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I love Christmas gifts. I love buying them, wrapping them, and giving them. I love finding things for each person tailored to their personal tastes and the excitement of waiting for them to open it. However, the downside is that is an expensive pleasure to enjoy. And, in what I’m sure will shock nobody, having a career as a weirdo indie author isn’t as well paid as I would like.

Choosing The Cheap Option

Looking at my Christmas spreadsheet (yes I’m a nerd, get over it) I decided that the best way to give a gift to every single person on my list a gift was to make them myself. Genius! I don’t have time for arts and crafts very often, but when I do I’m pretty nifty. I know my way around a hot glue gun.

So, as my grandfather had sent me an Amazon gift card, I was able to stock up. I bought ribbons, wooden shapes, arty pens, silver paint. I had images in my head of beautiful ornaments to hang on walls, personalised for each person.

Images in my head.

Starting To Get Less Cheap

As it turns out, the metallic pens I had assumed would look utterly fabulous on the main structure of my ornaments looked rather crap. Flat. Dull. Fully terrible.

So, back to Amazon. This time, with the gift card now depleted of gift card funds, I was searching out a suitable shiny paint that would work on my gifts and also allow me to still feed my children. Accepting the delay this would give me in starting assembling my gifts, I waited it out and my paint arrived.

Cue Panic

Now equipped with everything I needed to make my gifts, I discovered a problematic fact. It turns out that when you’re an incredibly stressed mother with about 8 full time jobs, feral children, and a house overflowing with a combination of dirty laundry and standard child grime, making an array of delicate and personalised gifts isn’t as convenient an activity as you might imagine.

Picture, if you will, a mad woman at 11pm, hunched over some tiny wooden shapes, armed with a bottle of wine and several metallic pens, whimpering quietly. I won’t lie, the wine helped. Well, it helped my mood… not necassarily the finished product.


Several years ago I bought a very cute hot glue gun. It was pink. It was efficient.

It was missing.

With just two days until I was seeing the very grandfather who had inadvertently funded my little adventure, I had bags full of pieces of gift and no means to attach them to one another.

Another trip to Amazon provided me with a replacement glue gun due to arrive the following day. I told myself it would arrive by lunch time, I could get the gift constructed and dried over night, ready to wrap the next day.

The glue gun did NOT arrive by lunch time. It arrived late at night. Thus at 6am the following day, I was wielding a hot glue gun, this time over a mug of coffee (though don’t get me wrong… I was tempted), burning my finger tips, and assembling gifts made of my slightly haphazardly made pieces.

Sort Of Coming Together

I won’t show you what I’ve made (yet) because people who will receive my festive offerings will see them. Suffice to say, I am actually pretty chuffed with the finished product. It wasn’t easy. It cost more than I intended. And my fingers are permanently scarred from my drunken adventures with a molten glue weapon. But gifts have been made.

If you’re doing home made Christmas gifts, my advice is this. Make sure you’ve got everything you actually need to do it. Give yourself more time than you think you need make them. And for the love of Santa… make sure there’s wine!

JJ x


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