Make-ahead Christmas gifts

Christmas is closer than you think, and while it’s not quite time to trim the tree just yet, this is a great time to start thinking about the gifts that will go under it.  

Shopping in December is notoriously stressful; busy car parks, long queues and heavy bags can turn Christmas shopping into a chore.

The easiest way to manage stress during the festive season is to avoid it altogether – this year, get a jump on your Christmas planning in advance so you can spend December enjoying time with the people you love most.

Now is the perfect time to begin planning and working on any homemade gifts for friends and loved ones. They’re a great way to show you care, save some money and give a gift to the person who has everything.

Need inspiration? Here’s a few simple and inexpensive make-ahead Christmas gifts to get started on now.

Vanilla Extract

 Vanilla Extract And Beans

Good quality extracts are surprisingly pricey, while cheaper alternatives are often filled with synthetic ingredients. You can make your own with some vanilla pods, vodka and patience; leave it to set and then create your own label or use a decorative bottle. It’s the perfect gift for anyone in your life who loves baking.

The extract needs to infuse for at least a month before it’s ready, but the longer you leave it to set the better the flavour will be. Start now to have yours ready in time for Christmas.

You’ll need:

  • 5 Vanilla Pods
  • 8oz Vodka
  • A clean jar or bottle

How to do it:

  1. Rinse your vanilla pods to make sure there is no residue on the outside of the pods. Run a knife lengthwise down the side of the pod to split it. You can leave the pods connected at either end for presentation, or if you can’t fit an entire pod into your jar, cut it into smaller pieces.
  2. Place your pods in a jar and pour over the vodka. Make sure your pods are completely submerged – push them towards the bottom of the jar if necessary. Seal your jar and shake well.
  3. Store your jar of vanilla pods in a cool, dark place to infuse. The back of the shelf in your kitchen cupboard works well. Leave your extract to infuse for at least a month, shaking it from time to time.
  4. Once the fermenting period is over, you may want to transfer your extract to a new jar or remove the vanilla pods. Simple strain the extract into a different bottle – if you want a perfectly clear extract, strain through a coffee filter to remove the small flecks of seeds.

Sloe Gin 

Sloe Gin

Gin is back in fashion; this year alone John Lewis reported a 100% increase in gin sales this, while the Wine And Spirit Trade Association reported in March that sales of British gin rose more than 181% in the last two years. Impress the gin-lover in your life with a special bottle of Sloe Gin. It’s easy to make and if you get started now will be ready to enjoy for Christmas.

You’ll need:

  • 1lb sloes
  • 225 grams caster sugar
  • 1 litre of good gin

How to do it:

  1. Prick the skin of the sloes all over with a sharp needle to help release the sweetness of the berries. Another method would be to freeze your berries overnight, then let them thaw slightly. Place them into a large steralised jar.
  2. Pour your choice of gin over the berries and fill the bottle. Carefully pour in the caster sugar – less sugar will create a tart liquor, while extra sugar will help your gin taste fruity and sweet.
  3. Seal the bottle tightly and shake gently to mix the ingredients. Store in a cool, dark space – if you can, lay the bottle on its side.
  4. Turn the bottle every day for a week and then once or twice a week thereafter for the next two months.
  5. Strain your gin mixture through a muslin cloth and pour into bottles.

Sloe Gin image via flickr user Poppet with a Camera

Do you have any ideas for make-ahead Christmas gifts?

The following two tabs change content below.

Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

Latest posts by Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor (see all)

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!