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Christmas gift ideas for stumped students

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CATHARINA GARRETT
@imacat_moo 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year- except if you’re someone who is terrible at picking out gifts. Here are three DIY gift ideas that are cheap, stress-free and worth the trip to Walmart.

1. Mason Jar Chai Tea Mix

2. Themed Gift Baskets

3. Peppermint Bark in Christmas Tin

Here’s what you’ll need to make Chai Tea:

• 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

• 1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer (plain)

• 1 and 1/2 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer

• 2 and 1/2 cups white sugar

• 1 and 2/3 cups unsweetened instant tea

• 2 teaspoons ground ginger

• 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon ground cloves

• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 3/4 teaspoon white pepper

Here’s how to make the Chai Tea mix:

1. In a large bowl, combine milk powder, non-dairy creamer, vanilla flavored creamer, sugar and instant tea.

2. Stir in the spices. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time until the mixture is the consistency of fine powder.

3. To prepare, stir two tablespoons of the Chai tea mixture into a mug of hot water.

4. To present as a gift, put the mix in a mason jar, tie a ribbon of choice at the top and add two candy canes to the ribbon.

5. Print out a fun label and glue it to the side of the mason jar, or simply paint it red, white and green. You could add this to a themed gift basket, which is coming up next. (You can do the same thing with hot cocoa mix in a mason jar, with marshmallows and crushed up graham crackers at the top.)

Here’s how to make themed gift baskets:

Your gift basket should complement the person you are making it for. For example, your coffee-lover friend could have a “Coffee on Christmas Morning” gift basket, or yo ur overworked friend could have a “Getaway Spa” gift basket. The possibilities are endless, but personalizing your gift basket will take your gifting game to new heights.

1. First, grab the basket you purchased and place a filler of choice at the bottom of your basket. Some ideas would be to use confetti or tissue paper, adding some glitter here and there.

2. Place larger items purchased at the back of the basket and smaller items towards the front. An example would be to put a pair of slippers towards the back of the basket, various spa soaps, lotions or bath bombs in the middle, and candy towards the front.

3. Follow the Rule of Three, meaning your basket should have at least three different items following the same theme. With the spa basket example, we have slippers as an apparel item, soaps as the self-care item and candy as the food item. All three items point to relaxation and the theme of a spa getaway but they are all interesting and different.

4. Wrap the cellophane around the items and the bottom of the basket. Tie it at the top with ribbon, a bow, etc. For added effect, tie candy canes to the top or something related to your theme. If your gift is to “not be opened until Christmas, use Christmas wrapping paper instead of the cellophane wrap.

Remember, this DIY project is up to you. What I’ve provided is a set of guidelines that set you up to make a successful, personable gift basket. You could even use the Christmas recipes I’ve provided to include in your gift basket.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the peppermint bark in a Christmas tin:

1 bag dark chocolate chips

1 bag white chocolate chips

1 bag peppermints or candy canes (crushed)

13 drops peppermint essential oil (OR 1/2 tsp peppermint extract)

1 Christmas/ Holiday-themed tin container (or other container of choice to decorate)

Here’s how the magic happens:

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler (or the microwave). Pour onto lined baking trays and spread evenly until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.

3. Place chocolate into the refrigerator and allow to set until hard.

4. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler (or the microwave).

5. Add peppermint (oil or extract) and mix quickly.

6. Pour over dark chocolate and spread evenly until dark chocolate is covered.

7. Sprinkle crushed peppermints over melted white chocolate. Gently press candy into chocolate to help it stay put when broken later.

8. Place bark back in the fridge and allow to set completely.

9. Once chocolate is set, break into bite size pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

10. Put the peppermint bark in a Christmas-themed tin or other container you can decorate. Finish off with ribbon and a bow on top.

Christmas is more than just buying expensive gifts for loved ones. It’s about showing them the spirit of the Christmas season- the gift of giving. Giving, big or small, is a gesture that can speak a thousand words. With these DIY Christmas gifts, you can help give the greatest gift of all: your time.

 

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