Sometimes the best gifts we receive at the holidays are the ones we know were made by hand. It’s an act of consideration and love to make something for someone special. Maybe it’s a teacher, a party hostess/host, a friend from book club, or exercise class. If funds are tight this year, it helps that most homemade holiday gifts are more economical than store-bought gifts. And the time, care, and know-how they require ensures that they always beat mass-produced generic gifts.
A few things to consider when going the homemade/homebaked route:
- Tailor the gift to the recipient. Chances are, your vegan gym pal won’t want the same holiday treat as your gourmand conversational Italian instructor.
- Make it pretty. A big part of the appeal of homemade gifts is how they are presented. Try festive and clever wrappings, bows, or other little touches that coordinate with the theme. Subtle, thoughtful additions can take your gift to the next level.
- Tuck in a copy of the recipe. This is important in case your recipient (or a family member) has a food allergy. It also means they can recreate your delicious gift at a later date!
Here are a few of our favorite homemade gift ideas — complete with Guiding Stars-earning recipes:
For the host/hostess:
Even the most seasoned hostess or host can be too exhausted to prepare their own breakfast the next day. Save them the hassle! A cute basket or bag filled with cocoa packets, nice tea bags, or quality coffee are good choices. And you can add a few pieces of fresh fruit (citrus is in season and always tasty). These seasonal Gingerbread Muffins or a Mason jar filled with Quinoa Granola are also sure to please.
For a child’s teacher:
Involving your child when the gift is for their teacher helps teach the value of giving, of course. It’s also a chance to bond with children in the kitchen — one of my favorite aspects of the holiday season. Be sure to choose a recipe that is appropriate for your child’s age and abilities. The youngest can help combine ingredients, stir, roll dough into balls, and sprinkle on decorations. And older kids can help with measuring, pouring, spreading frosting, and packaging. A loaf of our Cranberry Spice No-Knead Bread makes a delicious and festive gift for any teacher. And it will look lovely wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a pretty ribbon. (Check out our tips on making no-knead bread.) Maybe the teacher is more of a salad fan? Put a bottle of high-quality vinegar with this homemade Chive-Infused Olive Oil and present in a cute gift bag.
For a friend:
What to do for those friends who aren’t necessarily besties but make your day brighter on a regular basis? Consider something related to how you know them. For example, a bookmark and pretty tin of Herbed Popcorn to munch on while reading for your book club buddy. Or a cellophane bag of Spice Roasted Almonds tied with brightly-colored sneaker laces for your friend from exercise class. Cashew-Date Snack Bars, Kid Crunch Trail Mix (it’s not just for kids!), and Cheesy Chickpeas are also good choices