There is no Season for Giving. I give whenever I feel like it, and I’m very lucky to live in a country where children are the only ones who expect gifts for Christmas.
But when I do give, I like to give something I made myself. It’s usually inexpensive edible holiday gifts, but they are still meaningful. So as the Season for Advertisers to Convince Us to Go Broke Buying Stuff Most People Won’t Like Anyway approaches, let me give you a few ideas for edible, homemade gifts that will please your friends without sending you to the poorhouse.
Wrap them beautifully in reused craft paper, and decorate with pretty baubles made with scraps of paper you’ve saved from other projects, and they will be as pretty as they’ll be delicious.
Secret Santas? Family gift exchanges? I have the solution for you.
Here’s some ideas for inexpensive food gifts for your family and friends:
1. Homemade Dominican Seasoning Powder:
Make a good batch of it, pack it in jars you’ve saved (after you’ve cleaned them thoroughly). You’ll be remembered every time your giftee cooks with this healthy, natural sazón.
2. Danish Butter Cookies
I have no idea how Danish butter cookies came to be so popular in our country for Christmas. Some time ago I posted the recipe for some superb homemade traditional Danish butter cookies. This handmade gift bag is perfect for packing them (make sure to put them in a zippy bag before).
3. Mambá (Spicy, Savory Peanut Butter).
This is not your typical supermarket peanut butter. First of all, you can spell all the ingredients, second, it’s sugar-free, and third, it’s spicy. Yes, spicy. And crazy good. I call it “peanut butter for grownups”. Look at the pretty jars in the pictures for ideas on how to make them into beautiful gifts.
4. Ponche Navideño (Christmas Eggnog)
There is a whole cottage industry in the Dominican Republic whereby women (there could be men, but I’ve never met one) make delicious varieties of eggnog and sell them to be given as gifts. The decorations are incredible. The link above is for the traditional rum eggnog, but I highly recommend this coffee liqueur eggnog.
5. Carrot, Ginger and Coconut Cake
Everybody hates fruitcakes, so forget about that. How about a combination of one of our traditional Christmas flavors (ginger) and one of our beloved ingredients (coconuts). Who can say no to that?
6. Agrio de Naranja (Spicy Bitter Orange Vinegar):
There are so many pretty bottles and jars we can save, then make this flavorful seasoning. Click on to the recipe to see the pretty jar I made for it. You’ll be in their mind every time they go “ooohh, aaaah!” after a few drops of this elixir of the gods in their food.
7. Dulce de Tomate (Tomato Jam)
This is an unusual jam, but one you’ll try once and love forever. Check the recipe and look at the pictures of that beautifully decorated jar. Wouldn’t you love to receive something so obviously made with love?
8. Memelos (Coconut Fudge-Filled Popsicles)
Click on the link, look at these beautifully wrapped lollipops. Imagine biting through the hard caramel shell into a creamy, luscious filling of coconut fudge. Bring them into your office and become the most popular person of the year.
9. Licor de Mandarina (Mandarin Liqueur)
Mandarin orange is a fruit that in a Dominican’s mind is a reminder of Christmas. This mandarin liqueur is, in the words of a reader, “a refined way to deliver rum”. I’ll take his word for it.
10. Dominican Sazón/Sofrito
There’s no possible way you will give this to a Dominican and they won’t appreciate it. This is perfect for those days short on time when they’d love some Dominican flavor in their food. Save some pretty jars and go around spreading the joy of Dominican flavor like a fairy godmother of scrumptiousness.
I always have kraft paper at home, they are one of my favorite ways of wrapping things (the dark kraft paper is reused from store bags, but don’t tell anyone). I used a gold sharpie to draw asterisks (the lousy drawer’s star) on the paper, then made baubles with bits of colorful papers from my scrap stash, some washi tape, pretty cotton string, and there you have it. Easy peasy.
So, any other ideas for edible gifts? I’d love to hear them!