Gifts from your kitchen will typically cost less, but they are just as appreciated as other gifts. They are good to give to people other than your family who bless your life in some way: teachers, mail people, hairdresser, etc.
First of all, let’s talk about inexpensive ways to package your treats. Try cleaning up an old ornament box and use it to put treats in. Use baskets you have or purchase them for $1 or less at thrift stores or garage sales. Get fun Christmas dishes or mugs at garage sales and thrift shops for 25 cents or less. Use any mismatched plates you have that you were going to declutter.
Now let’s focus on some inexpensive things to give.
When you make one of your favorite recipes, consider including the recipes along with the baked product.
Cook your Halloween pumpkins and freeze it to use for pies or bread or muffins for the holidays for yourself or to give to friends.
Most people have their own favorite recipes they make at Christmas time. If you are trying to find something that isn’t as expensive to make, make shortbread, sugar cookies, gingersnaps, or other recipes that don’t use chocolate or nuts.
My favorite thing to give at Christmas is bread. I love to make bread and it is a very refreshing option for many people to receive something that isn’t sweet during the holidays. It is inexpensive and can be wrapped up and given with a little jar of homemade jam or jelly. Homemade bread seems to be a novelty these days, and a wonderful gift to give to those you care about.
When I first did the $100 challenge, I made truffles for the first time. It was an easy recipe using only crushed Oreos and cream cheese with chocolate on the outside. They only cost about $3 since I saved Halloween candy to use for the chocolate on the outside. I got the cookies and cream cheese on sale. GIFTS FROM THE KITCHEN: NO COOKING NEEDED
Let’s face it. Christmas is a busy enough time as it is without adding on hours of baking treats, etc. to give as gifts. For those who want to spend less time preparing gifts and prefer not to cook, this section is for you. Give a gift from a jar! There are lots of ideas on the internet. Layer the dry ingredients for your favorite brownies, cookies, muffins, hot chocolate, soup, trail mix, etc. into a glass jar and type up the recipe to go with it. Leave out the wet ingredients and attach a recipe onto the jar saying something like: Put contents of jar into a medium bowl. Add 1 egg, 1 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix. Bake at (whatever temperature it is) for (however many minutes). Easy! Fast! No cooking! You can make it as inexpensive as you want. If you want to spend even less money, try making a pancake mix, cornbread mix, sugar cookie mix, or muffin mix. You provide the dry ingredients; they provide the wet. Easy for you, easy for them, and everyone wins!
GIFTS FROM THE KITCHEN: THE BASKET
A fun idea to give for Christmas is a basket full of different foods to make a meal or a main dish. A spaghetti dinner is a good example. You could include a jar of pasta sauce, a box of pasta, a bag of salad mix, a bottle of dressing for the salad, Parmesan cheese to put on the spaghetti, a package of ground Italian sausage to cook and mix with the spaghetti sauce. You could even include a box of brownie mix or cookie mix for dessert. All of these things can be found on sale if you keep your eyes open for what you want. I recently bought spaghetti sauce for 99 cents, pasta for 62 cents, and name brand dressing for 99 cents. Figure out a budget you will spend on each basket of food and find something you can do in that limit.
Gifts from the garden are a personal, homemade gift that can be very inexpensive to make but great to eat. There are a lot of different things you can do: jams, jellies, salsa, dried fruit, pickles, canned peaches, dried herbs, etc. You can even decorate the outside of the jar after it is sealed to make it look Christmassy.
Make a gingerbread house and give to a school teacher as a gift or to a friend or take to a nursing home.