I love the festive season. The cooking, time with family, the warm weather and a summer garden full of promise. But I could do without the constant marketing to buy more stuff!
Given that I prefer to be in the garden than in a shopping centre I do try to grow, make and create some of our Christmas gifts. I like to involve the kids as much as I can, and they love being able to give a gift that they have made or grown themselves. Here’s some of my ideas for garden gift giving goodness!
A classic gift and as I usually plant more than I need, there is always a spare plant ready to be potted up and gifted. If I plan early, we grow herbs from seeds to give away – oregano, thyme and chives are all easy to grow – but we have also potted up strawberries, parsley and flowers taken straight from the garden.
The gift of seeds
We like to save seeds, and there are a few that make their way into our gift-giving. Sunflowers, sweet peas, peas and broad beans are all easy seeds to collect, and easy to grow. I get the kids to decorate the envelope they are packed in with a Christmas message and some growing instructions and they’re good to go.
Jams & Preserves
Most preserves can be made ahead of time when you have a surplus and saved for Christmas. Though this time of year, last minute preserving is also a nice option. I like to make a family outing to one of the pick-your-own farms and stock up on our favourite berries – a family activity and supplies for preserving all in one! Last year we made rhubarb (in plentiful supply in our garden), vanilla and chai spiced jam which was a hit.
Dried Herb Mixes
If you have a dehydrator and a blender, this is a great, easy gift to make. Drying your favourite herbs and making a spice mix, presented in a nice jar and instructions for use makes a great gift for any of your foodie friends.
and a word on packaging…
I like to be as plastic free as possible when packaging gifts and we hardly buy anything new. Op shops are fabulous for recycled gift bags, tins (my favourite!) jars and boxes. A few visits during the year to stock up on a few will have you well prepared for gifting come Christmas time.
For the gifts you can’t grow, if you can, buy local, buy handmade and support your local businesses.
And if I miss someone at Christmas, and don’t see them until January then visitors to our place rarely leave without something from the garden – tomatoes, zucchinis, basil, berries or eggs – there’s always plenty to share in summer!