Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas: it's all wrapped up

As I've written about previously, I've been baking, preserving and creating in the kitchen madly since September, partly so that I could give the gift of food to friends and family by way of a personalised festive hamper. Typically, of course, the extreme weather over the last week has precluded delivery of a number of these boxes, so some people won't be getting their Christmas pudding until the new year - hopefully they won't be too sick of Christmas fare by then!

Speaking of making Christmas goodies, don't get me started on the Delia/Waitrose 'Christmas cake in a bag' which appears to be being marketed somewhat confusingly at people who don't have time to cook, but still want to make a Christmas cake (if you don't have time, you don't have time and you buy one, if you do, why can't you just buy the ingredients??!!). One piece I read in The Guardian suggested that it was a good idea, because you didn't need to buy ingredients in quantity with the remainder mouldering in the cupboard unused. Let me tell you, my store cupboard ingredients never get the opportunity to go off, particularly at this time of year!

The ingredients for my sticky ginger cake, which we have in our house in lieu of Christmas cake - possibly winging it's way to your door, or already consumed!

My hampers have included a selection from: Christmas pudding, sticky ginger cake, raspberry gin, Christmas cookies, gingerbread biscuits, jam, port wine jelly, apple jelly, pickled shallots, fudge and candied orange peel!

A hamper including raspberry gin, Christmas pudding, ginger cake, port wine jelly and gingerbread.

You can see that this type of gift has really lent itself to the commitment I made earlier in the year to reduce my use of shop-bought wrapping paper for packaging gifts. As WH gets to benefit from seasonal treats first-hand, he does get more conventional presents for Christmas, but I've tried to ensure that they're wrapped imaginatively and with not a hint of sticky tape in sight!

WH purchased one roll of Christmas paper, which I've utilised, but otherwise it's all recycled paper filling from mail order deliveries for the most part, done up with raffia and ribbon. Sticking to just a few colours seems to help in the presentation stakes!

I've been very fortunate in that almost everything I've ordered online has been delivered in time for Christmas (and that goes for a mountain of baby things too, luckily!) The only thing that didn't arrive was the organic bubble bath for our friends' baby. I posted them their festive hamper earlier in the week, but didn't want to leave out the baby completely, so whipped up a quick festive rattle from repurposed items.

Cracker rattle
1x clean, empty spice jar
Lentils, rice, beans or other filling
for wadding
Fabric to cover
Needle, thread, pins, patience

1. Fill your empty spice jar about one-third full.

2. Wrap up in some material to give extra padding and secure with a couple of stitches.

3. Create a tube from your 'festive' coloured fabric. I made mine so that it can be taken off for washing.

4. Decorate and include a handle for grabbing.

Merry Christmas!

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