Green Christmas: Grow Your Own Gifts!

, written by Benedict Vanheems gb flag

Christmas gift of homegrown, homemade jam

We all love the idea of a white Christmas, but this year I’m dreaming of a green Christmas! How about giving gifts that you’ve grown yourself, that don’t cost the Earth, and that allow your creative flair to shine. You in? Then here’s our favourite Christmas gift ideas for you to grow, make and share with your friends and family...

1. Bake Some Treats

Bake some treats to share – if you can resist the temptation to polish them off yourself first! Use up stored fruits to make delicacies such as a scrumptiously moist apple cake, or perhaps some cherry and strawberry scones. Box them up and gift them to your hungry friends and relatives!

“Gift
Pretty jars of pickles or jam will be appreciated by your foodie friends and relatives

2. Jams & Chutneys

Everybody loves homemade preserves, especially when they’re made using produce you’ve grown in your garden – no air miles here! Try your hand at jam making. Or turn vegetables and fruits into a rainbow of pickles and lightly spiced chutneys, all neatly presented in preserving jars complete with gingham or hessian covers.

3. Vinegars, Oils & Cordials

Transform fresh or stored produce into beautiful gifts by making vinegars, flavoured oils and cordials. Or how about some fruit wines or sloe gin? Decorate bottles to make your culinary creations look as good as they taste.

“Gift
Keen cooks will love a gift of garden herbs

4. Pots to Please

Plant up pots of herbs for the cook in the family. Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, rosemary and sage work well together and because they are evergreen there will always be something to pick. Use a classic terracotta pot or upcycle an old wine crate to give a rustic finish to your display. Buy new plants for this, or for a really green and frugal Christmas gift propagate your own months in advance by layering shoots or taking cuttings from existing plants.

5. Split Herbs

Make pots of supermarket 'living herbs' go further and last longer by splitting them up into two or three. Re-plant clumps into a handsome trough of quality potting mix. Leave them on a windowsill to bush out over a couple of weeks then give them to your nearest and dearest. For an extra burst of growth, use grow lights that you don’t need for the garden until spring.

“Splitting
It's easy to separate offsets from houseplants to give at Christmas

6. Share House Plants

Split up house plants too. Plants such as aloe vera and bromeliads regularly produce offsets that can be carefully pulled away from the mother plant to pot up into pretty containers. Add a bow to make a handsome gift.

7. Plant Some Bulbs

Plant bulbs into pots. Bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths form clumps that can be split up and shared, so the lucky recipient can enjoy a floral display long after the Christmas festivities are over.

“Gift
Saved seed from your garden makes the perfect thoughtful gift for fellow gardeners

8. Seed Sachets

For fellow gardeners how about filling pretty envelopes with seeds saved from your garden? They make superb stocking fillers. Share heritage varieties of prized crops such as beans and tomatoes and you’ll also be doing your bit to help preserve these horticultural treasures for future generations.

9. For Wildlife Lovers

Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate new homes and hangouts for garden visitors like birds and bugs. Use offcuts of wood from other projects to make birdhouses, birdfeeders and bug hotels. Help others help local wildlife.

“Decorating
Use cut vegetables dipped in paint as stamps to decorate your own giftwrap

10. Make Giftwrap

Finally, you’ll need something to wrap all those presents up in. Homemade giftwrap is fun to make – and a great way to get the kids involved. Use vegetable stamps made from potatoes, celery and even okra. Use up old pots of paint to print onto sheets of plain brown paper.

We’d love to hear your ideas too, so drop us a comment below to tell us how you’ll make giving a little greener this Christmas.

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