Secret Santas? Family gift exchanges? I have the solution for you. Here are some ideas for inexpensive homemade edible gifts so you can treat your family and friends. From candy and sweet snacks to savory surprises, you'll love these DIY food gifts for your foodie friends.
Why we ❤️ it
From the recipient's point of view, a homemade gift says the giver has devoted extra time, effort, creativity, and thought. It's a more personal touch than a store-bought present. Homemade gifts can also be fun to make, for example, this is an activity that parents and kids can enjoy together. Homemade gifts are also more environmentally sustainable, especially if you reuse containers to pack them in.
These are some reasons to give homemade edible gifts.
Not just for Christmas
These suggestions and ideas are good for any time of the year when gift-giving is in order, like birthdays, Mother's Day, the end of the school year, or for no particular reason except you felt like showing your appreciation for someone special.
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 Christmas gifts.
When I do give, I like to give something I made myself. Usually inexpensive homemade food gifts, but 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, DIY gifts that will please your friends without sending you to the poorhouse.
Pretty and eco-friendly
Be creative and reuse containers you have around the home, such as jars, bottles, boxes, and bags to preserve natural resources, reduce waste and save a few pennies in the process. Wrap them beautifully in reused craft paper, and decorate them with brightly colored baubles made with scraps of paper you've saved from other projects, and they will be as attractive as they'll be delicious.
Inexpensive edible food gift ideas
Here are some great homemade edible gift ideas that are inexpensive, and can be made by cooks with every level of expertise.
Make a good batch of it, and pack it in repurposed jam jars you've saved (after you've cleaned and dried them thoroughly) or mason jars. Add a small wooden spoon (optional) to the gift.
You'll be remembered every time the recipient cooks with this healthy, natural sazón.
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. Reuse a tin container, big jars, or make this handmade gift bag, which is perfect for packing them (make sure to put them in a zippy bag before).
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".
Put it in a pretty jar for a beautiful gift, and maybe add some homemade casabe (or store-bought) to your gift.
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 you can pick from Coffee eggnog, Chocolate eggnog, and even a Vegan eggnog.
Everybody hates fruitcakes, so forget about that. How about a combination of one of our traditional Christmas flavors (with spices like ginger and cinnamon) and one of our beloved ingredients (coconuts). Who can say no to that?
There are so many pretty bottles and jars we can save, then make this flavorful seasoning. Click on 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.
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?
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.
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.
An instant Chocolate de agua mix is an idea you may not have thought about. Prepare a jar with the dry ingredients: powdered or solid dark chocolate, sugar, and spices for making this traditional, fragrant dairy-free hot cocoa.
The recipient will just have to boil the hot chocolate mix to make it!
How to pack
How you package it is important: if it is a liquid gift like Ponche or Licor de mandarina, make sure the bottle top fastens securely to avoid leakages. If it is a sweet gift like cookies, fudge, or biscuits, the container must be well sealed to maintain freshness and keep out the ants.
So, have you got any more ideas for homemade gifts? I'd love to hear them!
A homemade gift says you have devoted extra time and effort to add your personal touch. A homemade gift is also more environmentally friendly and can be a fun activity to make with the whole family.
The best food gifts are portable and durable. You want to give something that can travel without getting crushed, and that will not spoil, so ideally not something that has to be kept in the fridge.
If you're looking for a traditionally Dominican edible Christmas gift, go for homemade Ponche or Licor de mandarina, seasonal treats like apples and nuts repackaged in pretty containers, and butter cookies.
Published Nov 17, 2013, revised