There’s nothing more gratifying than giving a homemade gift. I know it sounds cheesy, but the heartfelt aspect of making and giving just can’t be matched buying store-bought presents. In order to save money, time and sanity during this busy holiday season, I’ve learned (the hard way, some years) how important it is to find ideas that can be made ahead, multiplied and don’t require a ton of expensive specialty supplies. Which is why I’m so stoked about these cute mulling spice kits I made for the craft swap.
It’s seriously the easiest gift to make! Start by finding a mulling spice recipe you like (or make up your own, as I did!), and then figure out how to scale it to suit your gifting needs. (I needed to make about 40-50 gifts, so I sought out a big-batch recipe and followed those proportions.) The combination I came up with melded a couple recipes and included star anise, dried orange and lemon peels, broken cinnamon sticks, whole allspice berries, cloves, cardamom pods and some chopped crystallized ginger. Once you shop for your spices and get your orange or lemon peels dried, dump it all into a bowl, stir it up and take a big whiff.
After that, I divvied the yummy-smelling spice mixture up by the heaping 1/4-cup full into muslin sachets. I found the sachets at my co-op for 15 cents a pop, but you can also get them in bulk here. Then I popped each sachet into a 3 x 3-inch white paper box found (on sale!) at The Container Store. Each box got topped with a sticker featuring directions on how to use the spices, a cute template I found here on 30 Pounds of Apples. (I had no idea craft-paper sticker paper was a thing!)
Then came my favorite part…making them cute! At first I thought about painting each box, an idea my boyfriend deemed “too much.” (He was, as usual, 100-percent right!) I decided instead to put my bags of thrifted pompoms to use and threaded them with a yarn needed onto leftover yarn. I go nuts if I have to do the same thing over and over and over, so I was happy to decorate each of these in a unique way. I think they turned out darling! Start to finish, including printing the labels, assembling the boxes, making the spice mix and decorating, it took about three episodes of McMillian & Wife (so about three-and-a-half hours). Not too shabby when you consider I now have 40+ gifts ready to go! Combined with my homemade Apple-Cinnamon Jameson, I have just about everyone on my list covered. (Just in the nick of time!)