Homemade Holiday Gifts

For my group of friends, I usually make them a gift each year. For many years it was an assortment of holiday cookies. Then I became too lazy to convert my kitchen into a cookie factory. Last year, I made cheeseboard/appetizer presentation platters. I’m at a loss of what do to this year. Does anyone have fun or unique ideas they’d like to share?


I am at a complete loss this year . Complicated. So everybody is going to get 20 bucks and CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES MADE BY ME .


I like something I can make in a batch. I’ve done granola and muesli multiple times. However, batch food gifts can be hard if one’s family and friends have dietary restrictions, food allergies, or general dislikes (one of my friends is anti-coconut, another hates sweet and salty together).

One holiday my friend gifted me flavored salt (lemon rosemary). This made a lovely, useful gift. I looked up recipes afterwards and it seems quite easy to make.


How about a card that says you’ve made a donation to a charity in their honor?

Something that we’ve thought about doing over the years is to make large batches of something that I’ve served and gotten compliments on (family blue cheese dressing recipe is an example) and hand out jars of it with a recipe card so they can make it themselves.


I like to to do home made got sauce as gifts. Tabasco style bottles aren’t that hard to find


A friend of mine did various flavors of infused vodka in mason jars that she prettied up.


I just came across this thread. These are all good ideas!

Yep, that’s me too. People love it but it’s lot of work. Plus everyone is now so spread out that we never know who we’re going to see during the holidays.

I tend make jams.

If I am good, I make them august/september, can them and the holidays are easy.

If not? There’s a mad cooking canning rush in December and the holidays are tasty, but not so easy : p

One of the best holidays gifts is something I saw years ago, when I was working at an advertising/recording studio. One of the voice over artists showed up with a giant pot of chicken soup, a ladle, hot plate and sturdy plastic bowls. In that stress filled, sugar filled time, to be able to go and get a really tasty nourishing bowl of soup soup for lunch? HUGE.

So now, if I know it’s appropriate, I give folks a big tub of homemade soup during the holidays. It can save them cooking one meal, or help them when they crash for doing everything to get ready for the holidays.


A friend gave me a jar of her homemade jam. I don’t remember the flavor but it was nothing we were interested in. I should have passed it along but didn’t and eventually threw it out a couple of years later. We were also given a tin of See’s chocolates which I immediately passed along. Not everyone likes sweets. Just saying. Now the soup from the artist sounds fantastic. Anyone can take some or not.

Cath -

Agreed, not everyone likes sweets. What really helps is if someone gently says “Oh thanks, I know just the right person for this! I’m really a savory person, but what fun to pass this on. Thank you!”

It’s a huge help. Next year, you can worry about one less jar of jam and, you can then give that person a savory treat they will really enjoy like soup, or rosemary toasted walnuts or a really cool salt or spice.

BTW, this year, in addition to my jams, I made a lime/peach jelly. Pretty delightful and savory. Great with cream cheese and crackers. But if folks don’t let me know what they like, I can’t plan as well…

1 Like

Really? And “you” wouldn’t be offended? Thank you. Now that lime/peach jelly sounds just perfect.

I would never throw out something that someone has taken the time to lovingly prepare for me as a gift. That’s just unfathomable and a waste.



I had a very beloved older neighbor who was gentle but forthright in her food opinions.

It ended up helping as, what I gave her, I KNEW she would enjoy.

It also freed me up totally to quiz neighbors etc beforehand to say “Hey. I’m planning my holiday food treats - do you like sweet or savory?”

Folks were so happy as a - they were getting a food treat! And b - they got to give their taste which upped the chance of them liking it. No guarantees, but odds were better : )

1 Like

I’m so impressed with you. Thanks again.

Oh you are so sweet and silly. Thank you.

Here’s one of my fav savory holiday treats. From Laurie Colwin (the late great writer.) Sara Moulton has championed her work for over a decade and here’s the recipe from her website…

Good night!

I’m going to make some of those with some almonds I have. Do you think that would work?

This year I bought too many cranberries (they’re around for such a small time), so I used a few pounds to make a jam with cranberries, orange, and all the warm spices. Then finished with orange zest and chopped, roasted walnuts.

People seemed to like it and most of them returned the Bell jars, which I thought was very nice.


Way belatedly I say - sure, why not? To almonds.

Union Square Cafe does their own version of rosemary spiced nuts and here is Smitten Kitchen’s take on them.

(I enjoy her posts as, she is fussy and specific. She does all the worrying and testing and I just have to read and choose ; )


I love her chocolate pudding recipe! I amp it up by using good dark chocolate.

1 Like