Ever since my girls started school I became aware of the anxiety of parents rising as we neared the end of the winter term. The whispers in the corner of the playground as Mums discussed what presents they were giving to the teachers and how much they were going to spend. It seemed crazy to me. I mean I do really appreciate that these people look after my children for more hours that I do but should we really be spending such a ridiculously large amount on them each Christmas. To make matters even worse, the girls don’t just have one teacher each, the have assistants, set teachers, Spanish teachers, piano teachers and obviously the dinner ladies and the crossing man, all of whom are equally important.
After asking some friends of mine who are teachers what gifts them most like to receive the answer was unanimous, they wanted a home made gift or card made by their student. Well I was all up for that and each year I have continued the tradition.
The first year when Elizabeth was in reception we made Truffles, the second year we made mince pies and this year we decided to make a variety of things thanks to Waitrose. You see Waitrose completely agree about giving home made gifts and even give you some ideas on what to make. So with a gift card in hand I headed to my nearest Waitrose to get a few bits and bobs so the kids could get creative in the kitchen.
We started on the easy stuff with the Waitrose gingerbread dough, roll it, cut it, add the currents and then bake it. Lovely and simple and Alison really enjoyed this one.
Next up for Alison was the mince pies or in this case mince parcels. We love making out own and all you need is puff pastry, a jar of mincemeat and some sugar to sprinkle on the top.
For Elizabeth things were getting more complicated and we decided to make Shortbread and Fudge. Both of these recipes were really easy with just three ingredients needed for the Shortbread (flour, sugar and butter) and four for the fudge (chocolate,evaporated milk, butter and sugar).
Having never successfully made fudge before I found the recipe provided by carnation evaporated milk to be simple to follow and delicious to eat.
Here are pictures of the fudge before I cut it and the mince pie parcels.
Obviously they look delicious like that but giving a homemade gift needs that extra special touch and I found these bags with little pegs to hold them closed absolutely gorgeous and they work so well to make the presentation of the gifts really stand out. I wish they had more Christmas themed ones as these are a bit flowery for my tastes.
The gift bags were loaded up into the special crate which is also from Waitrose (at just £5 and perfect for making hampers or personalised gifts) and the girls headed off to school feeling like Santa.
Now the fact I didn’t burn a single thing is a miracle but it was definitely worth the effort. You see when handing one of Alison’s teachers some home made chocolate fudge (because Alison says she loves chocolate) she started reminiscing about the amazing chocolate truffles that Elizabeth had made her two years previously. So home made gifts really do make an impact, I doubt she could remember the exact bottle of wine or box of chocolates little Jonny’s mum bought her two years ago or which No 1 teacher mum came from Becky. Christmas isn’t about the money you spend it is about the thought you put into it and the memories you make together.