“Tastes better than shop bought”

Filed in Blog by on January 19, 2010 13 Comments
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Mint used to make home made tea bags

Mint used to make home made tea bags

“Better than shop bought”: That’s the verdict from Granddad Green this year.

You remember the mint and lemon balm we picked and dried last summer?

Well, Little Miss Green turned the dried mint into Granddad’s favourite drink of peppermint teabags for his Christmas present.

We cut small squares of muslin, dropped a heaped desert spoon of dried mint into the middle of each square, gathered them up and tied with strong thread.

The Little Miss green attached some individual tags to each bag reminding Granddad that he was loved. Personally I think that is what made them taste so great – I always maintain you can taste love in your food!

She popped them in a box, decorated it and presented the bags to him for Christmas.

I’m a bit annoyed with myself, because I forgot to take a photograph, but I’m sure you can imagine the finished product. They looked very rustic and rather cute – like tiny sacks full of treasure.

The verdict in an email the following week was “Dad (Granddad) said this morning that he particularly likes the peppermint tea – better than what he buys”

So there you go; never feel you are cheating someone buy making your own home made gifts. Sure, I could have bought some teabags and given them on LMG’s behalf, but instead we thought about this present for 6 months – from the harvesting, drying, proper storage, making the fiddly little tea bags and then decorating them to make them personalised.

You can’t buy that in any shop, for any price, right?

What were your home made successes this Christmas – did you give something special or receive a thoughtful gift?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (13)

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  1. Paul Watts says:

    What a fab idea!
    Well done Little Miss Green!
    A present grandad will never forget I’m sure!

  2. For the recycling coalition meeting in Dec. I made homemade sugar cookies and everyone talked about how good they were. I had sent some home with my mom for my dad and brother who loved them so I made them more for Christmas. I made other cookies as well and all were a hit.

  3. Oh I forgot I also made all our Christmas cards which some liked but seeing as they said “I’m Dreaming Of A Green Christmas” and the address labels were my Greenpeace labels, I’m not sure how much my very conservative family liked them but the few more liberal family members did.

    I also made my husband a little polar bear where a Steelers scarf (his favorite football team). I crocheted it and it was the first thing like that I had done so he didn’t believe that I had made it at first. 🙂

  4. Jane says:

    Brilliant present – thought about and planned not grab-it-and-go – made and given with love which will all make the experience more memorable. Congratulations Little Miss Green. My only effort a little like that this year was rather naughty – I mended a pair of gloves and wrapped them up for the owner as a surprise. (It tells a tale really – I wish somebody would fix something for me as a present instead of giving me more stuff!)

  5. Alea says:

    There is nothing like homemade. I am sure LMG’s Grandfather was delighted to have such a thoughtful gift!

    My children and I always make homemade jam for their grandfather. Mixed Berry is his favorite! This year we took some of the art work in to a office supply store and had them scan it in and reduce it for us and put it on a CD-Rom, then we used the images to create gift cards for their grandparents.

  6. Poppy says:

    I didn’t make much this year, but the one thing I was particularly proud of hasn’t been mentioned at all 🙁 I helped Master P to decorate some soaps with an appropriate logo for the individual concerned. Stop lollipop for the crossing ladies, a walking bus for the walking bus ladies and a batch with the school logo for the teachers. Not a word from any of them 🙁

    Other than that, I tried to ensure that all the presents were minimal waste – cardboard packaging etc and easily recyclable when no longer wanted or needed – clothes and books mostly.

    Of the presents we received, the soundest of the lot, was a pair of apple trees 🙂 We haven’t got a lot of room, but these came with large tubs to plant them in and I emptied a large part of our compost into the tubs and just topped them up with some old but better looking stuff that was loitering in pots around the garden. So far they seem fine, but the warmer weather will be the real tester 🙂

  7. I love it. But what did you do with the lemonbalm? I have a bunch of it dried and don’t know what to do with it.

    We made preserves in the summer and fresh pasta for a lucky few to go with our homemade pasta sauce.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Paul Watts: Hi Paul, indeed; I think this one might become a tradition; which makes it nice and easy for my planning this year 😉

    @Lisa @ Retro Housewife Goes Green: Hi Lisa, cookies are a great hit aren’t they – I guess they are SO different from anything you buy and I love that they all look unique – the lack of uniform and that ‘rustic’ finish is so appealing. Your cards and polar bear scarf sound awesome!

    @Jane: Oh how fab, to mend something and give it to the recipient – I love that idea! Was it well received?

    @Alea: Jam is something I’ve never made, but I’m eager to give it a go after some successful chutney making last year. Your art work cd sounds great. What a good idea!

    @Poppy: How lovely to get the apple trees Poppy – now there is a present I would have LOVED to have had. I think they will do well. My Dad has some tiny trees in his small garden and each year they produce fruit. Sorry about the lack of feedback on the soap; they sound lovely – did they realise they were hand made do you think? Perhaps they were so good they assumed they were shop bought 😉

    @Jen Clean Bin: Hi Jen, we use lemonbalm in the same way – for home use, instead of making it into bags, I have a small tea ball, so I fill it with the dry leaves, put it into a mug of boiling water and let it infuse for a few minutes. The smell has changed a lot though; despite being kept in the same conditions as the mint. I think the top note of the lemon has disappeared.

  9. Jane says:

    @Mrs Green: No probs there – not the only present! The surprise and amusement was worth it!

  10. LJayne says:

    I made christmas puddings for anyone who wanted them this year yum yum. Especially my mum. We have a difficult relationship but she really likes them and with the poor weather before Christmas I went to the trouble of posting theirs so it would be there for the big day. Well received so I am pleased 🙂

    Also made lots of mince pies for various things. I make marmalade but very few people eat it so I only do it every 2 years and then we have enough to last us and the one or two friends who do take jars. Might put some on our produce table at church actually, not thought of that before.

    Well done LMG. I like presents that really suit the recipient and home-made/least packaging ones all the better.

  11. sandy says:

    for christmas three of my grandchildren gave me a homemade calender, complete with their photographes stuck on the page for each month of the year, the best present I have had for years. bought tears to me eyes.

  12. jane says:

    My husband, who previously believed the only acceptable presents were the ones you pay for, made sweets for a home assembled hamper for his mum and dad. We added a potted foxglove from the dozen I’ve grown from seed, luxury jam, brownies made by our 16yr old and mum’s favourite cordial drink (glass bottle). And the basket is a real one for shopping in her village shop. They were very pleased.

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @LJayne: That’s a lovely idea, Lesley – to make the Christmas puddings for people. I had my first go at making one this year and it was a great success. I never thought to give them away as pressies though 🙂 Mince pies always go down well don’t they? I’m sure your marmalade will be snapped up at your church 🙂

    @sandy: How lovely SAndy – the presents that move us to tears are some of the best.

    @jane: Those hampers sound wonderful Jane; I would have been most excited about the real basket!

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