Gift-Making for Grey Afternoons

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Much as I love nature, some afternoons are too chilly and grey to face outdoors at this time of year. It can be fun to spend time making Christmas presents indoors instead. Save money and spend time pottering productively, whether alone or with friends or family.

Make Toiletries


Oats, honey and salt plus a few fresh herbs or drops of aromatherapy oil can be turned into gorgeous beauty products. Use recycled packaging to create home spa kits. Or get melt-and-pour soap for easy gifts: decorate with herbs, spices, peel and dried flowers. It makes the kitchen smell brilliant too.

Make Cake


Christmas cake isn’t cheap but mini cakes can make cute and tasty gifts if you can afford the ingredients. Get creative with decoration – or use dehydrated orange slices and cinnamon sticks if your decorating skills are lacking. Again, your kitchen will smell great.

Make Jam, Cordial or Booze


Fruit plus sugar and lemon juice equals jam. Add water to turn it into cordial. Or put fruit and sugar in your base spirit of choice to create fruit spirits. They look lovely, turn cheap spirits into something more palatable and make a bottle go further.



I’m a big knitting fan. Use chunky wool if you lack patience and use ruffle yarn if you want something quick to knit that results in excellent floofy scarves.

Make Christmas Decorations


From pine cone reindeer to paper-paper-quilled snowflakes, paper chains to a nature advent calendar, making your own decorations saves buying plastic tat. Use them to decorate gifts too.

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