Making Gifts to Give

Yes, it’s almost that time of year, and yes, they have already started playing holiday music in the stores.  I prefer to skip the chaos in the stores this time of year, and spend my time in my craft room and kitchen instead. 

Personal and homemade gifts are perfect for just about anyone on your list, but they are especially nice for the teachers, bus drivers, neighbors, co-workers, hairdressers, mail persons, and the paper boys on your list.

I picked up these plastic containers at a dollar store – 3 for $1.00.  With a little scrapbooking paper, embellishments, and a rubber stamp, I made these cute little paper bows and gift tags to decorate them with.  Very inexpensive to make, yet bright and festive.

And of course you need to fill the little boxes, so I  found a perfect recipe for that too.  I made these Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp Bars from a recipe in the Kraft Food & Family Holiday 2006 Magazine.  I will be sharing the recipe with you in a later post, so make sure you don’t miss it.

The secret to making your own gifts to give, is giving yourself enough time to make them.  Start your projects now so that you won’t be overwhelmed trying to do it at the last minute. 

Do you like to shop till ya drop, or do you like spending time making your own gifts to give?  Or, do you like to do a little of both?

A gift idea – treats worth sharing

I just picked up Foodgifts magazine, this is a magazine published by Better Homes and Gardens that  focuses on preparing food, and giving it as holiday gifts (you know the holidays aren’t that far away).  The magazine has some clever, food gift wrapping ideas, and  shows you how to replicate each package they’ve photographed.  For a magazine, it was a bit pricey, but I’ve been eyeing it for a while.  Actually, more than eyeing it, every time I went into  the hardware store I’d grab it to look at while  hubby was looking at guy stuff.    I know I’ll  put the magazine to good use, it’ s  packed with lots of great recipes, and the decorating style it right up my alley.

I’m a big fan of giving food as gifts to those who don’t, won’t, or can’t cook, or bake for themselves.  A little over ten years ago I decided rather than waste my time scouring the mall for that perfect Christmas present (that I was never going to find for some of my family members), my time would be better spent grocery shopping, and spending a day cooking and baking gifts in my kitchen.   No crowds, just me and my Christmas tunes.  This has become a tradition, and every Christmas everyone makes sure there is room in their freezer for their highly anticipated packages. 

The entrée’s and side dishes I prepare can be heated, or re-heated with ease.   I also make homemade quick breads, dinner rolls, snack mixes, and desserts to go in everyone’s goody box.   Many of  these can be prepared ahead of time and frozen.  This leaves  time to actually enjoy the holiday festivities.

I decided since I bought the magazine I might as well do a practice run.  You know, check out some of the recipes.   If  I like them, they might go on the “to make this year for Christmas”  list.  I started with a  simple recipe called Pretzel Snack Mix, and made a few adaptations. 

I liked this recipe, and recommend giving this mix as a gift.  A definite add to this years list.  It makes a large batch, tastes delicious, the ingredients are reasonably priced, and the recipe is simple.   Actually,  I netted everything I needed for this project for about five bucks at Wal-Mart.  This would be a great treat to package, and give, with a nice bottle of wine.  I opted to make little fall treat bags on this trial run.  Won’t a few people be surprised when I deliver these?