Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Sunday, 14 December 2008

Having a DIY Christmas?

With news about downturn and the financial crisis dominating the headlines, is it time to forget about expensive presents bought in the high street and have a go at some homemade ones?

BBC News website readers have been sending us some of their suggestions on how to make Christmas cheap and cheerful.

Here are some of the ideas you have sent us.

See ideas from around the world


See how Hannah crocheted her gifts

Hanna Searle Jones from Leeds decided to crochet her gifts, not only for cost factors, but also because "it is more personal and also the gifts are useful".

"There's this strange situation where nobody particularly wants for anything but everyone feels they should get everyone something" she says.


Stephen, 12, making his Christmas chocolates
Stephen, aged 12, making his Christmas chocolates
Stephen from Beverley has been crafting his own Christmas presents for a while. Last year's innovation was a handmade bird feeder made by drilling holes in an old log.

This year, he's making stuffed dates, almond chocolates and fudge. He says the most time-consuming part can be making the boxes for the chocolates, which he puts together using old Christmas cards: "They take a long time to make because you have to measure the separate parts carefully. But they'll definitely be ready in time for Christmas."

The lucky recipients will be his grandmother, aunts and friends.


Dawn shows us her gift ideas.

Dawn Hazle from Nottingham has a German book she treasures from which she always takes new ideas on how to make her own Christmas presents.

So far, she has baked cakes and edible Christmas decorations, made a frame, and has even kept her best drawings for her friends.


Caroline knitting her hat
Caroline knits one of her popular hats
Caroline Hogg from London started knitting when it came back into fashion and has always liked making things.

"The good thing about knitting is that what you make is unique. I tend to go for 'one size' things, like hats and socks - I'm a bit too scared to try a jumper!

I've decided to really go for it this year because of the credit crunch. I'm knitting socks for my grandmothers and I've made a little hat and socks for my niece-to-be. For my friends I'm making knitted berets and flower brooches.

Recently I made two baby hats for a colleague who is expecting a baby and suddenly lots of my other colleagues started asking for them too!"


Cashmere warmers
Susanna's warmers on display.
Susanna Smith from Suffolk is making her friends warmer this winter by knitting them some cashmere warmers.

"I bought some cashmere yarn a few years ago meaning to make a jumper out of it, but it's so fine that it would take years.

Instead I'm knitting cashmere wrist warmers, I've done two pairs so far. I looked in a well-known cashmere knitwear catalogue and some very similar ones to mine were 45 a pair.

Basically the wrist warmers are made by circular knitting 4-ply cashmere yarn, a pair takes me about four days to knit in a cable rib pattern from a 'stitchionary'.

I knitted a pair for my friend Jodie who lives in Chicago (where they have Arctic winters). She says they're "the real deal" and she's been practically living in them.

This is the pattern: cast on 60 stitches using 2.5 mm circular needles. Knit the rib pattern of your choice taking care to choose a 10 stitch pattern repeat across the row. Keep going until they're at 25 cm long and then cast off in pattern (using 3.5 mm needles)".


I love cooking and baking and my friends Amy and Carys love it when I cook for them. They've been bugging me to teach them to cook so for the Christmas this year I've bought very funky notebooks and I'm writing easy but brilliant recipes for them to try in them. My hand aches from writing :P
Kim Baillie, Brechin, Angus

A group of us are green grannies, very green indeed. We make rag rugs from old clothes. We have held exhibitions, workshops and we also raise money for charity with our work. New members are encouraged to join our group which meets at Caxton village hall on the second Monday of each month.
Shirley Page, Caxton, Cambridgeshire

I have often made gifts in the past, calendars are good ones to make, using a nice photo you have taken, and adding the calendar bit on the internet, and laminating it. Or if you want to spend more time (and more ink) you can do a picture for each month, and have them comb bound for a small sum at various photocopy outlets. Also, mainly for elderly people, I have made up food hampers - covered a box with Christmas paper, and put in small packets and tins of food they might not think to buy, but is tasty and nutritious. This year would be a good time to get food from some of the cheaper stores, as a way of introducing the stores to the older person who may not normally shop there.
Liz Parkinson, Stockport

For a number of years now, my husband and I have made various pickles, chutneys and sweets and given them as Christmas gifts to friends and relatives. We only ask that they return the decorative jars to us, in order for us to refill them in time for the next year's presents. I think that hand made presents are a much nicer gift to give.
Helen , Edinburgh

Buy inexpensive teddy bears and customise them to reflect something about the person they are intended for. A vicar Ted with dog collar and little wire glasses. A kilted Ted, chef Ted, a Ted with body piercings, etc.
Ed, Cardiff

I am going to give people a Christmas card with a note inside that gives them a promise. A promise to babysit or organise a cupboard or repair a fence etc. Jobs that people need doing and will be pleased with a promise from a friend to do it for them. These will be my Christmas gifts.
Amy Smith, Cornwall

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