We all have stuff. Lots of it. When it comes to gift giving over the holidays sometimes the best gift is edible. Then no one has to make a trip to the thrift store in two years because they really didn’t need that novelty kleenex cozy. I was just talking to a friend about how we feel compelled to give and it feels so good. It’s a beautiful ritual in our culture to remember friends and community helpers with a token of thanks.
We’re all thinking this, so I’ll be bold and actually type it. Edible gifts are not always eaten. Plates full of sugar cookies sit on counters until it’s time to send them to the compost or dumpster. Don’t Panic. I’ll help you give memorable and delicious holiday gifts that will be gobbled, shared, and enjoyed.
Hello, Cheese and Crackers. Your friend may not always pamper herself at the grocery store. (Actually, she never does because she’s feeding three ravenous kids and is trying to stretch the budget.) Now is the perfect chance. Buy a bottle of local honey, goat cheese, and distinctive crackers. My Hunky Husband is in love with the Poppy Seed crisps from 34 Degrees. You can find these in the Deli and Cheese sections at your grocery store. The thing I love about this gift is that it’s meant to be shared – which is the point of great food. It might also save her when she’s in a time pinch to make a snack platter a work party.
Fruit preserves are another pairing that she’ll love with goat cheese. You get one million points if you’ve canned your own fruit preserves. However, you can find some nice ones sweetened with fruit juice at any grocery store.
Another gift that I love to give is Homemade Salsa and Fresh Corn Chips. This is another super comfort food combo. (Link for our favorite cooked salsa recipe.) To make this gift really memorable, find a restaurant or factory that makes chips on site. I’m spoiled because I live down the street from a tortilleria.
Finally, I can’t do justice to comfort food without mentioning fresh bakery bread with herbed olive oil. This is another dynamite gift that everyone will love. Hunky Husband and I got olive oil and spices as a wedding gift. We used it right away at dinner parties in our tiny apartment. Buy a bottle of good quality olive oil and a jar of Italian spices to set along side a loaf of crusty bread. Give with a hug. I’ve also given this gift with balsamic vinegar and fresh garlic. Big grins from the recipient.
Next Tip: Stick with Simple Packaging.
Subtle holiday packaging is my favorite. You don’t need packaging that screams with images of Santa. Let your edible gifts shine. I love baskets, brown craft paper, and cellophane. You can dress the neutral colors up with vibrant ribbon, fabric scraps, or twine.
I’ve also used ceramic plates to give edible gifts. You can find really incredible plates at thrift stores to use as the base for your gift. Just toss some cellophane around it and tie with some ribbon. We always use cellophane when giving fruit baskets – the shiny wrap makes it seem extra special.
I love cinnamon sugared almonds, crisp biscotti, and toffee during the holidays. These are DUH holiday edible gifts. However, make sure to keep your friend’s waistline in mind. Everyone loves sweets, but we can’t always control ourselves when the counters are full of them. My solution is so simple it’s stupid. Just give smaller portions. (Read this refreshing post about moderation during the holidays.)
Buy small cellophane bags and fill them with a few pieces of each of your treats. They will look fabulous with a few pieces of ribbon in a basket.
You can also mix candy sweets with naturally sweet citrus.
Friends, those are my three tips for the best in edible gift giving. Think of dressy-comfort foods, simple packaging, and reasonable portion sizes. Your friends will be thankful and the gift will actually be eaten.
Happy yummy gift giving! Snap a photo of your edible gifts and share on the Don’t Panic Mom Facebook page! I wanna see!
You still have a few hours left to enter my cookbook giveaway! Head over to drool over this Roasted Chicken Sausage and Butternut Squash recipe and leave a comment to win a copy of A Well-Seasoned Kitchen by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper, retail price $34.95.