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10 home-made Christmas gift ideas

Are you looking for a unique Christmas gift? Discover a selection of zero-waste ideas to make yourself that are a little bit different. 

Making your own Christmas gifts is a treat for both your loved ones and yourself, as you give free rein to your creativity. And if these personalised gifts enable you to limit the use of plastic and reduce waste, you bring pleasure to your loved ones while protecting the planet! 

biscuits de Noël bruns décorés avec du sucre glace

Gingerbread

This delicious treat with a distinctly Christmas flavour will delight gourmets of every age.

You can personalise your gingerbread by writing the name of the intended recipient and arranging them in attractive paper bags or pretty biscuit tins. 

Élément de l'accordéon
Ingredients

Dough:

  • 800 grams of flour
  • 250 grams of honey
  • 200 grams of sugar
  • 60 grams of butter
  • 20 grams of baking soda
  • 12 grams of powdered gingerbread spices
  • 10 grams of powdered cinnamon
  • 5 grams of powdered cloves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white (keep the other for the decoration)
  • 2 tablespoons of milk

To baste:

  • A splash of milk
  • 30 grams of honey
  • 20 grams of water 

Decoration: 

  • 150 grams of icing sugar
  • 2 pinches of citric acid or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 egg white 
Recipe
  • In a saucepan, slowly heat the honey, sugar and butter while stirring. Once the mixture has melted, pour it into a bowl and leave to cool. 
  • Add the spices, the two egg yolks with one egg white and the milk and mix. 
  • Mix the flour and the baking soda, add the mixture, mix and knead to form a smooth dough. If the dough is too crumbly, add a splash of milk. 
  • Wrap the dough in cling film or a “beeswrap” and leave to rest in the fridge until the next day. 
  • The next day, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1 cm and cut using a knife or relatively large cookie cutters and baste with milk. Cook for about 15 minutes in the middle of a preheated oven at 180°C (or 160°C in a fan oven). 
  • Boil the honey and water and baste the warm gingerbread then leave to cool. 
  • Mix the icing sugar and lemon or citric acid and beat with the remaining egg white until you obtain a light mousse. 
  • Place this mixture in a pastry bag and decorate the gingerbread. 
pot en verre avec un baume dedans

Lip balm  

This is a pocket-sized natural gift that will help your loved ones say goodbye to dry and chapped lips this winter! The association Zero Waste Switzerland has a recipe with lemon and rosemary that you can consult on its website. 

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bocal en verre avec petits papiers de couleur dedans

A jar of sweet nothings  

Easy to make and personalise, the concept of gift is to offer happiness in a jar: on coloured paper, simply write sweet nothings, little sentences that bring a smile to the face or good ideas for an excursion. Ideally, your pretty glass jar should contain 52 pieces of paper – 1 for each week of the year. 

bougeoir blanc avec des feuilles dessus

Salt dough decorations

An ideal activity to keep children busy on rainy days, making decorations out of salt dough is very easy and offers plenty of scope for creativity. From hanging decoration to personalised candles, the possibilities are almost endless. 

Élément de l'accordéon
Image
branches de sapin avec rondelles d'oranges et figurines en pâte à sel
Ingredients
  • 2 glasses of flour
  • 1 glass of fine salt
  • 1 glass of warm water
What to do
  • Mix the flour and salt then add the glass of water. 
  • Knead until you obtain a firm yet supple dough. If it sticks to your fingers, add a little flour. 
  • To colour the dough, you can add colourants or spices (saffron or turmeric for yellow, paprika for orange, cinnamon for light brown and chilli for red). Otherwise, it is possible to decorate your creations once cooked using paint or indelible markers. 
  • Make your objects using your fingers or cookie cutters. If you want to make hanging decorations, don't forget to make a hole in the dough so that you can slip a ribbon through it. 
  • Leave to dry at least 12 hours then cook for two hours at 75°C in the middle of the oven. 
The extra touch

While the oven is on, why not take the chance to dry some slices of orange? They can be used as the basis for a Christmas garland or natural decorations to hang on your tree.  

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pot recouvert d'un tissu enduit et quelques copeaux de cire au premier plan

Beeswax wrapping 

Easy to make, these beeswraps – material covered with beeswax – are a sustainable alternative to disposal cling film for wrapping food or covering bowls or plates filled with food. All you need to do is buy the beeswax from a chemist’s, choose the patterns of the material you want to use and follow the recipe suggested by Zero Waste Switzerland

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cuillères avec épices et sel, épices autour

Flavoured salt

Simply crush some coarse salt (or fleur de sel) using a pestle and mix with certain ingredients to create a gift that will give your loved-ones’ culinary preparations a little something extra.

Dried herbs, Espelette chilli, dried lemon zest (or cooked for about ten minutes at 150°C in the oven), curry – every combination is possible, so listen to your taste buds and give free rein to your creativity!

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pot vu de dessus avec fleurs et feuilles séchées

Home-made herbal teas

No need to be a witch or a druid to prepare home-made herbal teas.

Simply mix a few dried herbs and spices together, place them in an attractive jar or sachet and you have a gift that is sure to warm your loved-ones’ heart AND cockles. 

Élément de l'accordéon
Winter herbal tea: flavours reminiscent of Christmas

 

  • 40 grams of very finely chopped dried apples
  • 25 grams of hibiscus infusion
  • 40 grams of dried peppermint leaves
  • 30 grams of mallow infusion
  • 1 to 2 crushed cinnamon sticks 
Herbal tea when it gets cold: if you have a few aromatic herbs left on the balcony
  • 15 grams of dried savory 
  • 15 grams of dried peppermint
  • 20 grams of dried lemon thyme
  • 15 grams of dried rosemary
  • 15 grams of crushed cinnamon
  • 15 grams of dried sage leaves
  •  4-5 crushed cloves
Digestive herbal tea
  • 35 grams of badian (star anise)
  • 30 grams of dried rosemary
  • 20 grams of dried lemon balm
  • 30 grams of liquorice root (organic shop, chemist’s)
     
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pot avec bougie

Personalised candles

Why not make your own gift candles? Easy to make with very few materials and glass jars that you can decorate to suit your own taste. 

Élément de l'accordéon
Making a candle with new wax

Ingredients

  • Heat-resistant glass container
  • Wax to melt
  • Wick with foot (in creative hobby shops)

What to do: 

Simply melt the wax in a water bath. If your wick is not already wrapped in wax, dip it briefly in the molten wax. If not, simply dip the foot of the wick then fix this to the centre of your container. Then pour the wax around it and leave to cool. 

Which wax to use? 

As the main ingredient of candles, wax gives candles their hardness and allows them to melt more or less quickly. Wax with a high melting point can have an unsightly effect (cracking, rough surface): it is advisable to add oil. 

  • Soy wax: very easy to use, it does not any oil or vegetable butter to be added and is thus ideal for beginners. 
  • Beeswax: can be used to create candles with a slight scent of honey, mixed with 10% to 20% oil. 
  • Paraffin: a cheap and easy-to-use synthetic by-product of oil which is not, however, renewable. 
Making a candle with wax residue

The association Zero Waste Switzerland (ZWS) proposes collecting the wax residue from your old candles to make new ones, thereby avoiding any unnecessary waste. See the tutorial on the ZWS website

The extra touch

Using pens suitable for writing on glass, you can give your candles a personal decorative touch. Children often love the idea of lending a helping hand for the final creation! 

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Un pot de baume pour les mains artisanal

Hand balm 

Offer a little gentleness with a hand balm, an ideal companion to repair dryness during the winter. The recipe can be found on the website of Zero Waste Switzerland

Fizzy bath tabs

Easy to make with heavenly, 100% natural fragrances, these bath tabs concocted by the Geneva-based blogger Pinkcoconut will certainly create the desired effect when you offer them… and when your loved-ones jump into the bath! 

The consumption or use of several plants, spices and essential oils can be counter-indicated for certain people, in particular children, pregnant or breast-feeding women, allergy-sufferers or anyone taking a course of medicine. It is important to consult an expert and to use these ingredients with precaution in accordance with the instructions and doses indicated. The City of Geneva cannot be held liable for any damage or inconvenience that may be caused by use. 

Article modifié le 17.12.2020 à 11:17