The holidays are here and that means two things: gifts and food. So why not unite the two to surprise your loved ones with an awesome Christmas food gift?
What makes homemade food gifts such a great idea is that they can save you time and money, while also showing people how much you care. Most Christmas gift recipes produce decent yields that can be split among a few recipients, meaning you can scratch a few names off your list in one fell swoop.
Edible gifts and homemade gifts are excellent for holiday parties, teachers’ gifts, or simply giving a loved one a little something tasty to boost enjoyment of the season. After all, food—particularly baked goods—tends to taste better when someone else makes it.
And with such a diverse array of seasonal delights to satisfy nearly any palate—from sweet tooth, to paleo, to gluten-free—all of the following food gifts can do a little good for the soul this season.
12 Homemade Christmas Food Gift Ideas
1. Christmas Cranberry Chia Seed Jam
Quick and easy, this chia seed jam is a great way to blend the flavors of the season into a (relatively) healthy spread. Lucky gift-getters can use it on bread, crackers, and more. It can easily fit into a custom or pre-bought holiday gift basket, or you can gift it separately with a festive ribbon tied around the neck of the jar.
Total Time: 15 minutes Yields: 8 ounces
- 10 oz fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (more if you like)
- Juice of 1 orange
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tsp orange extract (optional)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- Add all ingredients, except chia seed, to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the cranberries begin to break, or about seven to eight minutes. Turn the heat off and with a potato masher (or the back of a fork), break some of the cranberries that haven’t split, leaving a few untouched.
- Set pan aside to cool. When the mixture has cooled, add the chia seeds and combine. Transfer the mixture to an 8-oz Mason jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
2. Sweet Spice of the Season Nuts
These nuts are great at parties or as a seasonal snack to munch on when taking in a holiday movie. Further, they will make your home smell amazing while baking! Jar them up and pass them out to loved ones.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 1 hour Yields: 5 cups
- 1/2 cup maple sugar (or zero-calorie sweetener like stevia)
- 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 large egg white (2 tbsp liquid egg whites)
- 2 cups almonds
- 2 cups cashews
- Set the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together maple sugar (or sweetener), salt, and spices.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Pour in the almonds, cashews, and spiced maple sugar and toss.
- Spread the nuts onto the coated baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring once, until browned. Cool nuts on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally.
Once made, these fragrant nuts can be stored for up to two days in an airtight container like a Mason jar, gifted, and gobbled.
3. Mini Tourtiere Hors d’Oeuvres
Tourtieres are a hearty French-Canadian Christmas classic that will help keep friends warm during the cold weather. These bite-sized mini meat pies are a great potluck hors d’oeuvres. Drizzle a little bit of maple syrup over these meat pies to give them that extra Quebecois flare!
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes (for pie) Yields: 24 mini pies
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 3 tbsp cold vegetable shortening
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 lb extra-lean ground pork
- 3/4 cup diced onion (1 small to medium onion)
- 1 tsp minced garlic (1 garlic clove)
- 1/2 tsp dried summer savory, crumbled
- 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
For pastry (Can be made in advance and frozen, or made when meat cools):
- Add flour, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, mix in shortening and butter until the blend resembles coarse meal. Pour in milk, stirring with a fork, until a dough forms.
- If freezing, roll onto balls. If not freezing, roll out onto a lightly floured surface and cut out 24 rounds with a 3-inch cutter. Then cut out 24 pie tops using any cookie cutter shape you desire).
- In a large frying pan over medium heat, brown the ground pork with the onions, garlic, salt, savory, pepper, and allspice, for five to seven minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring regularly, for three to four minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow pork mixture to cool completely. (You can also make the pork filling one day ahead. Refrigerate covered and bring to room temperature before using.)
- If not made in advance, make pastry while the pork filling cools. Place oven rack in middle position and set oven to 425 F.
- Place pastry rounds in muffin cups and fill with meat (approximately 1 tbsp). Arrange tops on filling.
- Put pies in the preheated oven and bake pies for 15 to 17 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Lift pies out of muffin cups and transfer to a rack. Cool to warm, for about 15 minutes.
If you’re not gifting your mini-tourtieres for a while, they can be frozen so you can just grab them and go when you’re ready to deliver to a friend. For gifting in a day or two, refrigerate the mini-tourtiere, but tell the recipient they may want to place it in the freezer until ready to eat.
If you’re planning to give just one or a few away at a time, you can plastic-wrap the tourtiere and put it in a little box. Or, if you’re really feeling generous, wrap in plastic and place it atop a Mason jar of freshly baked Christmas beans before covering with cellophane and sealing with a bow!
For a dinner party, heat the pies prior to serving.
4. Holiday Bourbon Balls
What’s a holiday season without a sneaky touch of booze? Whether it’s a thick, dense rum cake or these gift-friendly bourbon balls, boozy baked goods are holiday staple. Do your co-workers a favor by gifting a batch of these to the lunchroom leading up to the holidays!
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 4 days Yields: 36 balls
- 3 cups pecans, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 4 tbsp organic raw honey
- 3 cups graham crackers or digestive biscuits, finely ground
- 6 tbsp bourbon whiskey
- Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans to a bowl and set aside.
- Add chocolate chips and honey to a saucepan over medium-low heat. Gently stir until mixture has completely melted.
- Quickly pour ground crackers (or biscuits), pecans, and whiskey into the saucepan and stir, until all ingredients are thoroughly blended. Use a teaspoon to scoop out mixture, and shape into a ball with your hands. Tip: Reheat mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds if it dries out or becomes too loose.
- Roll the balls in the remaining pecans, and place bourbon balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate; the flavor will reach full potential in four days.
A great way to package bourbon balls as a Christmas food gift is in a cardstock cone—just tell the recipient that if they don’t plan on eating them right away, they are good for up to four weeks if refrigerated in a covered container.
5. Chocolate-Dipped Pistachio Orange Slices
Gosh, can it ever be easy to forget about fruit during the holidays! But this time of year, you need as much vitamin C as you can get. Try these pistachio orange slices to provide a little vitamin C, some healthy fats, and, of course, a touch of chocolate to your holiday repertoire.
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes Yields: About 8 slices per orange
- 2 navel oranges, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup (3-1/2 oz) white chocolate chips
- chopped pistachios
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice the oranges about 1/4-inch thick, leaving the peel on, and arrange on baking sheets in a single layer.
- Dry slices in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning over halfway through cooking time.
- Turn the oven off to cool oranges.
- Add white chocolate chips to the top of a double boiler over lightly simmering water. Gently stir until chocolate has completely melted.
- Dip half of each orange slice into the melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped pistachio, let dry. Store in a glass container with an airtight lid.
Easily boxed up, these sweet and crunchy slices can be a terrific (and considerate) gift for a friend.
6. Christmas Crunch Granola
Homemade granola can be a bit of a healthy snack, but is it suitable for Christmas? Sure! Adding some crushed candy canes into the mix can splash Santa all over this treat! This is a great gift idea for your granola-loving niece or nephew. And don’t worry, it will still have all that healthy stuff they love so much!
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes Yields: 7 cups
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp raw sugar
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)
- 2/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup crushed candy canes
- Set oven to 300 F. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add oil, maple syrup, sugar, and salt to a large bowl and combine. Stir in oats, coconut, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds; coat evenly.
- Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 15 minutes, for 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Sprinkle dried cranberries and candy canes over top and toss.
This Christmas granola is best gifted in a Mason jar or oatmeal canister. Both will double as easy storage and are easy to wrap and decorate.
7. Paleo Gingerbread Cabin
A lot of ambition and thinking outside of the box can help you craft an alternative version of this Christmas classic. It’s a big job, so be sure to make it for somebody you really love! This Paleo gingerbread house uses real fruit and a host of healthful ingredients to create a truly unique edible gift.
Prep Time: 10 hours Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes Serves: 1 house (about 8 servings)
For Paleo gumdrops:
- 1 cup strawberries & cranberries (for pink gumdrops)
- 1 cup blueberries (for purple gumdrops)
- 1 cup chopped mango (for yellow gumdrops)
- 1 cup chopped green apple and spinach (for green gumdrops)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or water)
- 5 tbsp gelatin
For Paleo gingerbread cookies:
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses, warmed slightly
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup arrowroot flour (for rolling out dough)
For gluten-free icing:
- 6 tbsp liquid egg whites
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
- Blend all pink gumdrop ingredients together and either pipe into a gumdrop-shaped ice cube tray or pour onto a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet. Repeat for yellow, purple, and green gumdrops.
- If using an ice tray, freeze overnight, then break out of mold. Store in an uncovered container in the refrigerator until day of use.
- If using a baking sheet, let set in the refrigerator overnight, then cut circles out and store in an uncovered container in the refrigerator until day of use.
- On house construction day, place on a counter so that they completely dry, which will help them adhere to the frosting.
For gingerbread cookie:
- Whisk all dry ingredients together; in a separate bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and stir until evenly combined. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and set in refrigerator to cool and harden for four hours, or overnight.
- On a large piece of parchment paper well dusted with arrowroot flour, start rolling out the dough until it’s 1/4-inch thick. Use gingerbread house stencils to measure and cut pieces.
- Carefully place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Resize with stencils on baking sheet if necessary.
- Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet before moving. When cooled, transfer to a wire baking rack to cool and firm overnight.
For gluten-free icing:
- On high speed, whisk the egg whites and lemon juice together until a thick foam forms. On low speed, carefully add spoonsful of the 3 cups powdered sugar until all is combined. Turn up the speed to high and whisk for six minutes.
- Transfer to piping bag, color in bowls, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- On a platter or plate, pipe frosting with a star-shaped tip to form the outline of one piece of the gingerbread house. Place the piece and hold in place until firm (about one minute). Pipe the bottom of the next piece and siding with original. Place piece and hold. 2. Continue until all foundation pieces are set. Pipe the roofline with a generous amount of frosting and place roof pieces at the same time. Hold in place until set (about two minutes).
- Using a small, circular tip, pipe all decorative accents on house. Decorate with gumdrops and chocolate chips, as you like! Cut the gumdrops in half for a smaller application.
8. No-Bake Paleo Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
Chocolate mint fudge and, depending on your commitment to that Paleo life, candy cane-fudge are seasonal gifts from the heavens. This Paleo-friendly recipe can help ensure your extreme-dieting friend remains part of the party. To make it a gift, just put a bar into a simple butter dish and tie with a ribbon.
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes Serves: 16
- 20 fresh dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- Crushed candy canes (optional, if not committed to Paleo)
- Soak dates in boiling water for 10 minutes to soften. Drain.
- Add dates and almond butter to a blender (or food processor) and blend for one to two minutes, or until smooth. Pour in the cacao, coconut oil, vanilla, and peppermint extract and blend for about one minute. Press the mixture into a 10 cm x 20 cm slice tray lined with non-stick parchment paper and press the almond (and crushed candy canes, if using) into the top.
- Freeze for one hour, or until set. Slice into two-centimeter-long logs to serve.
9. Winter-Spiced Whiskey Marmalade
When it’s cold outside, getting warm in a hurry is priority No. 1. Showing friends and family you care by gifting them with some whiskey-spiced marmalade will warm them up in no time.
Easily spreadable and with a decent kick from the whiskey and peppercorns, this easy-to-make holiday treat offers a quick respite from the cold.
- 2 cups mix of lemons, oranges, and clementines
- 5 cups raw sugar
- 1 tsp pink peppercorns
- 2 oz whisky
- Slice the fruits in half, squeezing the juices into a large saucepan. Remove peel and set aside. Add flesh to the pan with 4 1/4 cups of water and boil for 15 minutes. Line a sieve with muslin and push mixture through. Return liquid extracted to the pan.
- Chop the peel and place in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover and bring to boiling. Drain and repeat twice.
- Add peel to the large saucepan, then add the sugar. Boil for 35 to 45 minutes, until the marmalade has reached its setting point, watching carefully to prevent boiling over.
- Remove from the heat and add 1 tsp pink peppercorns. Let cool briefly, then stir in 1.7 oz whisky. Ladle into sterilized jars and seal. Will keep for up to one year.
To spruce up the package, all you need is some burlap, colorful twine, and a holiday gift tag. Take your Mason jar lid and separate the inside from the outer rim, placing a square of burlap between the pieces. Decorate with the twine and tag, and you’re all set.
10. Mulled Wine Jar
This just might be the ultimate Mason jar gift. Add each of these ingredients to the jar (sans-wine) and set your friend up for a nice afternoon on one of these cold winter days.
- 4 candied orange slices
- 4 cinnamon sticks, halved
- 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
- 2 tbsp whole cloves
- 1 tbsp whole allspice berries
- 6 star anise pods
- Grab an 8-oz glass jar, 5×5-inch fabric square, ribbon, and scissors.
- Layer ingredients in the jar in the following order: orange slices, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and anise pods.
- Place fabric between inside and outer rim of the jar, seal, tie with ribbon, and include instructions to say:
“In a large sauce pan, combine spice mix with two 750 ml bottles of full-bodied red wine. Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes, then strain. Add honey to taste.”
11. Chocolate Christmas Bark, Superfood Style
Who doesn’t want a taste of chocolate over the holidays? This Christmas food gift recipe can help a loved one satisfy their sweet tooth, while also getting a nice hit of nutrient-dense superfoods like pistachio and goji berries.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Serves: 4
- 7 oz (1/2 lb) dark chocolate
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp goji berries
- 2 tbsp pistachios (shelled and halved)
- 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
- Line an 8×8-inch dish with parchment paper.
- Break chocolate into small pieces and add to the top of a double boiler over medium-low, stirring continuously until melted. Mix in vanilla.
- Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared dish. Sprinkle goji berries, pistachios, and coconut on top.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set. Can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.
When you’re ready to gift, break the bark into pieces and place it in a Christmas-themed cookie tin.
12. Lemon Gingersnap Cookies
Perhaps surprisingly, not everyone wants booze or chocolate in a holiday food gift. For them, the lemon gingersnap cookie is a perfect fit. It’s got seasonal tastes like ginger, cinnamon, and molasses, while lending itself nicely to the addition of dried cranberry. A little batch of these cookie sandwiches can go a long way for a friend or loved one.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ginger, finely ground
- 1 tsp cinnamon, finely ground
- 1 stick unsalted butter, plus 2 tbsp softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Set the oven to 350 F. Place racks in the upper and lower third positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat at medium speed until fluffy, or three minutes. Add the egg and molasses. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until incorporated, scraping down the bowl.
- Working in two batches, drop scant tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheets, three inches apart. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, until risen and fallen and slightly firm; shift the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through for even baking. Let cool slightly, then transfer the parchment paper to racks and let the cookies cool completely. Bake the remaining cookies.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in the lemon juice.
- Arrange the cookies in pairs on a large work surface. Spoon or pipe one rounded tablespoon of the lemon filling onto the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with the remaining cookies, pressing them together so the filling spreads to the edge.
You can put the cookies in a Christmas-themed cookie tin, place a few in a small holiday-themed takeout-shaped box (available in craft stores), or tie them up individually in cellophane with a festive ribbon.
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