A common refrain heard around the holidays is, "I don't want a present. I just want you to visit." That's usually mom talking and she is sincere, but doesn't she deserve a nice present to remind her of all she does for you? In fact, you probably have a long list of special folks you'd like to acknowledge at this time of the year. While it's true that any token of appreciation will be warmly received (ugly Christmas sweaters included!), there is something special about a homemade gift. It tells the recipient that you put some extra thought into this present. That alone will generate "bonus points."
The key to making homemade gifts is to give yourself enough time for the task. Leave the bike building for Christmas Eve, but have your homemade gifts ready days before you plan on handing them out. Here are some terrific suggestions for homemade gifts that put the spirit back in the holidays.
Family Recipe Book
This one might take a little covert action. Gather up your mom's favorite family recipes. They are probably scattered across index cards, newspaper clippings and jotted notes. Make color copies of all the recipes so you have a little uniformity. Then find a blank journal book and attach a recipe to each page. Use permanent adhesive. You can also print out label titles for each recipe and add handwritten notes in the margin about your love for each dish.
This is for the martini lover on your shopping list. What you'll need is quality vodka (naturally), infusion flavors like vanilla beans, pineapple chunks or jalapenos, and glass bottles with seals. You can find the glass bottles at any craft or kitchen store. These don't have to be traditional liquor bottles. Now divide the vodka into the bottles and add the flavor chunks. Put them in the fridge for a week and you've got infused vodka. Totally unique.
Cookie Mix in a Bag
If you've got a cookie recipe that someone raves about, why not put the mix together for them? All you need to do is combine the dry ingredients in a decorative paper bag. Attach instructions to add the right amount of milk, eggs and butter. Don't forget the baking directions. Now you've become your own version of Sarah Lee!
Personalized Gift Basket
We've all seen the gift baskets you can order with a click of the mouse. Easy and efficient, but not very personal. You know the person you're giving a present to; why not pull together the some of the things they like. Include some of the above homemade items, or it can be theme related. Maybe a "Dorm Emergency Snack Basket" loaded with goodies for your favorite college student. You could also create a "Movie Night Basket." Drop in the latest hot Blu-Ray, add some microwave popcorn and big boxes of movie candy and you've got a date night in a basket. All you need is a basket or decorative tin and all the stuff. Pack accordingly.
If you've got a homemade holiday gift idea let us know!