For the next installment of our Simplifying Christmas series, I’m going to talk about simple gifts you have make and give: food!
Food-based gifts are awesome, especially if you or the person your giving them too prefer to be more minimal and not have a ton of extra stuff around their house.
Since food is consumable and everyone needs it, food-based Christmas gifts are the perfect way to show your loved ones you’re thinking about them!
You probably have most of the ingredients for these foods in your pantry or fridge already, so they’re also perfect for those last-minute gifts you need to put together.
And if you’ve already done your Christmas baking and have no idea how you and your family will ever eat all the cookies sitting on your kitchen counter, putting them in a cute container is a great way to spread the love!
Christmas and cookies, the ultimate pairing. They also make an awesome gift.
And there are so many different kinds you can make! Below are some of my favorites, but feel free to add your family’s favorites to this list!
Note: If you’re giving any of these foods as gifts, make sure you know about any allergies. If there are any, there are lots of allergy-friendly recipes for most of these cookie recipes.
Making sugar cookies has always been one of my best memories of Christmas baking. While other types of cookies were rotated in or out depending on what we felt like making, sugar cookies have always been a staple.
The recipe we use is from my mom’s aunt. It includes sour cream, which keeps the cookies moist. Here’s a similar one I found!
You can get your kids involved making this gift and they can help with rolling, cutting, frosting, and even packaging the cookies!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
While chocolate chip cookies aren’t really a Christmas cookie, my husband and brother love them.
These cookies usually make their way into our Christmas baking list when we ask “What kind of cookie do you want us to make?”
Instead of listing something more “Christmas-y” or something we don’t make as often, they list their all-time favorite cookie.
There’s nothing wrong with that at all, and the chocolate chip cookies are usually gone long before the others anyway due to their popularity.
If you’re not sure what kind of cookies to give someone, especially if they or a family member is a picky eater, you can (almost) never go wrong with a classic chocolate chip cookie!
I’ve also heard these called “Top of Stove” cookies due to the way you make them. You may have different name for them entirely.
Regardless of what you call them, these cookies contain peanut butter, chocolate, and oatmeal, so they’re sure to be a crowd pleaser, especially with kids.
Here is a recipe that is very similar to my family’s recipe. We prefer to use old-fashioned oats, but I know some people also make them with quick oats for a finer texture.
I’ve never actually made these myself before, but I love eating them. The combination of the molasses and spices makes for a nice, warm taste that’s a welcome change from sweets that taste like pure sugar.
Here’s a recipe for you to try yourself!
When I was younger, I could never keep gingersnaps and snickerdoodles straight in my head, despite them being completely different cookies.
While gingersnaps contain most of their flavor in the cookie part, snickerdoodles gain their signature flavor from being rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
If you’re looking for a simple cookie you can make in tons of shapes (I mean, in addition to sugar cookies), spritz cookies are fun to make and to give!
Whether you have manual cookie press or a battery-operated one like I have, these cookies are so simple to both mix up and shape. The dough only includes a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably have in your pantry or fridge already.
Once you load the dough into the cookie press, all that’s left to do is press the button or lever, and voila, spritz cookies!
Double Chocolate Cookies
While these aren’t specifically Christmas, you can’t go wrong with a chocolate cookie full of chocolate chips.
If you want to make them festive, you could mix in some candy cane pieces or even bits of candy bars.
Peanut Butter Ritz Sandwich Cookies
Ahh, the ultimate Christmas “cookie” that isn’t even a cookie. I don’t know who invented these tiny treats, but they certainly have taken off and gained popularity around Christmas.
While most families probably make these themselves, you can never go wrong with giving them more. They’ve probably already finished theirs anyway.
As I mentioned above, these are one cookie that you’ll have to make sure no one in the house has a peanut butter allergy before you send them some. Even if you send other cookies that don’t contain peanut butter, having them next to each other may cause issues for some people.
Skillet cookies are a little more unique than the other cookies on this list.
This cookie contains Rice Krispies for a bit of crunchy and dried dates that give the cookies their sweetness and almost a caramel-like taste. Plus the coconut they’re rolled in kind of looks like snow!
If you’re the only one in your house who eats these cookies, including them as part of a cookie assortment in a gift can be a great way to share them and introduce others to the wonderful tradition that is skillet cookies!
Okay, so I guess I don’t have that many different kinds of cupcake suggestions other than vanilla and chocolate, but there are so many different ways to decorate them!
Just search “Christmas Cupcakes” on Pinterest, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find lots of cute ideas to make your cupcakes festive!
Some ideas for decorating cupcakes include:
- Christmas trees (individual cupcakes or as a cupcake cake)
- Candy canes (as a cupcake cake)
- Just frosting and sprinkles!
Just like sugar cookies, fudge is just one of those things that you have to have at Christmas. My grandma always made it with a recipe that called for Marshmallow Fluff, and it was amazing. Not great for you by any stretch of the imagination, but amazing nonetheless.
More recently, we’ve made fudge using a super simple recipe that only requires three ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, butter, and chocolate chips. You can use whatever type of chips you want or add other mixing like nuts.
As you can imagine from the ingredients, this fudge is really sweet, which is why we usually cut into 1-inch squares. Since it’s so rich, it’s also the perfect addition to a box of Christmas cookies you’re giving as a gift so you can spread the sweetness around!
I’ve never actually make this, but I want to this year! This recipe looks really good, so I’ll let you know if we try it and how it goes.
This is one of the easiest Christmas candies ever. You literally just melt some chocolate chips or almond bark and sprinkle on some toppings then let it set. That’s it!
Change up the types of chocolate (or do a swirl) and toppings to make all sorts of flavors!
Chocolate-covered Pretzel Rods
You can make these at the same time as the Christmas bark, since they take mostly the same ingredients.
In fact, make these first and then pour the leftover almond bark on some waxed paper for your Christmas bark.
I like using the really big pretzel rods, but you could also dip regular-shaped pretzels (not the mini sticks) and add sprinkles to them as well.
Okay, so bread might not be specifically Christmas or overly festive, but homemade bread can make a wonderful gift! And you don’t even have to stick to a regular loaf of bread, either.
There are so many fun options for shaping them, such as:
Dinner Rolls (pair with a jam or jelly, see my next point)
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even make your loved ones a sourdough loaf with just flour, water, and sourdough starter.
Lisa at Farmhouse on Boone, has some good instructions on how to make sourdough bread (if you already have a starter). She also has instructions on how to make your own starter if you don’t have one or know someone you can get some from.
If you like canning during the summer, those preserves can make awesome Christmas gifts!
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Veggies
- Pie Filling
- Canned Soup (if you’re braver than me and know how to use a pressure canner)
These ideas could also pair well with some of the above items, especially the bread and rolls in the last section.
“ ” in a Jar
I’ve seen these gifts all over Pinterest, and they’re so cute!
You can turn basically any recipe that primarily calls for dry ingredients into a gift in a jar. Just remember to attach the instructions so the recipient knows what to do!
Ideas for Gifts in a Jar include:
- Hot Chocolate Mix (with marshmallows!)
- Cookie Mix
- Pancake/Waffle Mix (maybe even with a small container of syrup)
- Chili or other Bean-Based Soup Mix
- You could also do a rice-based soup, like this one
- Any other ideas you (or Pinterest) can come up with!
That’s all I have for today! What are your favorite food-based Christmas gifts to give or receive?