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  • Writer's picturedeborahreinhardt

6 Food Gifts for Holiday Giving

These creative and inexpensive ideas will be easy on your wallet and bring smiles to the recipients.

The holiday countdown has started. There are gifts to purchase, homes to decorate, foods to prepare. And there always are a few questions like “what do I get for (fill in the blank)?” Here’s a list of food gifts you can make yourself that will be appreciated and keep you within budget. You’re busy, so let’s jump in!

The Cup of Cheer

Here’s an easy gift to make that will make the recipient think of you each time he or she brews a cup of tea or coffee. And you can do this for under $5!

Go to The Dollar Tree to pick up this cute plaid mug and matching kitchen towel. In the glassware aisle, look for the jar with black plastic lid. The adorable plaid top hat ornament fits in the top of the lid perfectly; just hot glue it down. Snowflake stickers decorate the outside. I filled the jars with bags of vanilla chai and peppermint teas (these were purchased at the grocery store). Coffee drinkers can be given the packs of instant coffee or tuck a few K-cups in the jar if the recipient has a compatible coffee machine.

The Cozy Box

Hot chocolate, wassail drink mix, marshmallows and a pair of fuzzy holiday socks fill this cute gift box from The Dollar Tree. I added a holiday mug and an ornament. The entire gift box with goodies was less than $10.

To add a homemade touch, add a bag of these snickerdoodles that you easily could make. They would go so well with the warm drinks!

Baker’s Delight

Do you have a friend who likes to bake? Someone who needs a little confidence around an oven also would appreciate this idea! Again, The Dollar Tree was the source for all of these goodies.

Just pick up one of the larger mixing bowls (usually in the kitchen section but I found this one in the party section) and then add three Betty Crocker cookie mixes, cookie cutters, a holiday oven mitt, measuring cups and spoons and a spatula. I also popped a cute holiday gnome travel mug and kitchen towel in the bowl. A decorative bow also from The Dollar Tree can be used to crown a cellophane-wrapped gift, or simply place it on the side as I did. In total, this gift was around $12.

Jar of Joy

This fall, I shared my recipe for Slow Cooker Apple Butter, which would make a marvelous little gift for the holidays. Attending a friend’s Hanukkah celebration? Take a jar of this along—apple butter makes a great topping for latkes. A bit of apple butter on challah also is delightful.

A jar of homemade anything makes a nice host/hostess gift. Have a friend’s ugly holiday sweater party to attend? Bring a jar of apple butter! And the great part about this recipe is the slow cooker does all the work for you; put a batch in your cooker the morning you’re going to trim the Christmas tree and by evening, it’ll be finished (plus your home will smell like the holidays).

Herbs for the Holidays

If you grew herbs this summer, remember a gift of dried herbs would be appreciated by anyone who likes to cook. The Dollar Tree often carries small plastic containers (about 10 in a bag) that would be perfect for holding dried herbs. My friend, Kathy, purchased adorable tiny glass jars and made the cutest labels to paste on the tops. For my birthday, she included jars of dried lavender, basil and thyme in a basket with other culinary goodies; so thoughtful!

Cookie Boards

My mom made trays of cookies every year for gifts, but thanks to the current charcuterie craze, cookie boards are now “a thing.” The folks at William-Sonoma offer these tips for creating a beautiful cookie board.

Be sure your board (or tray) is large enough. Beautiful Christmas cookies can take up room quickly on a serving piece.

Instead of spraying different cookies all over, group them according to varieties, including some nostalgic recipes such as these cute, buttery spritz cookies pictured above.

Keeping cookies together makes a more dramatic presentation. And it’s fine to make a few or purchase a couple.

Another idea would be to mix in a candy (either homemade or purchased) with the cookies.

This year, try mixing some gifts you make in with purchased items for truly personal holiday.

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