I'm continuing on giving short tutorials or reviews of homemade Christmas gifts we have done in the past. I am always looking for more things to do at home where the gifts come from the heart. This is a great way to save money and to teach children that Christmas is about developing relationships. What better way to develop a relationship than to make something personal to give that everyone will love? If you have missed what I've done so far, here are the links to the intro (where I have a list of what I've done in the past and a few links to gifts I have yet to make) and scarves and heating pads,
One of my favorite things to do every year is to go to a U-Pick farm and load up on fresh fruit. It's really quite addicting to me, so I always end up leaving with a TON more fruit than I need. So I split up what I get and begin making things to freeze or can for later use. The rest I use immediately as fresh fruit in yogurt or bake into pancakes, pies, and cobblers. A few years ago I decided that I was going to give Blueberry Jam and later give Apple Butter as our Christmas gift that year. I can tell you both were fun, but the butters are always easier to do because you just plop them in your crockpot and go! What I'm going to do below, though, is post where I got my recipes from. If you buy a bunch of those cute little, little mason jars, you can add a pretty sticker or piece of material on the top and jazz up a nice present for someone. This is easy and cost effective and people can use it immediately.
NOTE: I normally go with the recipes that call for the least amount of sugar as possible. Sugar is practically necessary to make these good, but I really love a good jam that tastes like fruit and not like the sugar. If you like a sugary jam or butter, then add as the directions call.
Blueberry Jam or Preserves
I like to use the Pick Your Own website. It is by far my favorite resource for anything U-Pick. They tell you (at least for SC) where all the farms are, what they have, and when they have it. It also provides countless tips and recipes. I have been using this site for years.
PS: If you like Blueberries, I made these this summer. It became my husband's favorite. I tried it with mixed berries, apples, and pears (which turned out great one time, and HORRIBLY another, so keep an eye on those suckers). These would be great gifts for people at work, church, or a hostess gift for this year's Christmas party.
In the past, I have made apple butter, pumpkin butter, and pear butter. I really, really love all of these. They are easy to make, and make your house smell incredible. Again, if you get the small mason jars, you could really jazz these up as pretty gifts. Here's where I get my recipes:
1. Pick Your Own (Apple butter)
2. Pick Your Own (Pumpkin butter)
3. A Year of Slow Cooking (Apple OR Pear butter)
So baking is one of the easy and cheap ways to have gifts for others at Christmas. Have your kids make a cute little card to go with each. Include a homemade loaf of bread or Friendship bread. Everyone will love it and will want to share (or not) immediately! Don't forget to save some for yourself!