Green Gifts at Christmas:
When you see Christmas produce in the high street in October, it makes you realize that the next couple of months are going to fly by, as they always do.
Put your feet up for an hour or so and create a ‘natural’ Christmas gift list. Okay it may be necessary to buy the new games machines for the kids, but for everyone else, green gifts will be very much appreciated.
If you haven’t any flowers that will be blooming around Christmas time, make a note in next year’s garden journal to grow some specifically for green gifts next year. Fresh flowers in mid-winter straight from the garden brighten up your home and make great gifts. If you have got flowers that will be blooming at the right time, try your hand at a little flower arranging and see if you can’t come up with some really nice displays.
As well as cut flowers, winter plants in pots are a good present to give. Whether you buy the plants or grow them, decorate the pot with simple painted flowers or leaves, or buy a decorated pot from your local garden centre.
This is a cute ‘green gifts’ idea I found on Amazon.
Plant Pot with Mini Hanging Fairy Garden
Green Gifts – crafts:
Pressing flowers is a traditional craft, and can be easily done at home. Buy or make a press, and choose blooms from your garden that you can create a picture with. Set your picture in a frame and cover with glass.
A photo frame will do nicely. Small blooms can be used as well. They are more fiddly, but look stunning when arranged onto a picture. Pressed flowers can be used to decorate home made cards, larger items such as glass coffee tables, and even tiny badges.
“Note for next year: Collect blooms during the year and press them. Keep them safe until the winter nights start drawing in, then get creative!”
During the autumn months, woodlands are a great source of natural green gifts. Take a bag or two with you, wrap up warm and take the kids on a ramble round your local woods. Keep your eyes peeled.
Fallen branches are a wonderful base for making Christmas table decorations. Insects live under the bark so remove all the bark before you start. Varnish it if you want, or just smooth down with a little sandpaper.
Then glue on holly leaves and berries, mistletoe, dried grasses, whatever you happen to find that will work.
How about having a go at sculpture? Prepare and carve the wood into a shape, or an abstract design and let your imagination go with it! Use natural materials, dried grasses etc; to decorate your masterpiece. It’s a good idea to varnish the wood first if you’re intending to make a longer lasting creation.
Green Gifts – for Foodies:
If you know your mushrooms, collect some for a foody friend and dry them.
Either hang over a range threaded onto string for a day or two, or slice and lay on baking trays, and place in a very cool oven ( the lowest temperature possible) with the door open for a few hours.
Turn over after a couple of hours. Lay the sliced mushrooms on grease-proof paper if your pans are not non-stick, or spread the mushrooms onto a wire rack. When they are cool, put them into a nice jar and label.
Closer to home, you may have an excess of produce this year. Have you lots of tomatoes at the moment, and don’t want to fill the freezer with tomato soups and purees? Sun dried tomatoes are a popular food, and make a lovely gift. Guaranteeing 3 or 4 days of sun is not always feasible though, so let’s cheat!
Cut the tomatoes in half and lay them on wire trays, sprinkle a little chopped fresh ( or dried ) basil on each tomato half. Flavour some with sea salt ( very sparingly ) some with basil, or any other herb you have available. Then, as with the sliced mushrooms, put trays into a very cool oven for a few hours, leaving the door open. Don’t turn them over. After a couple of hours, take out any that are totally dried, and check every half hour or so until they are all dry.
Cool completely and keep in an airtight glass container. Three sealable glass jars full of different flavoured ‘sun-dried’ tomatoes make a lovely gift.
“There are so many green gifts you can produce from your own garden, it’s well worth making a few notes in your garden journal for next year to grow a few Christmas presents.”
Green Gifts – more ideas:
Elderberry wine – elderflower grows well in most places, and produces very nutritious berries, perfect for wine, juices and syrups.
And if you can’t wait for the berries, the flowers can be used to make elderflower champagne.
Scented flowers are wonderful for ‘pot pourri’. Collect rose petals as they fall, and dry them. Then fill simple cotton sachets or buy pretty ceramic bowls or small trays.
Create a sleep pillow. Make a small pillow from a cotton fabric. Fill the pillow with lavender flowers. The lavender pillow is placed under the pillow at night. Lavender is proven to help relax and calm the nerves and is an excellent gift for a stressed friend. If you are good at sewing, make a neck pillow, to relax into after a hard days work.
And if the growing season is over in your region, you could always buy organic produce and take it from there.
Nature is simply bursting with creative ideas. Taking a moment or two now to get in touch with them could save a lot of Christmas shopping traumas. Green Gifts must be best!
Organically yours 🙂