Some people are born shoppers, and there's no converting them. But there are enough of us who love to bake and create and give something we've made ourself. It is the ultimate Christmas gift after all.
It needn't be elaborate or cost a fortune. A simple edible gift wrapped cleverly will make as much of an impact as the most expensive box of Belgian chocolates.
Here are some decidedly delicious yet easy ways to make your own gifts this festive season. They're also perfect to share with kids, not least because small hands are notably adept at rolling, scattering and dipping in melted chocolate.
Put together a tray of sweet little apples. Pierce and thread apples onto sturdy ribbon-tied skewers then dip them first in molten dark or white chocolate and then in crushed nuts or decorative silver balls.
- Panettone is a bread-like, mushroom-shaped traditional Italian Christmas cake and utterly delicious. Make our recipe for Panettone with crimson raisons and wrap the pannetone in paper, tie with a ribbon and gift along with ripe figs and mascarpone.
- For a quick, thoughtful surpise for your host, or as a beautiful centrepiece for your festive table, fill glass vases with an assortment of fresh berries such as strawberries and blueberries, and macaroons. If the berries aren't overripe, they won't bleed. Finish with ribbon and a colourful kitchen towel.
- Make an angel food cake with beetroot icing and dried pomegranate. Wrap the cake in white greaseproof paper, tie with a ribbon and fresh flowers and offer with a bottle of pink bubbly.
- Make a jar of sweet mustard pickled vegetables and put in a basket with a wedge of Swiss Winemaker's cheese.
- Wreaths are in again this year. Make a festive phyllo wreath using store-bought pastry, tie a ribbon to it and it can be hung on the door or used as the centrepiece on the Christmas table. Or make the caramelised popcorn wreath with red apple crisps or our totally edible Christmas Caprese wreath salad.
- Jellies are delicious served with the host's gammon. Make grape and wine jelly or try the red wine jelly with pink peppercorns.
- Original ginger beer is hard to come by, and few know how to make it, or have the time. Brew Mariana Esterhuizen's home-made ginger beer and pour into old-fashioned bottles that can be found at bric-a-brac stores. Adorn in a criss-cross pattern with string or raffia.
- Everybody loves truffles, and there something decidedly luxurious about them. Make a box ful of cognac truffles, cranberry chocolate truffles, fresh blueberry and chocolate truffles or savoury goat's milk cheese truffles.
READ AND MAKE MORE
From making lavendar sugar and candied violets to herb salt and adding a personal touch to home-baked cookies, click to read our other Edible Gifts article.