Fun and easy Christmas gifts for volunteers

23/11/2016 Canteen Advice

With Christmas just around the corner, there’s no better time to show your appreciation for your canteen volunteers and their efforts over the school year. We’ve created a list of unique gifts that are both budget-friendly and/or easy to make at home.

Baked goods

These are a safe bet when it comes to gift giving. They’re easy to make in large batches so there’ll be plenty for everyone! Gingerbread men or mince pies are our Christmas favourites. 

Brownies in a jar

If you’re short on time, this is a fun and simple twist on homemade baked goods and a great activity for the kids. All you’ll need to collect is the dry ingredients from your favourite brownie recipe, layer them in a jar, pop the remaining ingredients and method on a piece of card either on or in the jar itself, and then decorate the jar with Christmas ribbon or fresh holly (you can find an example of the step-by-step process and a recipe on the Evermine website). If brownies aren’t your thing, you can use this idea for almost any other baked goods that tickle your fancy – cookies, cupcakes, bread sticks – you name it!

Handy kitchen knick knacks

Cheap, cheerful and useful kitchen cutlery, aprons, mugs, cookbooks, measuring cups, speed peelers, melon ballers, garlic crushers and much more can be bought for bargain price during the year and gifted to volunteers at Christmas time. A good tip is to ask your volunteers about their kitchens at home and what they like to cook, that way you’ll have some an idea of what knick knack will suit them best. It also ties in nicely with the canteen.

Herb or veggie kits

These are a fun and affordable gift to make yourself, or you can purchase them ready to go from most gardening stores (we found a great little one at Bunnings). They have the added benefit of being a non-food related gift, so if you really want to drive the healthy eating message home, this is our number one gift choice. Put a twist on your kits by making them a mystery lucky dip!

Take-home terrariums

Although these can take some time to put together, they’re low maintenance, add life and colour to an indoor space, and will last a long time if their basic needs are looked after. If you want to get really ‘Christmassy’, use a mix of green and red plants and top it off with a little Christmas figurine or tree decoration. Again, Bunnings has created a short and simple video on how to build a terrarium, or you can opt to create something similar to these DIY kits.

Pamper sets

After preparing endless lunch orders, most volunteers will appreciate some rest and relaxation. Give their hands and feet some love by creating (or buying) a mini pamper kit with hand cream and/or foot cream (or even massage oil).

Candles with Christmas flair

We’re not suggesting that you make your own candles here… but nothing says Christmas more than a cranberry, cinnamon or gingerbread scented candle. You may have to hunt around to find ones that make it a cost-effective gift, but after that it’s time to make them all your own. Write a thank you message on a piece of Christmas paper and wrap it around the candle (this Pinterest account has some more ideas). If you’re also throwing a thank you lunch or dinner, these make perfect table decorations that your volunteers can take home afterwards.

Team photos with a twist

On the off-chance you can get your entire volunteer team together, take a quick pic before printing and framing it for each team member. Photos usually only cost around 10 cents each to print, and affordable frames can be bought online at various independent and major retail outlets such as Officeworks, eBay and Spotlight.

Christmas potluck

If you and your volunteer team are social butterflies, you may want to throw a Christmas party instead. Make it a potluck so that every volunteer brings in a (hopefully healthy!) dish and gather together at a local park so everyone can bring their families. It’s a fantastic way to build better volunteer relationships, learn more about each other, and keep everything at a low price.

Quick note: you can find most of these gift and DIY materials (e.g. glass jars, candles, photo frames) at low cost in stores such as Kmart, Target, Big W, Officeworks, Spotlight and your local two-dollar store.

From the team at Healthy Kids, we wish you a happy holiday season and all the best for the New Year!