You’ve probably heard the phrase Make Do and Mend, an old-fashioned phrase that urged British citizens to help the country save money by trying to make the best of the things that they already had. It was designed to inspire a feeling of frugality – the idea that we can all pull together and, crucially, avoid throwing out perfectly good belongings. With a little bit of tweaking, it’s now become a trend for gift-giving at Christmas: by ‘Making, Doing and Mending’ you can not only save money, but also give more meaningful gifts to your loved ones.


The key to a homemade present is giving yourself plenty of time to create something that shows real thought and effort. A rushed gift, however well-meaning, is unlikely to have the polish that makes a homemade gift seem special rather than stingy. There are so many different options for gifts that will delight the recipient – candles, soaps and food such as fudge are all examples of things that you can create at home to great effect.


There are several different types of gift that can fit into the ‘doing’ bracket. Firstly, consider the traditional ‘act of service’, often given in the form of a coupon that promises you will perform a certain action (such as a much-despised chore or a relaxing massage) at the time of the recipient’s choosing.

Alternatively, you can eschew the need for a physical gift entirely and instead plan an activity or event. Taking your partner on a romantic picnic can cost very little, whilst also showing how much you care about them and allowing you both to spend quality time together. Don’t underestimate how much of an impact you can have simply by taking care of all the details creating a plan that you know your friend or family member will love. Things like museums or a trip to a nearby beauty spot certainly don’t have to be expensive – but it’s the fact that you’ve taken away the pressure of organisation that really counts.


Get your DIY kit ready: it’s time to do some upcycling! While ‘mending’ may conjure up ideas of items that are somewhat past their best, it’s actually a chance to jazz up old items and give them a new lease of life. Realistically, we’re not talking about patching up your old junk and regifting it to unsuspecting loved ones. Instead, this is about salvaging old items with real potential and finding a way to make them pop.

For inspiration, turn to sites like Pinterest which are full of suggestions for items that can be picked up cheap and turned into something spectacular. This can be a great way to give somebody a gift that is both unexpected and appreciated.

Making, doing and mending may require a little more time and thought than getting items delivered from your go-to online store, but it’s also the perfect way to embrace the spirit of the giving season… and saving yourself a little bit of cash while you’re at it.