Homemade Food Gift Ideas

woman-with-presents

Don’t look now, but it’s December. How did it creep up on us so fast? I feel like this past year was a blur, it went by so quickly! Even if you’re still in shock that the holidays are actually upon us, the next few weeks won’t slow down for you. It’s time to start thinking about holiday parties, that ever-growing baking list you have, and of course, gifts. Figuring out what to buy people can certainly be vexing, and given the current economy it may be a lean year for a number of people. I’m of the opinion that you don’t need to spend tons of money to let people know you care, love them, and want to remember them at the holidays.

I have put together a list of homemade, food-related gift ideas that are inexpensive to make, fun to create, and a joy to receive.

Homemade Mixes (Cocoa, Cookies, Soup)

I think just about everyone has received something along these lines in the past. The most popular for a long time was the soup mix in a jar. While I’m sure that’s still making the rounds, I tend to prefer the cocoa and cookie mixes myself. Blame it on the baking, sweet-loving part of me! A couple of cute ideas that I have found:

Homemade Cocoa Mix:

There are a lot of recipes floating around for homemade cocoa mixes, but I finally found one that I absolutely love. It’s easy to make, takes less than 10 minutes and results in some of the thickest, creamiest hot chocolate I’ve ever had. You could take the mix one step further and make your own homemade marshmallows to include in the package. To put together a gift package, include a mug and some peppermint sticks that you have dipped in chocolate. A great gift for someone to enjoy as they cozy up on the couch on a cold winter evening!


Homemade Cookie Mix:

 

Image source: Bakerella

Image source: Bakerella

 

I absolutely fell in love with this cookie mix from Bakerella the moment I saw it a few months ago. The packaging is flat out adorable, and you can switch out the colors of the M&M’s to create any theme you’d like with this mix. Planning on giving it for Christmas? Use red and green! The resulting cookies look fantastic, and Bakerella also includes the PDF file and instructions needed to make the labels for the jars. You could also attach a cookie scoop to the jar for a little something extra!


Themed Baskets

Another great idea for homemade gifts is to create gift baskets that have a central theme. Some ideas I’ve been thinking about include:

“Breakfast Basket” – Make your favorite quick bread (on my list is the Date Nut Spice Bread by Ina Garten), wrap it in cellophane and tie it with a pretty ribbon. Include a jar of homemade jam or pick some up from your favorite local orchard.

“Movie Night Basket” – Make flavored popcorn (caramel corn and a traditional butter and salt variety sound delicious!) and package it in nice bags with ribbons. Then add a couple of boxes of favorite movie theater candy (Junior Mints or Reese’s Pieces, anyone?) and throw in a gift card for 1 free movie from Netflix or Blockbuster.

“Sugar Cookie Basket” – Make your own vanilla sugar with a vanilla bean and granulated sugar (instructions here). Place it in a pretty jar and include your favorite recipe for sugar cookies, as well as a couple of cookie cutters and some cookie decorating supplies (sprinkles, colored sugar, etc.).

The list could go on and on as far as basket ideas go. If you don’t necessarily need it to include homemade food, create a basket based on the recipient’s interests: a basket of spa goodies for those that like to relax and be pampered (and you can make your own Brown Sugar & Spice Body Scrub!); a gift card to Barnes & Noble, a book light and tea for the book lover; gourmet coffee, mugs and flavored syrups for the coffee lover. There are so many creative options!


Cookies and Candies

What holiday food gift roundup would be complete without the obvious cookies and candies? This is one I personally love because, of course, I love to bake! I like to have an assortment of baked goods around during the holidays so that if I’m invited to someone’s house I can put together a nice box of goodies so that I don’t show up empty handed. I’m sure you all have favorite recipes that you bake for eating and giving during the holidays, but here is a small sampling of some of the staples I make every year:

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Chocolate Chip Tea Cookies
Biscotti
Walnut Pillow Cookies
Cucidati
Sugar Cookies
Pizzelles
Peanut Butter Cookies
Snickerdoodles
Peppermint Bark
Buckeyes

When it comes to packaging the cookies and candies, there are a variety of options. For smaller quantities or individual cookies, I like to use clear treat bags, tied with a ribbon. Target sells some different sizes of treat bags, and you can usually find them in the wrapping paper/gift bag section. For larger cookies or when giving at least a dozen of cookies, I like to put together either a tin (you can find really nice Christmas tins at places like the Dollar Tree!) or, what I have been using the last couple of years, a gift box. I found Martha Stewart treat boxes in Michael’s last year and just love them. They come in a variety of sizes and designs, and they all come with coordinated tissue paper for lining the box, ribbon and labels. They’re definitely not economical, but I can’t help myself.

♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦

I hope you have enjoyed the homemade gift ideas and can put a few to use for yourself. I’d love to hear your feedback on the gift ideas, and definitely hear about any homemade gifts that you like to give or receive that I haven’t listed above. It’s always fantastic to get new ideas!

Stay tuned because early next week I will be featuring a post on gift ideas for the foodies in your life. And, who are we kidding? You’ll probably want to put them on your own wish list as well!