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With a little effort and imagination you can make up some very personal yet economical gifts. 

Choose a suitable basket, box or container, then select small, useful items to put into the container.

For someone with a sweet tooth you could perhaps include a jar of honey, biscuits (cookies), cakes or sweets (home made would be extra special), chocolate, candied fruit etc. etc.

For a needlewoman, tape measure, needles, silks, cottons, pins, buttons, press studs, hooks and eyes, ribbon, elastic etc. etc.

For elderly people, such items as writing paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, stamps etc. are usually most welcome or tea bags, jam, canned foods etc.

Mums could be given soap, perfume, face flannels, make up sponges/brushes, cotton wool buds, nail varnish, lipstick¸ cleanser, perfumed candles, essential oils etc., etc.,

Dads after shave, soap, toiletries, tooth brush, face cloth etc. etc. or, alternatively, something connected to their hobbies whether it be fishing, gardening, sport.

Motorists - cleaning sponges, cloths, shampoo, polish, air fresheners etc. etc.

This idea can also be used for Easter, baby showers, house warming, wedding gifts etc.  One of the most useful presents I received when I got married was a box full of all different herbs and spices as it is very costly to start a collection from scratch.

Not only are the recipients delighted with the time and trouble taken but it is also something which can be bought gradually so spreading the cost over several months.

Best to ask before giving pets in a  basket though!!!!



  • To keep Christmas lights tangle free wrap them around a cardboard tube.  This also makes it much easier to dress the tree next time around.
  • If reusing gift bows (and you know we all do!), and they have become a bit squashed, revive with a hand held hair dryer.
  • Make gift tags out of old greetings cards.  Pinking shears are a very easy way decorate the edges.



Recipe for Christmas Ice Cream Bombe


3 oz (75g) luxury mixed fruit
2 oz (50g) finely chopped stem ginger
¼ pint (150ml) Fresh Double Cream
½ pint (300ml) ready made custard
½ teaspoon mixed spice
Brandy (optional)
Glace fruit and holly to decorate


Soak fruit and ginger in the brandy and leave overnight until plump. Another alcoholic drink or hot water can be used instead.

Whip the double cream until it makes soft peaks and then fold into the custard. Fold in the fruit (which has been drained) and spices.

Spoon the mixture into four ramekins or mini pudding shaped freezer proof pots. Freeze for at least six hours before serving.

Invert puddings onto dessert plate and decorate with glace fruit and holly.

This pudding is very light and can be made in advance of Christmas.  The cream can be substituted by Greek Yoghurt as an alternative.

There are many more pages on site with a Christmas theme such as -

Christmas Decorating Tips

Christmas recipes, presents and gifts 

Gifts to make and Buy

Tips on how to hang holiday / Christmas lights

Christmas and Party Recipes

Christmas decorations to make and buy

Christmas tree decorations from across the world






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