Nature can help bring joy to the holiday season. You can create gifts to make money go further – and supplement your larder and decorations.
Brightly coloured rosehip syrup is packed with vitamin C and great to drizzle into champagne cocktails. This was a blend of raw and cooked rosehip syrup. The raw rosehips were packed in sugar and left to steep in the sunshine.
Sadly, the process was too slow for me to finish it in time so I separated off the raw syrup and boiled the remaining rosehips with more sugar. The result was sharp, sweet and delicious.
Nature provides crafting materials in abundance. From pine cones to twigs, holly to acorns and chestnut shells to feathers, create a natural crafting basket to provide rainy day fun.
Now the cold weather is here, seasonal spirits come into their own. Elderberry port is a lovely way to warm up after a nature walk – and makes a great gift.
If you missed out on foraging, you can still make your own spirits. Add orange peel, honey and spices to vodka; or try soaking unused coffee grounds in vodka for a real kick. Better yet if you still have foraged blackberries in the freezer: they make a great flavoured gin.
Use twigs, feathers and other natural finds to make your own festive decor. Keep an eye out for holly and other berries too – but it’s apparently unlucky to bring ivy indoors so you may want to opt for fake ivy if you’re superstitious. Avoid poisonous berries if you have children or pets.
Get planting bulbs too. They bring joy to springtime, and it’s also useful to have pretty pots of bulbs around to give as gifts.
The trees may be getting increasingly bare but nature still has many gifts to offer, no matter how cold it gets.