Want to make food gifts special? Contain yourself!

KEARNEYSVILLE – During the holidays, I love giving – and receiving – thoughtful, customized gifts. If you’re looking to offer a food gift that’s special, consider spicing up cookies, jams and other homemade items by using a variety of containers.

When I give a jar of jam, apple butter or soup, I use pinking shears to cut out a six-inch circle of colorful material to top the jar before I place on the ring. I then tie on a pretty ribbon and sometimes even a small, coordinating ornament.

After you’ve baked amazing Christmas cookies,use your imagination to package them as<br />
perfect-looking gifts.<br />
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<p class=After you’ve baked amazing Christmas cookies,
use your imagination to package them as
perfect-looking gifts.

Giving a loaf of banana bread or other types of loaf breads or cake? Wrap and place in the center of a pretty kitchen towel or a large white doily, fold over and then tie with a pretty bow or wrap in.

If you’re attending a party and you want to take the hostess a thoughtful present and contribute to the refreshments at the same time, use cupcake liners to bake cupcakes in a new pan and then give the whole thing as your hostess gift. This goes for any type of baking. You could do something similar with cookies or other baking projects. The ideas are endless.

Select a simple clear large glass and place inside a stack of dainty cookies or candy. Place waxed paper over top and adorn with a pretty ribbon. Another gift possibility: give a pretty teacup and saucer along with tea bags, instant cocoa mix or even instant soup. Don’t forget to include instructions with your gifts if needed.

For a particularly festive flair, create a wreath-shaped arrangement of snacks to give as a hostess gift. First, arrange crackers on a large serving plate. Cut slices of cheese into a variety of shapes such as trees, bells, circles, triangles and rectangles, then top crackers with cheese shapes and slices of deli meats. Garnish with olives, onions, raspberries or parsley. Place fabric bow at the bottom of wreath, if desired.

If you’re baked a batch of Christmas cookies to give away, packaging them for gift-giving is a key step. You can use an ordinary white paper doily to create a unique, attractive package for a single cookie. First, fold the doily to create an envelope-like packet. Place your cookie on wax or parchment paper or in a sandwich bag and put inside the doily holder. Now fold down the flap to close and use glue to adorn with a pretty bow or other decoration. To further personalize the cookie, create a coordinating holiday name tag.

An empty CD envelope is also great to hold a single cookie. To add color, cut out a piece of construction paper, gift wrap or scrapbooking patterns and place in sleeve with cookie on top and then seal with a sticker or other adornment.

If you’re giving the cookies to co-workers or delivering them to a nursing home, packaging the cookies individually this way makes them easy for each recipient to pick up. And when you take time to arrange the packages on a tray or in a pretty gift basket, your contribution is sure to introduce some holiday cheer.

– Patt Welsh would love to hear about your original homemade gifts. Write to her at pwelsh@shepherd.edu.

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