A DIY Christmas Gift of Heritage

While most of us want to share stories and snippets of our past with younger members of the family, not all of us have the desire (or the time) to write a full length memoir! By taking a more modest approach, however, you can create a personalised Christmas gift for a grandchild, niece or nephew, that will hold all the memorabilia needed to bridge the years and give the gift of heritage. We’ve called it a ‘recipe book’ but as you will see, it is so much more!

To house your memorabilia, choose an A4 refillable clearfile from your stationery shop. You will also need some colourful sheets of A4 paper. Next, gather together 20 of your favourite recipes. They can be scanned or photocopied from their original source. As you select them, don’t be afraid to include those that are handwritten or typed, which have notes scribbled in margins, or which are dotted with finger marks and the odd splotch of chocolate icing! It is these personal details which make recipes so interesting to a younger generation.

For each recipe you have chosen, select memorabilia which is associated with it. For example, your date scone recipe may have been handed down to you from your great grandmother. If so, seek out a photograph of her to include on the page. At the same time, you might be able to locate a postcard or letter sent to you by the same grand lady. If date scones were a favourite on family picnics, can you find a photo of such an occasion? Do you have an anecdote connected with the scones which you can hand write and include along with the memorabilia? You may, for instance, have won a prize for these scones in a festival or show. Or perhaps they were a go-to if ever visitors were calling. Lastly, make a batch of the scones, and make them the centre piece of a styled photo which you will take yourself. Include an attractive plate and tablecloth, flowers and china. And snap!

Once you have your memorabilia, take copies of originals by photocopying or scanning. Bring them to life by choosing sepia tones where appropriate. Next, arrange them on a sheet of A4 paper and use a glue stick to hold them in place. If you want to add little extras such as stickers or bows, head to the scrapbooking section of your local craft shop for ideas. When the arrangement is complete, slide it into a page of your clear file, and start on the next leaf. By using a well-love recipe as your focus, you will have no difficulty constructing a meaningful page.

No book is complete without a cover so give yours a title, and illustrate it with a photo of yourself alongside its lucky recipient. Congratulations, because in this age of ‘stuff’, you have created a Christmas gift that is personal, full of meaning, and which will be cherished for years to come.