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Five Christmas presents that won’t break the bank


Patricia Babalis

By Patricia Babalis

4 min read

Christmas is just around the corner and retailers are getting into the swing of the silly season, with baubles, tinsel and holly adorning shops across the country. 

With spending on the rise, many Aussies will be falling back on their credit cards which may seem like a great idea now but will appear less so when the bill rolls around in a month’s time. If you are cash strapped and worried about having to rely on your card, it may be worth exploring the glorious world of the DIY gift.

So how can you wow friends and family with fabulous Christmas presents without getting yourself into debt? Here are some ideas that won’t break the bank!

Brownie jars

Homemade Christmas Cake Mix in a Jar decorated with pine cones and spruce branches on a dark wooden background

Christmas is a time for sweet treats, so why not gift relatives a DIY brownie kit?

You’ll need sterilised mason jars, some coloured twine, cute fabric, thick cream card and a calligraphy-style black pen. Don’t forget your favourite brownie recipe, either.

Measure out the required dry ingredients and layer them in the jar — think flour, soft brown sugar, chocolate chips and cocoa. You’ll need to make sure the jar is filled to the brim to keep the layers in place. Then you can place a square of colourful fabric over top and secure it with twine. Finally, write instructions for brownie preparation on squares of card. Usually this is as simple as mixing the dry ingredients with egg and oil. Tie the card on with twine and you’ve got yourself an adorable gift!

Sweet candles

Rustic Christmas scene with jar candle, pine cones, metals stars and round tag with copy space.

Candles make a great Christmas present, but you don’t have to fork out for the trendiest offerings. Instead, pick some candles in simple glass jars and package them in hand-decorated brown card boxes, before tying with a silk ribbon in black, red or navy blue. The personalised touch will make the present extra special.

Alternatively, if you have a lot of people who you need gifts for this year, you could try your hand at making your own candles from scratch. If you’re making a large batch (and have the time to spare) this could end up being an efficient way of making something special for the whole family.

Homemade hampers

Christmas hamper basket with a chocolate Santa, cookies and a bottle of wine close-up

It’s tempting to buy pre-made hampers at department stores or supermarkets but there can be hefty mark-ups, stinging your savings account. Not to mention, they often come with a few good products and a whole bunch of products that no one ever uses.

Instead, why not put together your own hampers? These are great presents for relatives — if you can’t afford to splash out on numerous nieces and nephews, why not give a hamper that your relatives and their kids will all enjoy together?

Items like herbal tea, high-quality olive oil and chocolates are good additions. You can also include some homemade baking for an extra personal touch. Transparent cellophane and brightly coloured ribbons will give the hamper a professional look.

Gingerbread house and men

Gingerbread house with gingerbread couple in front

The perfect gift for kids in your family is a gingerbread house which you can leave undecorated for the gift recipients to have some fun. If you’re good in the kitchen, putting together a gingerbread house and accompanying men is a cost effective gift for all your nephews and nieces.

On Christmas day, every one can have a turn icing and decorating your gift. What’s better than a DIY gift that brings the whole family together?

Potted plants

Horizontal composition color photography of a beautiful floral composition, plant bouquet with multiple plant type used to celebrate holidays (Christmas, New Year, or just a gift...). There are a Poinsettia with some golden glitter on vibrant red leaves, Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), Echeveria succulent plant colored in red, some green moss etc... Close-up on the red plant leaf of Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) with small golden glitter / flakes to offer on Christmas Holidays. Picture shot with soft focus.

Finally, if you’ve got a friend or family member with a green thumb, why not give them a potted plant?

Dip the lower half of a terracotta pot into mint green, candy pink or lemon yellow paint, then flip it upside down and allow it to dry on newspaper. You’ll get a fun ombre effect — pop in a cost-effective perennial and you’ve got a perfect gift for grandparents, siblings-in-law or even mum and dad.

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