eight eco friendly Christmas gift ideas

  

local honey– use as a face wash and natural exfoliant, stirred into your morning chai, or drizzled over toast

box of homemade biscuits (recipe below)

gift tag card made up from a dried pressed flower

lunch date voucher- favourite packed picnic lunch

giant gingerbread person in a crocheted pocket

jar of homemade almond pesto

gift wrapping- I’ve talked about using old maps as wrapping paper before. This particular one was gold, as I had found an unwanted old atlas on the street that someone had lazily put out there. At first I was dismayed at the thought of it sitting out there unwanted and unloved, getting rain damaged. We certainly didn’t need another atlas… then I remembered wrapping paper. Sure it was a bit sad that I was cutting into this large beautiful book, but I was certainly better than just going in the recycling bin which is where it was headed. Team it up with some wool to hold the folding in place, and no tape is necessary.

For more wrapping ideas, have a look at this rather awesome site on furoshiki, other wise known as the Japanese art of fabric gift wrapping.

(For last years 12 eco friendly Christmas gift ideas, see here.)

Coconut Strawberry Hearts

250g softened butter

1 cup (220g) sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp coconut essence

1 beaten egg

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

3 1/2 cups (525g) plain flour

strawberry jam

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until pale. Add vanilla, coconut essence and egg, then mix through rest of ingredients. Lightly knead biscuit dough and roll between two sheets of baking paper to about 5mm. Pop into the fridge for an hour or so until firm, and cut out to shapes. If the dough comes back to room temperature while you are still cutting, being tricky to handle, just pop it back into the fridge for a bit.

Bake at 170C for approximately 15-20 mins, a very light golden colour. Allow to cool and then add half a teaspoon of strawberry jam in between the two biscuits.

Eat two immediately to see if they are ok to gift. Yep? Ok, should be good to go.

For a similar recipe see Coconut Jam Drops.

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12 eco friendly Christmas gift ideas

We seem to be heading towards the pointy end of the year and with that usually comes a little gift giving. I love making or giving something that I know can either be consumed, passed on, recycled, is environmentally friendly or upcycled in some way. In giving gifts like this though, you usually have to think a little bit before hand. So no shopping on Christmas Eve for me. (Anyway, I would rather be eating my 10th rum ball and reading Christmas bed time stories to The Monkeys.)

So a few rehashed ideas, in a listy form.

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  Preserves for everyone. Jamsmarmalades, sweet chilli sauce and chutneys.  You can make them well ahead of time and easy thing to pop in a little food hamper or given singularly.

Idea: attach an antique teaspoon with some string to the side.

 

 Gnome fairies as a gift or even Christmas decoration. How to make them and where to buy their little wooden bodies here.

A plate of various biscuits for Grandma Esme and Uncle Pollywaffle?

Chocolate Honey Biscuits, Lemon Vanilla StarsAnzac BiscuitsChewy Coconut BiscuitsCustard Biscuits  the list is endless. Make them crisper and they will keep longer.

Idea: A plate of biscotti and some beautiful fairtrade tea.

Buy a plate or dish second hand from your local op-shop/thrift shop/charity shop. Beautiful one off antique ones can bought for usually just a couple of dollars.

An afternoon outing, exploring your local botanical gardens or national park with a picnic? Make an IOU card. Can be used for any ages.

A visit to the local zoo for your nephew Buster? A present doesn’t have to be a ‘thing’ it can be an experience.

maybe a Keep Cup for the coffee fiend from work? No more annoying mounting up disposable coffee cups in the bin.

Where to buy some Soap Nuts for Aunt Green Pants and what on earth they are?

Some bubbles for the triplet girls- Aoli, Bellini, and Chia and how to make your own.

Lots of scraps of fabric? Get quilting. There is probably a beautiful new baby that could use a little quilted change mat. Or maybe some new oven mits for the kind lady down the road who keeps baking fabulous brownies and leaving them on your door step.

Some different ideas for wrapping some of those gifts. Gift wrapping doesn’t have to be the conventional rip it up kind.

…and perhaps a card to go with it?

Chocolate wrapping cards. There’s a damn good reason to go buy some of that fairtrade chocolate you saw on special.

or maybe just a simple gift tag?…

Gift tags can made from old cards, cereal boxes, biscuit boxes or just a beautiful old photo.

Lots of possibilities… now go have fun creating and giving.

Chocolate cards

(I’m going to stick with the gift theme for another post.)

This is a household that consumes rather a lot of chocolate. Not any old chocolate, but still vast quantities of the dark and luscious food of the gods. With that large consumption, comes wrappers. A lot of them.

So with all those wrappers accumulating, I started to collect them and turn them into things. The chocolate of choice that we generally buy is Whittakers, and the wrapping of it really is lovely to begin with, dark and gold with a lovely picture. First came the birthday card and then came the wrapping paper.

For the birthday cards, most people haven’t even realised it was once a chocolate wrapper. I match it with a couple of other coloured papers and card, then stick it down. For the wrappers, they are all just stuck together to make whatever size I need.

I really love beautiful wrapping paper, but hate to see it being ripped and torn as a present is opened. I either see it as part of the present itself or like to see it as something that can be more easily discarded. I was always one of those annoying kids who carefully peeled back the tape on a present, not ripping and then gently refolding the paper for another use. People would go to sleep while waiting to see their gift unwrapped.

I hope people don’t think I’m just being cheap when I give it. As I really do think it looks good and it’s something to do with all those wrappers….I could cut back a bit I guess on the buying and consumption…but nah, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Honey Almond Nougat Gift ideas

Gift ideas. Sometimes I can get completely stumped for ideas for gifts. I want to give something, but don’t want the present to be a token something. I want there to be some kind of thought behind it. A little present to say Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas or a simple I’m thinking of you.  Not something that screams… uh oh I forgot your birthday up until an hour ago, and this was the first thing I sawIsn’t it pretty!

Here’s one idea for a gift. First stop, go to your local second hand store.

One Donna Hay tea cup and little white dish later. ($2 dollars spent, for perfect condition.) Add some recycled ribbons that I had got via a whole bundle from a LETS trade a while back. Now to fill them.

Kecap Manis Roasted Almonds

Your desired quantity of raw almonds, coat them lightly in Kecap Manis (Indonesian Soy Sauce). Then put them on a tray and slow roast them in the oven. Done when an almond is cut in half, and lightly browned through.

Honey Almond Nougat

2 cups caster sugar

1 cup glucose syrup

1/2 cup honey

1 cup toasted whole almonds

1 tps vanilla

2 egg whites

75grams softened butter

rice paper sheets

Mix sugar, glucose, honey, vanilla in a pan. Stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil uncovered until reaches small crack stage (a tps of mixture snaps when its dropped into cold water.) This usally takes about 6 minutes or until reaches approx 138C.

Beat egg whites until firm peaks form. With mixer running, slowly add hot mixture in a thin stream. Mix for 3 mins or until the mixture holds together, then add the butter. When combined add the nuts.

Quickly spread into greased and lined with rice paper tray. Smooth the top down and press the remaining rice paper. Wait until it gets to room temperature, and then cut into desired shapes.

Two easy hand made gifts that are made with love, using recycled dishes, and ready to be given to someone that needs a good present.