Homemade Food Gift Ideas


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
Walnut Pillow Cookies
Sugar Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies
Peppermint Bark

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.

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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!


35 Responses to “Homemade Food Gift Ideas”

  1. Kimberly on December 2, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    What a great post. I love the idea of a cookie mix in a jar. Hmm a brownie mix in a jar would be a good idea too. I mean who doesn’t like brownies???


  2. Julie @savvyeats on December 2, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    That cookie mix in a jar is absolutely adorable!


  3. Mireya on December 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been wanting to send friends personalized gifts this year, and stumbled upon this at the perfect time! Thank you!!


  4. Chelsea on December 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I LOVE this post you did! Thank you taking all the time to type this up!! Can’t wait to make some of the ideas you shared. You need to check out this post over at bakeat350-this would be perfect in the spa basket! http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2009/12/sugar-can-make-you-pretty-works-for-me.html
    Happy Holidays. We are thankful for you!


  5. Maria on December 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Fabulous ideas!


  6. ashley on December 2, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    i saw bakerella’s post earlier today… those jars are so stinkin cute!

    i used Martha treat boxes last year too. I found some this year at hobby Lobby for a fraction of the cost and they’re not ugly! haha 🙂


  7. Lauren on December 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I am extremely tempted to make some relish and chutneys for the family, and some chilli vodka for friends!


  8. CJ Carter on December 2, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    You always have the most informative posts!! Thanks for sharing!


  9. Erin @ Big Girl Eats on December 2, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    This is such a great post! I love the movie basket idea.


  10. Drick on December 2, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    love the photo – is that you? and love the great ideas…looking forward to more…


  11. Miranda on December 2, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I was actually planning on making cookies and soup in a jar for family and friends. I might make a variety and put them in a little basket….Yeah, thanks for the tips.


  12. Heather on December 2, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Great ideas! We are on the same brain wave. I posted my first of 5 ideas for christmas gift ideas today. I love your blog! Thanks for all the great recipes!


  13. Jodi on December 2, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    I’ve been thinking about doing these for the holidays, I love the homemade marshmallow idea to go with the cocoa mix!


  14. Ashley on December 2, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    I was thinking using jam jars filled with homemade cookies and some with homemade granola- especially for my friends with kids, bc they can use the granola to snack on or as cereal, and it’s healthy!


  15. Michelle on December 3, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Hi Drick – Not me, but I just love that photo. I’m a sucker for the “old days” even though I wasn’t around for them!


  16. marina mott on December 3, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Absolutely great post!!


  17. The Klutzy Cook on December 3, 2009 at 6:27 am

    I’ve been busy making jams, chutneys and relishes and have built up quite a collection to give away. It can be quite inexpensive when you use seasonal fruit & veg plus recycled jars that have been all prettied up.

    Thanks for your ideas – some beauties here that I can add to my collection.


  18. Rebecca on December 3, 2009 at 6:31 am

    LOVED this post! I’ve always baked some of my presents, and made some preserves, but I think that the ‘mixes’ may get (pardon the pun) thrown into the mix this year x lovely post …


  19. Michele on December 3, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Awesome ideas!!!! I wish you lived closer!


  20. Alta on December 3, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Great post, and wonderful ideas!


  21. Martica on December 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Those cowgirl cookies look so pretty and tasty…what a nice gift idea and super easy. Thanks


  22. bridget {bake at 350} on December 3, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Great ideas!!! Homemade gifts are always so nice. LOVE the top picture and I’m thinking those cowgirl cookies are a MUST MAKE. Thanks!


  23. Mary Poppins in Heels on December 5, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    What a fun post! (And my stomach hurts just thinking about having to think about Christmas. I’m still waiting for summer to sneak around the corner…)


  24. Belinda @zomppa on December 5, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Brilliant and beautiful ideas. This is what the holidays should be about!


  25. Jean H on December 6, 2009 at 12:05 am
  26. The Cookbook Apprentice on December 6, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Absolutely love your ideas. I’ve planned on baking my gifts this year and love the idea of giving mixes along with them.


  27. Hana on December 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Wow, this was exactly what I was looking for, how to package cookies in a presentable way. I loved those Martha Stewart’s boxes, I’ll try to recreate them myself since they are quite pricey… Thank you 😀


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  34. Jamie King on September 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    I love your website! I plan on making the hot cocoa for gifts and for my fam! Thanks!


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