Life, Simply Led

Gifts From the Larder – Festive Friday!

This week I have been writing a few present lists and thinking what to give to family and friends. Things around here have been fairly frugal as we fight our way through recession so I am looking for small gifts which say ‘we love you’ and show some effort but which do not cost the earth! I’ve also been clearing out the freezer ready for the big cookathon which means I have been jam making to use up all the frozen fruit I had in large containers waiting to be given the Bob Marley treatment!

Homemade gifts always go down well and a hamper filled with things we have cooked and made usually guarantees a smile! Some of these can be made well in advance and just prettied up for packing, others need making and then delivering pretty sharpish.

Many of  the recipes for cooked delicacies listed below will be appearing over on Life is Delicous over the next few weeks if they haven’t already appeared here! Obviously people won’t get everything on this list, I will pick and mix…and taste a bit as I do!

Make Ahead Hamper Goodies

A jar of chutney (Pear and Walnut, Apple, Christmas Spiced Plum) * Pâté (Stilton, Port and Walnut – Frozen and then defrosted just before delivery) * A jar of jam (blackberry and apple, raspberry, damson, plum)* A jar of clementine curd * Oven roasted tomatoes *  Christmas Pudding * Mince Pies *  Christmas Cake * Yule log *  Hot chocolate mix

Make and Deliver Sharpish

Mighty Chocolate Muffins * Cinder Toffee (Home made Crunchie) * Chocolate Truffles * Cheese Palmiers * Grissini * Chocolate Fudge/Boozy Fudge * Boozy Christmas Brownies * Meringue Snowmen *  Stained Glass Window Cookies * Gingerbread Angels/Snowmen/Father Christmas

No hamper would be complete without Crackers! Crackers are so satisfying to make with children because they use up saved bits and bobs very nicely, they are easy peasy and they look fab.

For a basic cracker all you need is 2 empty toilet tubes, some crêpe paper, some saved ribbon, 2 elastic bands, glue, sticky tape and a needle.

Home Made Christmas Crackers

Cover the toilet tubes with glue (glue sticks work better here than brushing on PVA as crêpe paper has a horrible tendency to turn to mush in children’s hands. Putting the glue onto the tubes also helps prevent a crêpey disaster!). Holding both tubes carefully roll them up in the crepe paper. Pop in your gift, joke and paper hat, twist the ends and secure with elastic bands.

To make cracking the crackers easier we have found that puncturing the crepe paper with a needle where the tubes join gives it a helping hand and avoids a tug of war over the Christmas table!

Home made Christmas Crackers

Now all you have to do is decorate it. We usually put a circle of ribbon around the join and sellotape it at the back (don’t stick it on or you will undo all your good work with the needle!).You can decorate it with anything you have to hand. We always have stickers and confetti around as well as glitter glue and tinsel because I stock up when the shops are selling things off in January!

Home Made Christmas Crackers

A cracker wouldn’t be a cracker without a silly hat inside, a joke and a little gift. One good idea for these crackers is to make tissue paper hats and then pop in the things to decorate it with as the gift!

Homemade Christmas Crackers

To make the hats fold a piece of tissue paper in half, measure a 30 cm length (the length of a school ruler and when unfolded it will give you 60cm which goes nicely around a head. Make them a little smaller if you have very little ones or they will drop over their eyes!). Now cut a wavy or pointy edge to make it look like a crown. Stick the loose edge together.

Of course, you need a good supply of corny jokes. We rely quite heavily on the Denis the Menace Joke Book and the Corny Jokes for Kids website. My 5year old particularly enjoys ‘Why did the Chicken cross the road?’ jokes at the moment. As this is the fourth time round for me they are growing a little stale. I never tire of the donkey joke though.

Q: ‘What do you call a donkey with 3 legs?’

A: ‘A wonky!’

Hilarious no?

You can buy cracker bangs to go inside your glorious home made offerings but we find that shouting ‘BANG’ very loudly does the trick and makes everyone laugh, a lot!

Once you have got the hang of rolling crêpe paper around loo rolls the only limit is your imagination. We will be making these glamorous crackers as presents for adults and we will be popping a home-made chocolate truffle inside each one.

Making your own Christmas Crackers

They work very well as decorations too!

Christmas Crackers

 

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10 Comments

  1. I can’t tell you how excited I am by Festive Friday! A lovely post – we’ll definitely be making crackers this year and for next year I think hampers could be a great idea, especially for couples who seem to have everything. I’ll be popping back with my notebook later to see what other ideas are linked up.

  2. I love putting together a hamper as a present – so much cheaper than the pre-packed ones and more relevant to your recipient. I read that Kate Windsor will be making jam as Christmas gifts to her in-laws this year.

  3. I made my in-laws a hamper last year for Christmas. Can’t tell you how much fun I had doing it. Some of it was home-made and some bought (like coffee and cheeses). I also love the idea of home-made presents. Now to convince my kids…..

  4. I think I’m going to put some hampers together for my in laws. They’re all quite hard to buy for and I was struggling to think of things. A hamper will be a lovely gift and can be given to the whole family so I can organise one gift instead of 5 or 6 per family!

  5. I love the idea of saying BANG when the cracker is pulled – definitely going to have a go doing this and perhaps even sell the odd cracker (or give them away with purchases) on a stall I’m doing at my 10 year old’s winter fair.

    • It can get very silly when you have to make the bang yourself! I have popped the link you left in your comment on to the linky…I hope that is OK. I’ve also linked to the post rather than to the home page of your blog so that people can find it easily. :-)

  6. Those look great. x

  7. *Please* can I come and live with you?

  8. oooh loving your crackers. We ( well I ) am looking forward to doing some Christmas Crafts this week! I added the badge to my post from last week too :-)

  9. Yay! Glad it’s back.I’m only doing hampers this year.I got jams, jellies, chutneys and Christmas pudding all ready.Planning lots more yummy things too.I’ll shall write a post this week.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  5. VOUTIQUE | VOUTIQUE’s Crafty Christmas Ideas 1: Perfect Present Wrapping - [...] out Thinly Spread’s – Gift’s From The Lader basic cracker making tutorial for more tips or Kirstie Allsopp’s step …

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