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Homemade Christmas gifts that anyone (even me!) can make

When I was a kid at playschool and primary school, every Christmas, Father's Day or National Whatever Day, teachers would pressgang their wide-eyed pupils into constructing some Blue Peter-style horror gift to take home to mum or dad. Desk tidies made of toilet roll tubes? Check. Embroidered needle cases? Check. It all got a bit much for my poor old ma: one day after being doorstepped with my seven year old self's latest creation, she  said: "That's nice, but next time can't you buy me something?" Harsh, mum, harsh.

These days mum has come around to the joys of homemade presents (maybe because the ones I make aren't made of toilet roll tubes any more. Equally, it might be because they contain alcohol. I'm not going to press her on that.) I'm no craft genius, so today I'm sharing a few ideas for gifts that are super easy to make and delicious to enjoy.

Flavoured gins and vodkas
I make these every year - some I give away, some I keep! You can flavour your gin with almost anything: choose a fruit, pop it in a bottle of gin or vodka, and leave for a few weeks. After everything's suitably mixed, just strain out the fruit, add sugar to taste, and you're done. Most gins and vodkas are vegan, as are most fruit (watch out for that tricky shellac on your citrus though! Ugh.)

I've made flavoured vodkas with blackberries, damsons, clementines, lychees, quinces, cranberries... I reckon you could use almost any fruit (don't try avocado or banana, that would be wrong!)

Here are a few simple recipes to get you started:

Christmas jams and fruit butters
If you've never made jam before, don't be intimidated - it's not actually that hard! If you've made jam before, you'll know the effort to deliciousness ratio is definitely worth a go at Christmas. It's basically just boiling up some fruit and sugar, and sticking it in a jar. (Here's the ever-wise Delia on how to do it right.) I love making dark chocolate and pear jam for my parents, and some plum and damson jam for, well, me! Opening up a jar on Christmas morning for your toast feels cosy and just right.

Seasonal biscuits
I remember my nan always bringing out cartwheel-sized tins of biscuits at Christmas. The foil! The chocolate laid like spackle! The fighting over the best ones with my brother! Biscuits are definitely Christmas. Sadly, there aren't many vegan options for family boxes of biscuits out there, so every now again I try and make my own, piling them into a pretty gift box from the stationery shop (Paperchase often have some good ones and they're very good for reusing.)

Get fancy with truffles
Christmas is a time for eating too much chocolate. May I suggest making some truffles? If that sounds like it's bit too hectic, trust me - it's a doozy. If you can put one bowl over a pan of boiling water, then you've done the hardest part of the whole thing. Melt some vegan chocolate with some non-dairy cream, and you're away. Actually, I'm lying to you - the hardest part of the whole thing is giving the truffles away...

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  1. I love craft projects though never feel they are quite right for presents - but food is always a great present. I had to look at every truffle recipe and the pear and chocolate spread - that sounds really good! And I am impressed you always make fruit liquors. Such a nice drop to have in your cupboard.

  2. Christmas Vodka is now on my to do list now! Thanks for sharing this blog post, you shared a number of recipes that I was not aware of


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