christmas gift

12 days of plastic free Christmas: day 6

The festive period brings with it a huge rise in the amount of single-use plastics. Everything from decorations, to wrapping and even some of the food on your Christmas table.

Here at the University of Hull we are asking everyone to take a pledge about reducing their plastic waste at Christmas by providing simple, easy and affordable ways to help minimise plastic waste in the home. Our 12 Days of Plastic-Free Christmas will run from December 1-12 and include, fun and easy to do swaps this Christmas.

Refillable gifts

Secret Santa is a workplace Christmas tradition. Everybody buys one present for a randomly selected colleague, and consequentially everybody receives one present. The catch? Nobody know who got who and part of the fun is trying to guess who bought your gift for you. The average cost of a Secret Santa gift is £13, but often it usually lower and as a result the game often comes with the challenge to buy the funniest piece of tat possible. Unsurprisingly, these cheap and tacky gifts are usually made of plastic and soon thrown away once the office Christmas party is over.

Instead, why not try a make-it-yourself Secret Santa at work where instead of being some useless plastic trinket everyone is challenged to make a home-made gift for their selected colleague. To kick you off with some ideas we’ve picked out our top 5 home-made and refillable home-made gift ideas. Each of these can be stored in a glass jar which can then be washed and used again and again, maybe you’ll get it back next year!

brownie mix ingredients

  1. Real Hot Chocolate: start off with a clean, dry jar.  Layer with equal volumes of cocoa, granulated sugar and powdered milk, add a pink of salt and a couple of table spoons of mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.  Tie with cotton string and a label with ‘how to use’ instructions.
  2. Pancake Mix: in a clean bowl, mix 300g of plain flour, 4tsp of plain flour, 55g of sugar and a pinch of salt and stir the mixture together.  Take a clean, dry mason jar or clip-top jar and add the mixture.  Tie a label to the jar with instructions for making fluffy pancakes:  1 egg, 435ml milk, tsp vanilla extract, 4tsp melted butter.
  3. Brownie Mix: Carefully layer the following dry ingredients into a clean, dry 1 litre jar in the following order:  1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of baking powder, 100g of plain flour, 35g of cocoa powder, 75g of plain flour, 125g of soft brown sugar, 125g of caster sugar, 100g dark chocolate chips/chunks, 100g white chocolate chips/chunks, 50g of chopped pecans (optional).  Tie a string around the filled jar and instructions with a label for final ingredients - mix the dry ingredients with 150g melted butter and 3 beaten eggs, place in a greased 20cm square baking tin.  Bake for 180c for 25-35 minutes.
  4. Spicy Vegan Lentil Soup:  You’ll need a clean 500ml jar for this one.  Layer in: 175g of washed, dried green lentils in the bottom of the jar followed by: 1tbs medium curry powder, 3tbs dried onion flakes, 1/2 tbs garlic powder, 1 crumbled vegan-friendly vegetable stock-cube, 1tbs dried parsley, 1tsp sea salt, 150g of washed, dried red lentils, 2tbs dried apple chunks.  Attach a label with cooking instructions: put all the ingredients in a pan, with three jars’ worth of water.  Heat until simmering, then cook until the green lentils have softened, about 20 minutes.
  5. Gingerbread: Take a clean, dry 500ml jar and add: 350g plain flour, 175g dark soft brown sugar, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1tbs cinnamon, 1tbs ginger.  Add a label for the final steps:  put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, add 100g of melted butter and 80g of golden syrup.  Stir well to mix into a dough, chill the dough for 20 minutes then roll out on a floured surface.  Cut into suitable shapes and bake at 200C on greased trays for 8 minutes.

brownie mix

Source: Ideal Home

Authors: Kate Smith and Chris Skinner

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