Christmas gifts made with love

I make a lot of things with my hands, so I usually plan out my Christmas giving a few months in advance Some things cannot be made at the last minute, like cold process soaps that must cure for a month (even if I’ve cut it close a few times). Handknits requires another kind of long-term planning: first I have to choose a pattern, then buy the right yarn and knit the gift, taking into account the inevitable mistakes and life getting in the way.

spicednutsMiniI’m not totally anti-shopping: I often add in something store-brought to my gifts, like tea, a good book or crafting supplies. But for the last year, I’ve been busy with the new house and garden, so the crafting and shopping time was cut a bit short. To make sure everything still got a nice gift made with love, which is the best kind in my opinion, I choose to give food baskets instead. Those are a bit less work than crafts and can be done all at the same time over a few weekends.

My boyfriend was also a big help in getting them done, and a few of the baskets are for his family. Right now everyone on our list is an adult, and we all have tons of stuff in our houses already. An extra decorative candle or basket would only be more clutter that gather dusts, and we all have the money to go buy the things we need without waiting for a Christmas gift. Consumable gifts are a great way to fight clutter: it will be enjoyed, but it will eventually be gone. I’ll give out more handmade items in the future as I learn new crafts, but food gifts will always have their place now.

This year, we’re giving out the following in our baskets :

  • Spiced Sugared Ginger Pecans from Mrs Wheelbarrow kitchen, pictured above. The spice mix is already perfect, but I used peanuts, pecans and almonds instead of just pecans. Also, I added brown sugar instead of granulated sugar. I bought something similar at a Christmas fundraiser a few years ago and I really liked it, so I wanted to spread the love.
  • Mini fruit cakes : I know it’s a cliché, but handmade fruit cakes are in a whole other league than store-brought one. I’ve been brushing them with alcohol every week starting at the beginning of December and they should be delicious by Christmas.
  • Gingerbread cookies : those were a hit last year, so I’m doing them again. We’ll throw in Greek Christmas cookies too: Mr. DIYist is in charge of this and the first taste test was very promising.
  • Roasted Chex Mix from Food in Jars. This is last recipe I have to make for my baskets before Christmas. I have not tested it yet but with the glowing comments I’m sure it will be good. I found the recipe while looking for more salty things to balance the sugary ones.

What are you making for the people on your list this Christmas? Or have you eliminated the gift-giving completely?

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