Saving Tips for Christmas Cheer.
Christmas comes around so quickly every year and it is always a time when finances are under strain.
What with all the pre Christmas parties, then the Christmas cooking and all the cards and gifts that are bought. You need bucket loads of money. But we can lessen the strain and have some fun with the family by making a lot of the things we need at home and together as a family fun activity. I am only going to give you a few ideas here, you will come up with many more. This will be just enough to get you thinking of ways to engage your family in the process of making and giving gifts at Christmas.
Some Home Made Treats
If you give family gifts, a box of home made treats is always a welcome. Everybody has so many things these days that choosing appropriate gifts can be extremely difficult so why not make it more personal by making your own.
A variety of cookies look wonderful and can be decorated to present a real Christmas touch. Here is my favorite shortbread recipe which you can make in all shapes and add macadamias and chocolate to make a bit more special and they are so easy to make.
250 grams butter, chopped
i/3 cup rice flour
11/4 cups plain flour
2/3 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup chopped macadamias
Simply mix and knead all the ingredients together, flatten on a board with your hands, then cut into shapes. Bake in a moderately slow oven for about 45 minutes. To make chocolate shortbread, leave out the macadamias and add 1 tablespoon of good quality cocoa.
These are always a favorite and again are very easy to make.
- 250g pkt plain biscuits (e.g. Milk Coffee)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup walnuts, (optional) chopped
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 395g can condensed milk
Crush the biscuits by putting them inside a plastic bag and rolling with the rolling pin. Mix all the ingredients together, roll into balls then roll in extra coconut. How easy is that?
The children could decorate a box to put them in and make a card to match. They will look great on the Christmas table and delight everyone.
There are many sites on the internet which will give you more ideas. One of the best I have found for kids cooking is this one : Kidspot
Deco Mesh Christmas Wreaths:
Get into the spirit of Christmas right from your front door.
Create a welcoming Christmas wreath for your own door and perhaps one for a friend as well. They are easy to make and give a little extra Christmas life to your home. They are fun for families to work on together, collecting the materials, deciding on the colors and creating.
More Christmas Gifts to Make:
Bon Bons for the Christmas table: We all use toilet paper, so save the empty rolls till you have enough to make a bon bon fr each person coming to Christmas dinner. You will need two rolls for each. Use brightly colored Christmas Wrapping paper and ribbon to decorate. For the inside the kids could write out their favorite jokes and put one n each bon bon, also include a sweet treat and a small gift or a coin of any value. We no longer put cos in the pudding so this is a way to bring back the coin element which we all looked forward to. You can also add things like a bath cube a silver charm, a small pencil or a letter. Be creative.
Purchase some Green or red felt and some other colors to decorate. Draw a template of your Christmas stocking and cut out two pieces of felt for each stocking. Decorate these pieces before they are stitched together, by stitching on other cut out shapes of stars or bells or simply just patches of color. When happy with the look of your stocking, use blanket stitch to join the two pieces together. Use a contrasting colored thread and large stitches as you work around all but the opening at the top. These will look bright and cheery around the fire place. Fill them with some practical gifts such as pencils, textas, a small book, a pair of socks a piece of jewelry or some sweets. Make sure each child has identified their own stocking
The most important thing is for families to have fun. Christmas is not meant to be a time of big spending but of heartfelt giving from the heart. Give time and effort and have fun together.
I know a local family of 11 children and each year they all made all of their Christmas presents. It was lovely to see them all deeply engrossed in the creative process of making gifts for friends and family. Those children have all grown up and are now doing the same thing with their families.
Enjoy Christmas and enjoy being creative with your family.