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Simple Christmas Gifts From the Heart

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Christmas Spending

Stores have been gearing up for the most profitable season of the year for weeks. Many of us have tried to ignore the Christmas d├ęcor and merchandise that popped up shortly before Halloween, but barring a vision disability or being housebound it is not something easily ignored.

While Christmas is my all time favorite holiday I despise the materialism and "gimmee" spirit that abounds. Every electronic gadget in the universe seems destined to find it's way under someone's tree, every overpriced doll, every video game. And, have you noticed lego toys lately? Some of the kits are over $100.00.

You don't have to buy into that. Homemade gifts are becoming rare but the time and love that goes into them makes them precious beyond anything else. Instead of going into deeper debt, why not consider something from the heart this year?

Image:(c)Marye Audet 2007 Homemade Cookies in a vintage cup makes a great gift.
Image:(c)Marye Audet 2007 Homemade Cookies in a vintage cup makes a great gift.

Food Gifts

There are lots of different types of food gifts to give. Homemade cookies are a wonderful gift. I generally try to make several different kinds in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then prepare platters of cookies on vintage plates, casserole dishes, and other kitchen items that I pick up at thrift shops year 'round. This makes a nice dual gift. For a smaller version- a vintage tea cup with a few cookies or candies nestled inside, along with some tea bags and then covered with tulle and tied with a bow is fantastic.

If you are shipping them choose cookies that are sturdy. Drop cookies, bars, or slice and bake are the best for this. December 11 is the last day to ship priority packages overseas, and December 20 is the last day to ship priority here in the states and still have it there for Christmas.

You can create beautiful cookie-in-a-jar gifts with wide mouth mason jars and homemade tags. Just put the ingredients in the jar in layers and close with the screw on top. Add the directions and there you have a great gift.

Besides cookies; breads, quick breads, and muffins are all wonderful gifts. They can be given in the same way as cookies, or spray paint a brown lunch bag gold and present them that way. You can wrap a festive loaf of cranberry bread in a cloth napkin and tie with raffia, or wrap with plastic wrap and arrange in a basket.

Try your hand at making homemade herbal vinegars with fresh herbs and fruits. Put them in a beautiful bottle and they are ready to be given.

Fudge and other candies are fun gifts to make and to give. My kids love to help make candies to arrange on vintage dishes, or in teacups, or even in old head vases.

Hot chocolate, Russian Tea and other drink mixes are a nice addition to a holiday basket if you are making one, or just given alone in jars. Use old Christmas cards to make the tags.Just cut them out with fancy edged scissors.

Use your imagination in packaging the gift, that is part of the fun. Make your own labels on the computer, or use unusual things to label your gifts. You can even use sugar cookie cutouts with a hole poked into the top and the recipients name written on it with icing.

Image:(c)MaryeAudet2007 How cool would this antique tea set be with each component filled with a different type of homemmade candy?
Image:(c)MaryeAudet2007 How cool would this antique tea set be with each component filled with a different type of homemmade candy?

Time Gifts

Coupons can be custom made for the person you are gifting. Think about what they might like, their lifestyle, and their needs. One of the best Christmas gifts I ever got was from one of my kids who gave me a coupon book full of coupons for shoulder rubs, foot rubs, hand massages and head massages for when I had a headache. It was perfect for me.

Other coupon ideas are for babysitting, a night out,chores, or even a board game played together. My kids like to get a Get Out of Bedtime Free coupon which allows them to veto bedtime when the have this (rare) coupon! Just make sure to use your imagination when designing and printing it. There are some great ideas and coupons at MYO Gift Coupons that you can print for free.

I love when my husband gives me a day with him. He clears his schedule and takes me antiquing and out to lunch. Our schedules do not allow for this luxury often but it is my favorite gift of all.

Craft Gifts

There are many crafts that are easy to make and appreciated by the one getting them. If you crochet or knit then scarves, mittens, socks, afghans, and other handmade things are eagerly awaited items. I spin and am planning on giving a friend who crochets some handspun wool from my sheep. Sewing ability means quilts, toys, and numerous other items that you can sew quickly and easily.

If you have a green thumb, what about forcing some tulip, amaryllis, or narcissus bulbs in time for Christmas. How about starting plants from cutting s and giving them as gifts? Create a container herb garden for the windowsill of your favorite gourmet?

There are many kinds of crafts. Take an afternoon and search out some of the web pages looking for ideas that will work for you, but don't put it off! Christmas arrives before you know it.

Mainly, don't automatically think in terms of malls and Internet stores. Think about the people on your list and what would be meaningful to them and try to give something that will show them that you care, not just that you have a credit card.


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    • Sher Lessons profile image

      Sher Lessons 7 years ago

      Nice hub and I agree with you. Thoughtful gift ideas with meaning behind them.

    • Paul Peterson profile image

      Paul Peterson 7 years ago

      Nice hub. thanks for the ideas :)

    • Robert J Cook profile image

      Robert J Cook 8 years ago

      hey, YOu gave me an idea! Thanks! I love this Hub!

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 8 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you for these brilliant ideas, giving something special from our kitchen is wonderful thing to do. I love the cookies idea, it's simple, not expensive and thoughtful. Great hub:)

    • gifts4all profile image

      gifts4all 8 years ago from London UK

      Great Hub Mary, I found it whilst searching the net for some inspiration on chrsitmas gift ideas. I think gifts that are made at home are always better received.

      I did find some great christmas gift ideas here

      I may try to make my own herbal vinegar.

      Anyway have a great Christmas.

    • Amber90 profile image

      Amber90 9 years ago

      I think people often get too caught up with expensive gifts versus ones that can make a memory or help remember one. simplicity and creativity is the only way to give a truly unique gift. very nice

    • profile image

      Susan M 9 years ago

      Thank you Marye! I am a new hubber and have been looking for frugal/simple Christmas gifts for this year. I love the suggestion for the cookies in a vintage cup or on a pretty plate. I bake a lot so this is a great idea for me! I know you published this hub a while ago but it is definitely relevant this Christmas as people will be looking to reduce spending while still giving great gifts. Thanks for the ideas!!

    • RFox profile image

      RFox 10 years ago

      Great hub! As an artist I tend to create my own xmas gifts for my family. They appreciate the effort and it really has more sentimental value. If I could bake I would do that too. Maybe if I use some of your recipes I might become a better cook. One can only hope! haha

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 10 years ago from Northern California

      Food gifts are my personal favourites to give!

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas


      it is! and nicer than anything you can buy, imho.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Nice Hub. Baking and making jams and such are always nice to do for folks.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Yes they are! I cut that down from a bigger can see a better picture of them at on the sales page

      Two are mares and one is a gelding..I don't breed, I don't have the space now, but someday I hope to. I ride and train.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

    • SceneIt profile image

      SceneIt 10 years ago


      Are those your horses in the picture? I have three horses of my own and was just curious. If so do you train, ride, breed or all three.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Zsuzsy- That is so very true! And you know, really, when all is said and done it is the memories that you carry with you.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      I think we all should try to get back to the old ways especially when it comes to gift giving. My kids remember the blanket grandma made, the great toffee from Old Lady Hoyle (our neighbor, lovingly called so) whose recipe we're still coveting, who also has been gone for the past 12 years etc. None remember the hundreds of dollars worth of toys they used to get each year from their Dad...I want my Children and Grandchildren to remember me, so it's been only handmade gifts for all, for many years now...

      Great HUB

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Thanks! LOL! If you ive a Cgull a cookie he will want coffee to go with it. When you get the coffee he will need a spoon to stir....

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

      Congrats Mary for being chosen "Get to Know" Hubber. Well done. The cookies looks awesome I will take one :)