Ideas for edible homemade gifts for the holidays from baking mixes to cupcakes to ingredients for everyone on your list.
There are certain times of the year where I start to feel as though we are bleeding money. The beginning of the school year is a great time for this feeling, with new backpacks, school clothes and shoes, supplies, fall sports payments, field trip forms, and everything else that comes along with having four kids. Then right after we’ve recovered from that, Christmas hits. The real issue with the holiday season is that I truly enjoy the gifting, and my heart is always bigger than my wallet.
Between work colleagues and the kids’ teachers, neighbors, aunts and uncles, a cousin here or there, the number of small gifts we send out to the holidays can add up quickly. In an effort to curtail the spending associated with the holiday season, we look at taking things the homemade route instead by pooling money and ingredients into easy gifts that the whole family can help get together.
Things to think about when making homemade gifts:
- Do it en masse. Buying a case of jars is cheaper than buying them individually, and the same goes for ingredients, gift tags, and ribbon. If you can purchase larger quantities, you’ll often end up saving money over buying individually.
- Choose something with a shelf life. When gifting foods that are meant to be consumed try to choose ones that can stand around for a few days so that you don’t overwhelm the recipient. Sure, if your brother loves cheesecake and you really want to bestow one upon him, I wholeheartedly approve, but perhaps let him know so that he can save room in the refrigerator and his gut for your gift.
- Make it something that will be used. Sending mixed nuts to a family with allergies is not a great idea, but something like homemade vanilla extract would be well received. At the same time, vanilla extract for your aging aunt who lives alone and doesn’t bake probably isn’t the best gift, but a small container of cookies or other baked goods will be appreciated.
What to gift:
- Gift Mixes Cookie and cake and soup mixes are all great things that package easily into jars and have a decent shelf life, waiting until the recipient is ready to bake before they need to be consumed. They are also easy to do in large quantities, so if you have multiple people to make something for, this is a solution that can make the process rather painless and fun for both the gifter and the giftee. A few ideas to get you started:
::Monster Cookie Mix | TidyMom via Desserts in Jars
::Gingerbread Cookie Mix
::Multigrain Chicken Soup Mix | Our Bower
::Hot Chocolate Mix
::Espresso Brownies in a Jar | Chocolate Moosey via Desserts in Jars
::Cowboy Cookies in a Jar | Bakerella
- Already Baked Goods If you have a single person or couple who might be overwhelmed by baking something on their own, elderly in nursing homes and assisted care facilities, college students, and the like, sending something they can open and eat is always a great option. I’m hungry now:
::Rosemary Roasted Nuts | La Fuji Mama
::Red Velvet Cupcakes | My Baking Addiction
::Quick Breads of All Sorts
::Cinna-Bun Butter Cakes in a Jar | Picky Palate
::Orange Gingered Shortbread
::Nutella Chocolate Truffles | Steamy Kitchen
::Any of your favorite Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa cookies!
- Ingredients We could call this the foodie category, except that I despise that term, so we’re going to call it the place for avid eaters and cooks. These are the people you’re always swapping recipes with, who invite you to lavish dinner parties, whose stove gets a workout even more often than they hit the gym (you have to eat three times a day, after all). They will truly appreciate these homemade items to add to their always-stocked pantry.
::Fajita Mix Spice Blend
::Ranch Dressing Spice Blend | Bake Your Day
::Apple Pie Spice | Add a Pinch
::Honey Butter | Ina Garten on The Food Network
::Homemade Vanilla Extract | Joy the Baker
::Infused Vodka and Spirits | Gourmande in the Kitchen
::Dry Rub for Ribs | Smitten Kitchen
These are just a few ways that you can gift a bit of personalized goodness from your own hands to those you appreciate.
As always, you can check out what others are writing in the Eat Well, Spend Less series and how they are preparing for the holiday season: