Second-hand and homemade: give creative gifts with Virgin Red

Homemade gift giving
Anna Brech
by Anna Brech
8 December 2023

Making your own presents is a really thoughtful gesture. Most find it touching to receive something someone has spent a significant amount of time on, and for the giver, there’s joy in the act of sitting down to focus on creating a present with care. Ditto second-hand gifts, which show you’ve really thought about something in particular and made the effort to track it down. 

As a member of Virgin Red, you can earn points every time you spend with our huge range of retail partners; including some that are particularly suited to second-hand or DIY gifts.  With the festive season looming, these ideas are simpler than you think to find or create – and they promise to make a real statement.


Make a seasonal wreath

Take a tip from floral pros Bloom & Wild and consider making a seasonal wreath from foraged plants and flowers. As well as looking good even if you’re not the neatest or most expert of crafters, a wreath can be personalised for your loved ones with favourite plants, reminders of local walks, keepsake charms or seasonal fruits and spices – which you can buy ready-dried from Etsy if you’re short on time. 

This Bloom & Wild guide sets out what kit you’ll need, such as florist wire. The result? A heartfelt gift with a touch of decadence to it.


Try macramé

Macramé looks impressive but can be surprisingly easy to make. Start small with a keyring (like this one from Etsy), or try a simple plant hanger – this Etsy tutorial handily lists everything you need, such as macramé rope and beads. For even more convenience, there are plenty of kits on Etsy that come complete with materials and how-to videos. 

Don’t forget, you can use macramé hangers in a multitude of ways, too; for example, a tumbler for toothbrushes in the bathroom, or a bowl for fruit in the kitchen.

Gift something edible

It’s always a pleasure to receive homemade food as a gift. And for the giver, often all it requires is a day of batch-making and you can clear your whole present list with one recipe. Ideas include hot sauce (see this video tutorial from Etsy), chutney, fudge, jam, truffles and chilli oil. 

Not only are these kinds of goodies homemade with care, you can spruce up the packaging to near-professional standard with Etsy premade labels, Etsy fabric jam jar covers or Etsy personalised gift boxes. If any kind of cooking feels too much, you could always bottle up some festive spices (check out these cute miniature bottles from Etsy), add stylish labels and pop into a gift box for a make-your-own mulled wine or cider kit.


Perk up a plant pot

For what must be one of the easiest DIY gift concepts out there, all you need are a few mini plant pots, some paint (sample-size tester pots are ideal) and minimal creative talent. Simply source a few terracotta pots, paint them all over in a neutral colour – think cream, beige, light grey – then once dry, dip them into a contrasting shade and leave to dry on plastic. 

Pastels, neons, or metallic look great against the soft base colour, then it’s simply a case of adding an easy-care plant. Or, if you’re gifting it to a not-so-green-fingered friend, Etsy’s selection of artificial succulents are extremely convincing…

Find out more about spending and earning points, including a series of fabulous rewards to suit all tastes, with Virgin Red.