As the eldest of four children, and the subsequent seven grandchildren in the family, Christmas can rack up some huge bills.

Once the smalls started to arrive we decided to start up Secret Santa for the adults on my side of the family. We, of course buy for the children as usual. After all, lets face it Christmas is all about the kids really.

There are 12 people who take part and the “selection” is done by my sister’s brother in law. He matches up names randomly, making sure we don’t get our own partners, then texts us all our person we have to be Santa for and the spend limit (around £25-30 pounds). We are usually all together on Christmas Day or Boxing Day to do the present exchange. This is fun in itself!

Sometimes word has got out of who has who but usually it is pretty anonymous and everyone gets a lovely surprise!

We have toyed with the idea of hand made gifts but that hasn’t happened yet. I love the idea of giving something hand crafted or baked or receiving something created by someone as think it means so much more than raiding the shops (and saves lots of money!) but think I have some persuading to do. 🙂

Do you enjoy getting creative and making your own presents? Here are some ideas of things to make and gift..

  • chocolate truffles
  • fudge (my niece is an expert at making this!)
  • peppermint creams
  • chutney
  • forage sloes to make sloe gin
These delicious treats look fab in a jar finished off with festive ribbons and crafty trimmings. Pictures can be taken from last years Christmas cards – recycling too!

For inspiration here is a delicious chocolate truffle recipe (inspired by Nigel Slater)..


  • 225g 70% solids good quality dark chocolate
  • 135 ml double cream


  • Break up the chocolate into small pieces and put into a glass bowl
  • Pour the cream into a saucepan and heat gently (you can add brandy or rum to it for an extra treat).
  • As the cream approaches the boil remove from heat and pour over the chocolate pieces.
  • Stir slowly until all the chocolate has melted. If the chocolate doesn’t melt place it over a pan of boiling water and stir gently.
  • Put the mixture into the fridge for one hour to chill.
  • Remove spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls or logs. Make sure your hands are cool for this or cut the truffles into squares.
  • Roll the truffles in cocoa, flaked chocolate, dessicated coconut, finely chopped nuts or melted chocolate. to finish

Do you have any handy tips for money saving over Christmas? What do you do to avoid a debt ridden New Year?

Money saving tips and tricks are particularly poignant in the festive season, with prices rising and the unstable economy causing concerns. NOW: Pensions are keen for people to consider savings for the future.

Disclosure: I received a £50 Amazon voucher for writing this post but all opinions are my own.

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5 Responses to Getting creative with gifts this Christmas….

  1. lizzer says:

    there are 8 grandchildren now!

  2. Becky says:

    Your secret santa is a fab idea a real money saver can I pop it up at baby b and link back to you ?

  3. bernadette.savage says:

    Great idea and worth thinking about, well done Louise!!!

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