9th December: Tis the season to take short-cuts!

I appreciate that this blog is about making things at home but please be under no illusion that every meal, treat and gift enjoyed in this house has been lovingly made by yours truly. We, like pretty much everyone else enjoy fish fingers, baked beans, take-aways, shop-bought cakes...the list goes on. But it's just a matter of balance and I like to make things where and when I can, especially at this time of year. 

However, I don't make at the expense of my own sanity. Where it starts to get stressful, too tight on time or too complicated there's something wrong. I like cooking and making to be simple and fun with as much output from as little input as possible, hence the recipes I post here. None of them are especially time-consuming, complicated or expensive.

That said, sometimes baking or hand making a gift can feel like too much effort, be outside of the budget or just be too lengthy a chore for the time we have available. If you feel a bit like this, this post is for you!

Here are a few gift ideas that you could make with things you may have in the cupboard or with some items that are easy to pick-up in local shops.

Day 9 of the Woman Next Door's advent calendar. 

Day 9 of the Woman Next Door's advent calendar. 

A biscuit decorating kit from the Co-op presented in a festive tin. 

A biscuit decorating kit from the Co-op presented in a festive tin. 

Chocolate coins in a jam jar, tied with ribbon & a Christmas tag. 

Chocolate coins in a jam jar, tied with ribbon & a Christmas tag. 

Fruit basket with some festive decorations. 

Fruit basket with some festive decorations. 

A couple of jars with some packing & a Christmas decoration makes a lovely hamper. 

A couple of jars with some packing & a Christmas decoration makes a lovely hamper. 

Nothing tickle your fancy? What about...?

Socks n chocs: buy a nice pair of winter socks, roll-up one and stuff it into the toe of the other then fill with sweets or chocolate bars and finish with a Christmas bauble and gift tag. It's nicer than a selection box and looks a little more homemade.

Homemade hampers: use a basket, storage box, hessian bag for life or any container you choose to make-up your own themed hamper. The options are endless but what about hampers to make your own Mrs Claus cocktail, mulled wine, sweet treats or even a trifle?