChristmasThe Proposal by Tasmina Perry, David Beckham book celebrating his 20 year football career and a copy of Mary Berry's Christmas Collection as seen in the photos below.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below, sorry this giveaway is open to UK and Ireland residents only. I'll be contacting the winner as soon as the giveaway finishes to obtain postal address to enable the parcel to be posted to you before Christmas.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    1. Pomander sounds lovely! Will keep the kids occupied too

    2. I'm not at all crafty, but I think even I could attempt the pomander ball. Thanks for the giveaway, Sharon!

    3. Simple but great ideas - we'll have a go at the pomander balls too, gorgeous aroma! Love to bake and have usually made lots by now but whole family been full of lergy for weeks so not had chance yet. Prepping a mini washbag with supplies is a fab idea too - and SO useful for impromptu stays in hospital too, or for people that go swimming or to a gym. Great prizes - got my fingers crossed! I'd snaffle Mary's book to get catching up on my festive goodies! :)

    4. I might try and make the paper chain people with the kids this weekend :)

    5. Thank you this is a great idea, lovely! xx

    6. I like the pomander idea, would make the place smell great!

    7. I tried the pomanders once years ago. Inspired to have another go :-) x

    8. as someone who used to never be off a plane for work those gifts would have come in a treat! I actually bought the travel sized transparent bottles and decanted my regular shampoo etc into them, to save space, but I would still have loved a wee gift of a special one and who doesn't love soft slippers!

    9. Think the travel size bag is ideal as lots of people are always going on small breaks and they are handy. I'd love to win!