A little bit of Christmas crafting
I love a bit of Christmas crafting. We've had a few weeks of doing Christmas crafts at Brownies, my personal favourite being these reindeer cupcakes:
They're ridiculous simple, chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream spread on the top, chocolate button and glace cherry for the nose, mini marshmallows and writing icing for the eyes and pretzels for antlers ("ewwwwwww Fluffy Owl, you can't have salty things with chocolate things!" said one Brownie. At the end of the meeting I was standing by the front door of the hall making sure all the Brownies got collected, and this same girl was already tucking into her reindeer. "Fluffy Owl, salt and chocolate are actually really good!"). I particularly love how each reindeer has its own personality.
Last weekend I started wrapping presents and getting parcels packaged up, ready for a trip to the Post Office this week. I love wrapping presents, getting out the festive wrapping paper, gift tags, ribbon, stickers, cards, whilst Christmas music is playing from my laptop. Ben is not a fan of wrapping presents, so I'm doing all of his too, this year he's managed to hide my presents thoroughly, so I don't end up wrapping my own.
Earlier this year, Fantastic Ribbons had sent me some Christmas ribbon to try out and use. I'd volunteered to be an Elf again for Post Pals (the Head Elf assigns each Elf a child, for the Elf to spend around £15 on). I crocheted a garland of snowflakes (no photo, as I may possibly have made one for someone else who I think could be reading this!) and wrapped it in tissue paper and ribbon saying 'Santa Claus is coming to town'.
Throughout the year, but especially at Christmas, I do think about the amount of packaging I use. The red tissue paper I had in my drawer of crafty stuff so that's being reused, and the amount of ribbon I cut off and used to tie it up is long enough to be used again if required.
Quite a few of the presents I'm giving this year are handmade, and so require a little label to go with them, containing information such as ingredients or care instructions if the item is crocheted/knitted. Or simply just a label for showing who the present is for if it's in a bigger bag for a family. I tend to use plain luggage labels, as these can be decorated for any occasion. For Christmas, I've replaced the string with some ribbon.
It took a bit of effort as the ribbon is obviously much wider than the string, and I didn't want to make the hole bigger as it's already reinforced. But it worked in the end!
Every year my Girlguiding District has a Christmas meal. As we own our own Guide Hall, we tend to eat there rather than go out to a restaurant. We decide in advance what we're having, then divide it up so each person contributes something. This year we're having jacket potatoes with lots of fillings or rice and curry, along with salad things, plus pudding. It's usually great fun and much more relaxed (and cheaper!) than eating in a restaurant. We also do a Secret Santa, maximum £5 spend and ideally homemade, during the evening the presents are numbered, everyone draws a number from a hat (trying to avoid their own) and then we try and work out who made what.
This year, I found my inspiration on a Girlguiding Facebook group, it's an activity I definitely think my Brownies will want to do next year! It's a chocolate sleigh, complete with Father Christmas:
I absolutely love it! So simple, yet it looks really good. It's two candy canes, a 4-finger KitKat, two Club biscuits, two chocolate coins and a thin chocolate bar on the top, all tied together with ribbon and Father Christmas perched at the front. Admittedly, there is some sticky tape involved too, I was trying to not use any but those pesky canes were not going to stay in position any other way! I'm going to wrap this in a cellophane bag (when I find one the right size) and then wrap in tissue paper before tying the top with ribbon and then carefully transporting it to the Guide Hall! Finding small enough chocolate Father Christmases took a while but I eventually found these little guys in Lidl. I'm going to add a crocheted snowflake as well to the present somewhere, as that is even more homemade - stacking chocolate does count as handmade, though, doesn't it?!