Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

CATEGORIES: Christmas, Sara
You know how before your kids are in school, you think, “Oh, when my kids go to school, I’ll have all sorts of free time to do whatever I want to do!” That, my friends, is a parenting fallacy (this is Kate, by the way, even if the post says it was by Sara). Yes, when my kids were itty bitty, I got a lot less sleep (and also once had a meltdown because all I wanted was my own water bottle that I didn’t have to share with anyone), but it wasn’t like I was being pulled in 10 million directions every second. And at Christmas, it only gets worse. Christmas parties, programs, dance recitals, teacher gifts, neighbor gifts, work gifts, throw in the inevitable stomach flu or strep throat, and things get crazy.
Which is why I’m posting our annual Christmas roundup 13 hours late. Can y’all forgive me?
Sara and I are huge on the fact that just because the holidays are busy doesn’t mean you can’t do at least some of the things that you want to do. I love, love, love taking gifts to our neighbors and co-workers. It’s one of those things that gives me the warm fuzzies. I also don’t want it to be more stressful than absolutely necessary, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite ideas, old and new, to help you get excited about things you can make for those you love (and maybe a few that you don’t, but you’re playing nice…)
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Christmas Tin Can Treats!
On Father’s Day this year, we made Tin Can Treats with the kids at church for their dads and grandpas and I can safely say they were universally loved–the kids loved making them, the dads loved getting them, and they were so easy that a whole bunch of rowdy kids from 3-11 were able to make them look adorable. These are the perfect way to package things that are always kind of awkward like candy or gift cards!
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Chips & Salsa
My favorite treat that we get every year from one of my friends is a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of her homemade salsa. I seriously look forward to it throughout the whole month of December. And it doesn’t even need to be “canned” salsa–just put some of this salsa (which is perfect because it makes a lot) or this salsa into canning jars and then instruct your gift-ees to refrigerate it as soon as possible.
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Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
Who doesn’t love chocolate and peppermint? I’m sure there are some of you out there, but it’s one of our favorite combos. These cookies are super easy, delicious, and sure to impress everyone you share them with!
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Creamy Chocolate Fudge
If you’re scared about making candy, this is a great place to start! This recipe for fudge makes so much and is so quick that you’ll be able to spend all your extra time doing something super awesome. Like folding laundry.
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Peppermint Bark Rice Krispie Treats
Chocolate? Good. Peppermint? Good. Rice Krispies? Good. Peppermint marshmallows? Gooood. Seriously, how can you go wrong here with these Peppermint Bark Rice Krispie Treats?
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Dipped Marshmallow Pops

These quick and easy, adorable dipped marshmallow pops are fun to do with your kids! Try popping them into some hot chocolate!

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Peppermint Bark Popcorn
Easy and scrumptious. Get creative with your container and package up a batch of Peppermint Bark Popcorn. One batch goes a long way so there’s lots to share!
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Peppermint Candycane Brownies

These sweet brownies are bursting with holiday cheer. A dense fudgy brownie is topped with a cool minty layer and then a sinful layer of chocolate. Crushed candycanes give it the finishing touch! Get the recipe here.
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Hot Fudge Sauce

This easy fudge sauce might be the best you’ve ever tasted, and the easiest you’ve ever made. Give it alone, or for mega bonus points-along with some peppermint ice cream.

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Easy Pretzel Turtles
Three ingredients and 10 minutes will get you these little cuties. But be careful, they’re addicting! Don’t blame us for the 5 extra pounds… 😉 Recipe found here.
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Homemade Marshmallows


Plain or chocolate dipped, these are both fun and pretty! Find the tutorial here.

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Rolled Fabric Flowers


These adorable flowers are an easy gift or a way to embellish wrapped presents!
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Buttermilk Syrup

Tie a ribbon around a cute jar filled with Buttermilk Syrup.Give it along with a box of pancake and waffle mix, or even some homemade ice cream!Or instead of buttermilk syrup, try the same idea with this Fresh Strawberry Syrup.
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Iced Sugar Cookies

You can never go wrong with a batch of classic sugar cookies. Cut out holiday shapes or create a custom design on top. Follow this tutorial for Glace Icing for cookies that will be ready to stack up and pack up!
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Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars

These fudgy cupcake jars don’t even need an introduction! These are perfect for friends, teachers, and also people who might live alone and don’t want a whole plate of cookies.
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Gingerbread Cookies

That actually taste yummy! Can’t get more classic than these.
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Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

This recipe is great when you’re baking for lots and lots of people because it makes a ton of these adorable, festive cookies–that is if they can make it to your friends and neighbors before you and your family eat them all!
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Fruity Candied Popcorn
If you’re looking for something quick and easy, this Fruity Candied Popcornis an option. Pick any color combo for a festive gift. Always a hit with the kiddos too!
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Sugar Scrub

Who says gifts from the kitchen have to be edible?? Mix up this sugar scrub for a luxurious shower treat that will leave your skin silky smooth. Try a candycane version by using white sugar instead of brown, and adding a few drops of peppermint oil instead of the spices.
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Dipped Pretzel Rods
Another quick and easy treat. Dipped Pretzel Rods seem to be a hit with both kids and adults and they are simple to dress up! Check out this tutorial for lots of great tips!
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Apple Cider Caramels

Everyone loves homemade caramels at Christmas time and these ones offer a unique twist with cider and cozy wintertime spices.
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Multigrain Bread in a Jar

If you’d like to give something hearty and satisfying, make up this bread in a jar mix. It’s a no-knead version, so your friends might enjoy learning a new technique as well.
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Chili Seasoning MixAll sugared out?? This Chili Spice Mix is a gift that keeps on giving as your friends will use it all winter long. Get the recipe here as well as instructions on the free downloads for the darling tags and packaging designed by Lollychops.

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Peanut Brittle

Definitely a classic! Check out this post for Kate’s great Peanut Brittle Recipe.
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Chocolate Toffee Sugar Cookies

These are simple to make and elegant to look at. Plus they stack nicely for packaging.
Get the recipe right here.
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Almond Poppyseed BreadAlmond Poppyseed Bread is the perfect quick bread for holiday giving.
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Pie in a Jar

These darling pie jars are perfect for gifts. You’ll find a link on this post to free tags (by Lollychops) and labels to download!

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Ginger Spice Cookies

These might be the perfect holiday cookie. Warm spices and chewy, crinkly tops. The fact that they’re quick and easy is a bonus! Get the recipe here.
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Garlic Bread Seasoning

Another savory option- how about this garlic bread seasoning? Pop it in a jar with a ribbon and give it with a loaf of bread. A cute kitchen towel would be icing on the cake!

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Cinnamon Bun Popcorn

I love making this Cinnamon Bun Popcornfor gifts because it looks gourmet and fancy but is a cinch to whip up! It packages great in cellophane bags. Tie on a bow and you’re set.

Double Chocolate Waffle Mix

I was thrilled to see the dry ingredients in this mix worked great (and fit perfectly) into a pint-sized jar! The fabulous Lolly whipped up some tags for me so you can put the recipe right on the jar. How happy would you be if someone gave you chocolate waffles?! Head over toLollychops to print the free labels!
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Penguin Cupcakes

If you tuned into Studio 5 today, you may have seen us making these little darlings.
Click here for the tutorial.
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The Our Best Bites Calendar

We hope this gives you some new ideas, or at least gets you in the holiday spirit! We’ll be adding things to this post as the month goes on. If you’ve found things here you like, we’d love for you to share this post with family and friends!


  1. This might be my favorite post I've seen yet! I am a teacher in a school of over 2,000 students and 100 teachers. I am always looking for inexpensive gifts to give over the holidays and this post is FULL of perfect homemade gifts. LOVE IT!

    I think my favorite is the chili packet.

    Happy Monday!

  2. I made the peppermint brownies last year for my mom's birthday (it's on the 15th of Dec) and they are DIVINE! I'm thinking we make the colored popcorn for our neighbors.

  3. Too bad we can't just come over and fill our tins with all the goodies on that post! I'll be tuning into Studio 5 in just another 26 minutes!

  4. Have I told you lately how fabulous you are!?
    I don't EVER have to buy another magazine or cookbook!
    It's lovelies like YOU that make blogging so fun!
    Thanks for sharing all that you do!

  5. I'm seriously considering making some of these things as gifts because we are definitely low on funds. Everything looks great, decisions!

  6. I have been making the peppermint bark popcorn since before Thanksgiving this season. My husband and I LOVE it! And the peppermint brownies…SO GOOD! Love your recipes girls, just love them!

  7. What great timing! I was trying to decide what to make for my homemade gift giving this year. Where do you find the jars for the garlic seasoning?

    thanks so much for so many great ideas!

  8. Wow, thank you sooooo much for these recipes. I've recently discovered your blog and am so motivated. I've made cookie mix in a jar for friends and am now off to try the cinnamon bun popcorn and maybe the bread mix in a jar too!! Thanks SO much for sharing.

  9. You guys are INCREDIBLE!!!! You are always meeting me needs before I even realize I need something! For the chocolate waffles, did you just use the smaller canning jar?

  10. I love it all! You were great on t.v. Thanks for posting the links on facebook. Seeing the Snoqualmie Falls pancake mix made me smile Sara.

  11. Wow, this is such a great list! You search the internet for homemade gifts and it takes forever to sort through ones that actually look good. And here you have a whole slew of great ideas! Love it!

    Oh, and love all the cute labels! Thanks LollyChops!

  12. so the other day i was looking at cookbooks and thought to myself i needed a new one, then i thought "no I don't" i have you guys!
    you are amazing and I am seriously willing to pay to see your site, it is wonderful. congrats on the great press.
    and when you publish a cookbook, i will buy 20!

  13. everything pink- that's the sweetest comment, thank you! And when we publish a cook book, we're going to hold you to your promise ;)haha

    To those asking about the garlic bread seasoning jar, I bought it at Bed Bath and Beyond. Stores like that have lots of cute little shakers like that and they're cheap!

  14. I love all of these ideas! just tried the sugar scrub – so nice, and am going to Costco in the morning to get some spices for chili mix. These ideas are really going to help me use up my stash of old baby food jars.

  15. Great gift ideas and gorgeous photos. Though I think I would have to make extra for us at home… maybe I'll make 'em for the hubby and say it's his gift….? 😀

  16. Hi, how long does the flavored popcorn last? Do they (the peppermint bark one) stay fresh a few days? I was planning on making some tonight for my daughter's school party tomorrow afternoon. Could you email me back? Thank you!

  17. thanks for encouraging homemade food gifts this Christmas. we are strapped for cash, but i still wanted to give friends something. you gave me the nudge i needed to get in the kitchen after work each day.

    made the buttermilk syrup as a test batch for us…no one else will get that this year! next year, though…also made homemade caramels for coworkers and banana breads for friends and chocolate chip biscotti for neighbors.

    thanks for all you share! merry Christmas, y'all…

  18. Sara, did you know that there is a store in Boise that could also be called "syrup heaven"???…CASH & CARRY! You can get the Toasted Marshmallow syrup or basically any other kind of syrup there–and for less than $4 a jar! Here is the address: 1700 W Shoreline Dr, Boise. It is a restaurant supply store that is open to the public. Your life will never be the same:)

  19. I asked my sister in law for your cookbook for Christmas. Her Amazon box came yesterday and I had to peek…IT IS IN THERE!! But now I have to tape it up and wait to open it and act surprised because my husband doesn’t know I opened the box. PS I have your calendar already and I LOVE it!

  20. I made your Cinnamon Bun Popcorn last year, and have already had SEVERAL requests to make it again this year! I think I want to add something else to the mix this year, maybe the cider caramels? Hmmmm….. I love you two! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful families! 😀

  21. You guys are the greatest! I made your Candy Cane Kiss Cookies for my friends last year and everyone loved them so much that I’m going to make them again this year. I love your blog and cookbook and I’m looking forward to getting your calendar (I’m pretty sure my husband is giving it to me for Christmas :)). I have been Pinning your yummy recipes to my Pinterest board…when you find something wonderful you’ve got to share it with the world right?!! Thank you!

  22. I had a dessert night as a finals week relief, made the caramels, rice krispie treats, fudge, and caramel corn. Everyone loved it!
    On a side note, it seems like the link to the sugar scrub is broken.

  23. The link for the Multigrain Bread in a Jar wasn’t working. It just made me search.

    I found it, but you might want to find the URL in this post 🙂

  24. Wow! So many great ideas! Thanks.

    I tried the Peppermint Brownies earlier this week and they were the BEST brownies I have ever had! Thank you!!!

  25. Gracias por las maravillosas ideas adapto algunas pues en mexico algunas cosas no hay y por la altura. Cuando pueda quiero comprar el libro sera que en Cd de mexico lo encuentre (alguna capilla o en el Templo)

  26. Thank you!!! I still have quite a few gifts to give and this helps a lot. 2 of my 3 kids have male teachers this year and I don’t think a cutesy clipboard or some flower pens is going to cut it. I think we’ll go for yummy treats instead! 🙂

  27. Thank you so much for posting this. I have been trying to figure out what to do for our neighbors and after reading this post, I have two great ideas and my mouth is watering! You guys are awesome 🙂 Thanks again!

  28. Such cute ideas–you guys sure are great at making things look gorgeous! I’m too impatient and practical so mine usually look pretty boring. I give a lot of neighbor gifts each year, so to make it easier I’ve started giving recipes printed on 4 x 6 photo cards. I was also wondering if you let people use your pictures for something like that. I didn’t use your recipes this year, but most likely will next year (all my friends were telling me to do your fudge recipe next year!–plus I love pretty much all your recipes and would love to share). I always include the website where I got the recipe and picture, but just wanted to check to see if that’s okay with you guys.

  29. I made the peppermint Rice Krispie treats the other day and my kids gobbled them up so fast, I didn’t have time to package them up, so today I made the chili spice mix, thinking they wouldn’t eat that! But we had the chili for dinner, and my youngest son declared it might be the best chili ever. Thanks for all the great ideas in one place.

  30. RECIPES, recipes, and more recipes. LOVE ‘EM ALL. I have missed a few from the past, but NOW I have them. Thanks a MILLION for taking time to do this, as it will make our holiday super speical with all your treats. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  31. So many amazing little food gifts! I already decided to give out peanut butter truffles, Oreo truffles and rum balls but all of these look great. And I still need to make that peppermint popcorn for myself. The peppermint Rice Krispie treats look incredible, drool.

  32. Great ideas! I think anyone would be happy to receive your buttermilk syrup. It’s wicked good (as they say here in Maine). I want to try your cupcake jars! There are many people who just want a little sweet treat, not a whole plate of it.

    We’ve given away a few of the cookbooks this Christmas and got one for ourselves.

    Merry Christmas!

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