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Making Christmas gifts

Step by step instructions on making candles and body scrub with Etsy crafter Cate Holst.

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Give the same-ol' sweater and socks routine the sack and go DIY this Christmas. DIY gifts are thoughtful, fresh and uniquely you. Also, with around two-thirds of Aussies worried about the cost of gifts this year, they're more affordable. Not to mention they're a perfect opportunity to release your inner child while making a grown up quality gift.

Easy to make presents include: biscuits, soap, sauces, calendars, scrubs, recipe books, and art. But let's start with everybody's favourite: chocolate!

Truffles

Gingerbread biscuits.

The taste of love ... homemade biscuits are a perfect present. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Truffles are chocolate that's been given a makeover from casual to classy. They're far more impressive than your run-of-the-mill block or box of choccies, they're easy to make, and wrapped in a cellophane bag or presented in a tin box with a personalised tag, they're a great gift for any chocoholic or gourmand.

Truffles can be flavoured with just about anything. Experiment with your favourite liqueur, reduced fruit juices, and spices and essences to produce a signature treat.

Click here for recipe

Gingerbread

Delight the senses and evoke the taste of Christmas with a little gingerbread. You can also get creative with the cookie cutters and decorations to inject a little extra Christmas cheer.

Click here for recipe

Soap

Want to make something other than a Christmas cake? Get creative and make a cake of soap. You can make a bunch of bars in one go for useful, sweet smelling gifts. You'll need:

Boiling pot

Molding trays

Mixing boil

Wooden Spoon

Electric Mixing Wand

Wax Paper (required if using a wooden molding tray to prevent soap from sticking when hardened)

Rubber / cooking gloves

Plus ingredients.

Green Organics takes you through the process step-by-step.

Recipe booklet

Lifestyle doyenne, Martha Stewart suggests making a personalised booklet of your favourite recipes, accompanied by a sweet sample, for a gift that will be appreciated for years. The personalised presentation adds to its appeal. Here's how.

Create your own calendar

You can buy a blank calendar (Kikki-K does a smart, plain one for $19.95) and then personalise it with your own photos, drawings, messages or prints. A simple idea that lasts throughout the year.

Coconut oil scrub

Inexpensive, but still luxururious. A beautiful body scrub is great for guys and girls and you can scent it any way you like!

Here's what you'll need:

• salt or sugar

• oil - organic extra virgin coconut oil is great, but you can use any type of oil

• essential oils if you choose

• a bowl

• a spoon

• a glass jar to store the scrub

About Beauty takes you through the process, step-by-step.

There's no need for DIY gifts to be daggy either. Punchy packaging tips include:

•  Martha Stewart suggests using brightly-coloured cardboard postage tubes for packaging biscuits or using a CD envelope as an oversized cookie gift sleeve. For more of Martha's tips www.marthastewart.com

•  Use plain butcher paper to wrap up gifts and adorn them with your own properly professional looking paper snowflakes. Click here for a how-to.

• Recycled glass jars are an affordable, cute way to package up sauces, scrubs or even truffles. Simply tie a bow around the neck of the jar and hand write the recipe on a tag. www.etsy.com has a good selection of smart looking tags and  stickers.

• A simple glassine bag wrapped in ribbon is a sweet way to present soap. Find out how to pretty it up here.

•  Try prettying up a take away container or popcorn box. Curbly.com shows how.

What do you think makes a great DIY gift?