🎁 Are you wondering what to get family members and friends for Christmas this year? 🎁

Handmade Christmas gifts just mean a little bit more, and if we have learned anything this year it is the importance of friends and family and that it’s the little things that matter. Your friends and family will know you had to spend a little more time on them, and thoughtfulness is always appreciated (especially if the gifts happen to involve food or drink!)

DAY 1  Kathryn’s Hyacinth or Narcissus Jars. These bulbs in mason jars would make cute gifts that will last way past Christmas and brighten up the dark days of January and February! 🎁

🎁 Super easy to do. You will need Jars, Pebbles, gravel or glass beads, twine or ribbon, a tag, your choice of bulb and some water (Proper job is a great place for all these things!)
🎁Just the fill bottom of the jar with at least 4 inches pebbles, gravel or glass beads.
🎁 Arrange the bulbs on the pebbles so the flat base of the bulb is just above the water but close enough that the roots will contact the water.
🎁 Decorate with ribbon or garden twine, add a label and your gift is ready.
🎁 Top tip. You can upcycle any jar for this and if you are using as all bulbs like Crocus, Snow Drop and Grape Hyacinth bulbs you would add 2 – 3 bulbs.

DAY 2 Nicole’s Mulled Gin Bottles. This makes a really cool Christmas gift for any Gin lover (best made at least two weeks before drinking to allow the flavours to develop fully. 🎁

🎁 For 4 bottles you will need: 4 empty 200ml glass bottles, (flippy clip top bottles from Proper Job are great) 750ml gin, 8 star anise, 4 cinnamon sticks, 20 cloves, zest of 2 oranges, 100g caster sugar and 100g cranberries.
🎁 Pour the Gin into a large saucepan and add all the other ingredients and lace the pan on a very low heat and allow to warm through for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring continuously so all the sugar melts.
🎁 Remove from the heat and divide the mixture between glass bottles.
🎁 Pop on the lids, tie on a tag and ribbon and in two weeks get ready to get your GINgle on !

DAY 3 Esme’s Lavender Heat Pad. This easy to make heat pad is a great gift for family and friends that suffer with aches and pain, it can be heated in a microwave until it is toasty warm🎁🎁You will need: a soft wash mitt, rice, dried lavender seeds, lavender oil, ribbon to decorate and a brown luggage label.
Mix the rice and lavender seeds in a bowl, add a few drops of lavender essential oil.
🎁Fill the wash mitt with the lavender and rice and neatly sew along the edge to secure all the rice inside.
🎁Tie your ribbon around the heat pad and finish off by adding a personalised tag and instructions “To heat the bag put it in the microwave for a minute on high. Remove the bag then shake it around. Place back in the microwave and repeat until it’s the temperature you want”
🎁Congratulations, your heat pad is complete and ready to be gifted.

DAY 4 Louise’s Hot Chocolate Reindeer Cones. These adorable Reindeer hot chocolate cones are perfect for your children / grandchildren to give to their friends (or teachers). They can even help make them – they are that easy! 🎁

🎁 You will need; hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, glue, cellophane cone bags (you can get these from eBay or amazon for around £1.50 – £2.00 for 10), wobbly eyes, red pom-poms and brown pipe cleaners or festive ribbon for decoration.
🎁 Start with two heaped tablespoons of hot chocolate mix, add a layer of chocolate chips and then fill to the top with mini marshmallows. If you get the measurements wrong on the first try – just pop it in a cup, add hot milk and enjoy it yourself!
🎁 Seal off the bag by adding a pipe cleaner to the top. Cut another pipe cleaner and twist around the mid-section of the pipe cleaner that is holding the bag shut to make antlers or decorate with your ribbon. Glue the eyes and nose to the front of the bag to make the face and you’re done. Don’t forget to add a tag!

DAY 5 Kathryn’s Dried Fruit Garlands. Have you ever made a dried fruit garland? The drying process takes some time, but overall, it’s pretty easy to make. You can buy dried orange slices but it’s much more fun to make your own.🎁

🎁 You will need: oranges, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, twine, large darning type needle and a drill!
🎁 Start by slicing the oranges to about ¼ inch thick.
🎁 Place them straight on the oven rack and bake at 100C / 200F for 3 – 4 hours, turning every hour. Turn the oven off and let them cool in there.
🎁 Drill holes in the middle of the cinnamon sticks (if you don’t have a drill, you can also just wind and knot the cinnamon sticks around the twine as you go)..
🎁 Now, string them together. Start with a cinnamon stick, then an orange slice, the 4 – 6 bay leaf’s, another orange slice, more bay leaf’s, another orange slice and then a cinnamon stick. Repeat this combination until you get to your desired length. Do not thread the slices too tightly. Leave some room between them so that air can circulate.
🎁 You may want to add in some ribbon or hessian bows for extra decoration. Make a loop at each end and your garland is ready to hang.

DAY 6 Esme’s Sleepy Lavender Bath Melts. These relaxing and destressing lavender bath melts will leave skin silky smooth and super hydrated.🎁

🎁 You will need: 250 grams of shea butter or cocoa butter, 1 tablespoon of almond oil, Lavender essential oil, dried lavender seeds, a silicone mould (or a small non stock cupcake tray) ribbon and a label to decorate and a box or jar to gift them or a pretty organza bag.
🎁 Melt the shea or cocoa butter and almond oil on a medium heat (use an old pan over a larger pan with an inch of water in the bottom).
🎁 Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes then add a few drops of essential at a time and mix, do not more than 20 drops.
🎁 Pour the mixture into your mould and allow to cool, add the lavender seeds to decorate just before they solidify. Pop in the fridge to fully set.
🎁 Once they are fully cooled and set, pop them out of the mould and package them up decorating with ribbon and adding your personalised gift tag.

DAY 7 Nicole’s ReinBeer Bottles. A simple, super quick and easy one for the men!🎁🎁You will need: Any bottled beer (or cider), pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes, pliers / snips, glue, small pom-poms and ribbon.
🎁 Make antler shapes from pipe cleaners and glue to the bottle.
🎁Turn the bottle around and add on the eyes and nose (you can add a scarf from ribbon if you want), add a tag and its all good to go.

DAY 8 Louise’s Hug In A Mug – Hot Chocolate Indulgence For Adults.A couple of days ago Louise told you how you could make hot chocolate gifts for children, this week it’s all about the adults who like a cheeky hot chocolate on a cold winters night.🎁

🎁You will need: mason jar mugs with lids (Available from Proper Job or The Range), ribbon and tag to decorate. The ingredients are simply hot chocolate, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and a miniature bottle of Baileys!
🎁Dependant on the size of your mason jar mugs, start with two heaped tablespoons of hot chocolate mix, then add some chocolate chips, to finish, fill to the top with mini marshmallows.
🎁 If you get the measurements wrong on the first try – just add hot milk and enjoy it yourself!
🎁For an extra special treat you could always add a Baileys truffle on top of the marshmallows.
🎁Decorate with ribbon, your bottle of baileys securely to the side or handle, add a tag and your gift is ready.

DAY 9 Kathryn’s Orange Pomander Table Centrepiece Making orange pomanders is easy, and, quite therapeutic and relaxing. You can even sit and make them while binge watching Christmas films! 🎁

🎁 You will need: Oranges, whole Cloves, black marker pen, a cocktail stick, a star and some battery operated fairy lights.
🎁 To start, lightly draw out your design or pattern in marker pen on the orange.
🎁 Then simply push in the cloves into the orange! (If the rind is thick, use the cocktail stick to poke the holes first).
🎁 When you have done all your oranges stack them on a shiny platter (available from Proper Job or The Range) in a pyramid, pop your star on the top and decorate with the fairy lights. It really is that SIMPLE!
🎁 If you are adventurous you can also zester to carve designs in the orange.
🎁 Top tip. Your orange pomander will last for a few days before they start to get mouldy, so leave making it till as close to Christmas as possible. To give them a bit of extra life, you can put them in the fridge at night.

DAY 10 Esme’s Positivity Jars. Give the gift of positivity and happiness that lasts all year! The idea is to fill the jar with little notes that of positivity, inspiration and happiness.🎁

🎁You will need: paper, printer, pens, a jar, ribbon to decorate and a personalised message tag.
🎁Simply fill your jar with inspirational and positivity quotes (google is great to find free templates to download!), add in handwritten notes of your favourite memories and photos of you together.
🎁You could even add some small crystals, may be Rose Quartz for Love, Amethyst for Healing and Protection, Citrine for abundance, (All available from the lovely Mike at The Crystal Man just opposite the salon)
🎁Pop the lid back on, decorated with ribbon and add on your personalised gift tag.

DAY 11 Nicole’s Bar In A Jar Gift! Quick simple and easy, – this sassy “Bar In A Jar” definitely won’t be re-gifted! It can be made in advance (or at the last minute!); you can even keep a few spares just in case a last minute gift is needed (if not enjoy them yourself!) 🎁

🎁 You will need: A large jar with lid (big enough to hold several small bottles (Mason jars from Proper Job are ideal), ribbon, burlap hessian or garden twine, baubles, holly etc to decorate, shredded cellophane or paper to help bottles stand up and 3 -5 small bottles of alcohol of your choice.
🎁 Open your jar, pop in your miniature’s (maybe even a couple of small chocolates like Lindt or Ferro Roche), put the lid on.
🎁 Add a personalised tag and decorate with ribbon and accessories and it’s all done.

DAY 12 Lou’s (AMAZING) Festive Fudge.
This is delicious all wrapped up as a homemade gift or after-dinner treat. is not as sweet as most fudge and has a beautiful fresh citrus flavour with chewy cranberries and nutty pistachios. A true Christmas delight! 🎁🎁 Ingredients 397g tin of condensed milk, 24 oz good quality white chocolate *finely chopped (White chocolate chips do not have enough cocoa butter in them and the fudge turns out waxy, 1 tsp orange extract or orange oil, 1 tsp orange zest,
8oz dried cranberries and 9oz shelled pistachios (unsalted)

🎁 To make the fudge. Line a 8 x 10 inch baking dish with foil (if you turn the dish face down and forming the foil around the outside of it, when you turn it the right side up and foil should slide in easily. Gently press excess foil into side of outside of dish.
🎁 Heat and constantly stir sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat for about 4-5 mins or until heated throughout.
🎁 Add the chocolate, extract, zest and salt. Continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted.
🎁 Take off heat and stir in nuts and fruit.
🎁 Evenly spread into the dish and let cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
🎁 Once chilled lift sides of foil out of pan and cut fudge into squares and pack into small jars or wax paper packages.

💜 Team VB