Six quick homemade holidy gift ideas

It’s hard for me to believe December is here. I haven’t done any real Christmas shopping. I always pick up a few things during the year, not knowing when I might use them as gifts. Now I need to remember where I’ve stashed them. It’s time to decide what gifts I can give that will please the recipients without over-spending.

This week’s recipe ideas may come in handy. Why not give gifts that are homemade? A gift from the kitchen is twice blessed; it gives pleasure to the giver as well as to the receiver. While it is nice to give money or fancy gifts, no gift is more appreciated than those that are homemade or handmade. Those are the special gifts that come from the heart and take extra time and thought. Gifts created in your kitchen are a special way to share a little of yourself.

A gift from the kitchen does not need to be elaborate or be made of costly ingredients. It should be a bit out of the ordinary and something the receiver is not likely to make.

Try to match the gift of food to the food likes of the person who will receive it. When thinking about what you might give as a gift, think about something you enjoy making; you and your children or grandchildren could make together; the recipient would not make for themselves; or that is your specialty.

The way the gift is presented can be almost as important as the food itself. Take time choosing quality containers. If you use old canning jars, buy new plastic lids to upgrade them, or, if you use metal caps with rings, tie a pretty square of material over the cap before you screw on the ring. Make the cards with the instructions for using these kitchen gifts using your best handwriting. Embellish them with colored ink, rubber stamped designs, stickers or hand-drawn decoration. Buy beautiful ribbon to tie your tags on the jars.

In some cases it is nice to use a container that will be used after the food in or on it has disappeared. Flea markets and yard sales are great places to shop for these kinds of giveaway containers. Here are a few suggestions:
– A loaf of bread tied to a cutting board accompanied by a bread knife.
– Tea or coffee blend in a bright canister or in a tea or coffee cup.
– Jams, jellies, and other spreads in a reusable container with a spoon or spreader attached.
– Anything wrapped in a tea towel.
– Cookies in a flowerpot lined with plastic wrap instead of a cookie jar.
– Unusually shaped cookies packed with their cutters.
This year, besides kitchen gifts, I may do some sewing. One of my pot mitts became so worn I finally had to replace it. It was my favorite because of its unique size, so before I got rid of it, I measured it and made a sketch of the way it was put together. Maybe all the cooks on my Christmas list will get new potholders to go with their instant potato soup.

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