There are always those who are so hard to buy for----think the person who has everything or is so picky that nothing, not even cash, will satisfy. Or they just like everything and you don't want to give a gift card (again--sigh!). Or there are those whom you must buy for, don't want to, but have to. Or, you just need to think outside the box for your nearest and dearest. You are tired of predictable gift-giving. Need something for a host/hostess? Your pastor? Your neighbor?
Food is a perfect holiday gift because:
1: It can be inexpensive.
2: It can be personalized.
3: It's edible.
4: It's different. Fun.
5: It works for almost anyone.
6: It shows that you put some thought into you gifts.
My first favorite food item to give is a layered cookie jar---homemade. I buy wide-mouth quart jars (or Christmas jars or any other clear jars in the container section). I choose a recipe (I use "Chock Full of Chips" for most this year, but also Macadamia Nut), buy the ingredients, and get busy! Layer the ingredients wisely! I put flour, white sugar (mix in the baking soda/baking powder/salt with it), and oats on the bottom, pressing each layer as I go. I usually layer the brown sugar right before any mix-ins like chocolate chips or nuts. The brown sugar makes an excellent, firm layer. The goal is to press, press, press.
Tie some fabric or wrapping ribbon around the top of the jar. Tie on the tiny notecard (hole-punched) with the instructions in it to the jar with the ribbon. Voila! I picked up Christmas-themed mini-notecards at Michael's Craft Store for only $1 for eight.
These take some practice, but you once you get a good recipe with the right amount of ingredients, make many!
I love to buy the Nestle "Christmas" morsels (white chocolate chips with green and red stripes) or Christmas M & M's. You can buy M & M's year-round in a series of holiday colors.
Another great holiday food to give is a chocolate theme basket/bag. I did this for my ladies' gym party. I bought a giant (cafeteria-sized) box of Duncan Hines brownie mix (Wal-Mart---$5), a container of Hershey's chocolate syrup, a bag of chocolate chips, and a box of dark hot chocolate. It was a huge hit! The box of brownie mix got a lot of laughs (it weighs, guessing, over five pounds).
I also love to find a great store like Trader Joe's and make up a food gift of items from that store. TJ's has wonderful products at reasonable prices. One of my favorite gifts is a box of No Pudge Brownie Mix----only $3 at TJ's. They are some of the best brownies I've ever had---and they are, no joke, fat free! Other TJ's favorites: pizza sauce, pasta sauce, dried fruits, nuts, wines, fresh salsa, and TJ's brand of sea salt pita chips.
You could go to your local health food store and create a basket from there. Or a specialty grocery store. Just be creative!
You can easily do a gift basket of Italian food, Mexican food, etc. For a friend's wedding gift, I bought her a large wooden bowl off her registry and filled it with alphabet pasta (she's a teacher), a red and white towel from World Market, a bottle of wine, etc. It was a beautiful Italian themed basket---something she wanted (the bowl) plus a few personalized extras.
For my husband's sister and her family, we created a movie-themed box this year. I filled the box with their favorite candy (ranging from gummy bears to peanut butter cups), popcorn, a homemade cookie jar, and a gift card for Wal-Mart so they can pick a family-friendly DVD. On top of the goodies, I put a note saying, "R family movie night! Enjoy a DVD and food on us!" I printed this on yellow paper with some movie graphics at the top. Easy. Cute. Creative. Practical.
Finally, if you have part of your gift but just need one more thing, give the person a food item that you know he/she will like or something you like that you want to pass on. I love homemade beer bread, which has by far been the most popular recipe on my food blog. It makes a wonderful gift!
- Label ingredients clearly. This is especially important to those with food sensitivities and allergies----think nuts and gluten.
- Put items in a use able container----a basket, a bowl, a jar.
- KISS---keep it simple, stupid (but you really aren't stupid)
- Make it Christmas appropriate---add holiday ribbon, holiday ingredients (like the red and green M & M's, for example), etc.
- Get creative. Buy some blank cards and have your kids decorate them to attach to the gifts. Find or write a fun poem that describes the gift.