With my hubby Owen being in hospital over Christmas last year the festive season kind of passed us by and I opted out through necessity. However, taking a step back from it did give me a perfect opportunity to reflect on what Christmas means to me. In common with a lot of people I suspect, there's quite a list of things I dislike about Christmas - the too early start, the commercialisation, the crowds, the songs you've heard too many times and the feeling that you MUST do certain things because that's what everyone else does at Christmas. Last year made me realise that it is absolutely OK to opt out!
This year I've focused on what I really love and enjoy about Christmas and I'm making sure I do those things. The idea of giving home made items as presents has always appealed and I love browsing Pinterest to see prettily packaged home made Christmas goodies. However, it usually remains an idea that doesn't make it to reality! I was determined this year to make - and give away - some home made Christmas goodies. I've always enjoyed making Christmas puddings and mincemeat but this year I tried something new and made chutney.
I like to give my ladies at card group a little something from me at Christmas and I decided a jar of home made chutney would be part of my gift to them this year. The first batch of cranberry chutney I made was a real disappointment - the texture wasn't quite right and there was a far too strong taste of cloves! I decided to try an apple and cranberry chutney recipe instead (no cloves in the ingredients!) and that was a success. The colour is SO Christmassy!
So here's my ten jars of Christmas CranApple Chutney. I had a very happy time making the chutney and it was so satisfying to see my jars all ready to give away!
Here's just one jar on its own. I dressed up a Kilner jar with Kraft paper, red and white twine and I couldn't resist using a 'Spread some Christmas cheer' sentiment on the tag - it seemed perfect for chutney!
Look at the beautiful-jewel like Christmassy colour!
Here's a jar with the lid off. I was very pleased with how this batch turned out and was happy to be able to give something I'd made as a gift!
As I work in Wilko I see lots of lovely packaged gifts. A few days after I'd made the chutney I saw this very pretty hand care set containing hand cream and a patterned emery board.
I bought one for each of my ladies, placed each hand care set in a snowflake patterned cello bag, placed each jar of chutney in another snowflake cello bag, tied the two bags together with red and white gingham ribbon threaded through a cut out deer tag (a Wilko purchase!) stamped with a Real Red 'This is for you' sentiment. To finish off I added a holly embellishment.
A time consuming project - yes - but easily manageable if done in stages. It was such an enjoyable thing to do and so very satisfying - and the gifts were very well received! I've made a second batch of chutney so I can use a few jars as gifts and then there's some left over for us.