The Gift of TimeIf you're on the receiving end of a homemade food gift, you're pretty special in the eyes of the giver. It means he or she has given you the gift of time -- a rare commodity in today's hustle-bustle world. It's a present that says, "I know who you are and the entire time I was preparing and assembling this gift, my thoughts were of you."
If you're on the giving end, you've chosen the quintessential way to say, "I care," "Thank you for your hospitality" or "Because friendship matters."
Plan AheadIf you plan to give cordials, brandied fruits, preserves or pickled items, make them well in advance of the gift giving. For Christmas presents, start in July. Decide how much time you really have. If you're scrunched, make muffin, bread and cookie mixes that include everything but the liquid and fat. They take the least involvement. Whatever you decide to give, include the recipe tied to the item with a pretty cord. If you like to bake, you can't go wrong with a quick bread (sweet or savory) that will stay moist a long time.
What's Your Style?Decide how you will wrap your gifts before you start. Are you a nature lover who prefers simple, earthy wraps? Consider brown paper, string and raffia. Or do you like a bit of sparkle? Choose gold and silver ribbons, napkins, metallic tissue and cellophane. For ethnic flair, think embroidered tea towels and Polish pottery.
Get OrganizedCollect the necessary materials, including scissors, tape, ribbons, tags and labels, instead of scurrying around at the last minute for each item.
Wrap It UpAnything goes. Containers can include baskets, a spatterware soup pot, a charlotte mold, a Polish pottery bowl.
Gift Basket IdeasYou needn't make every item in the basket yourself. With some store-bought tea, local honey, cloth napkins, mugs, jam pot, and a silver spoon, you can build a whole basket around just one jar of your homemade jam. Here are some examples:
- Polish Basket
- Blueberry Cordial
- Antique Cordial Glasses
- Dried Fruit Compote
- Brandied Fruit
- Garage-Sale China Dessert Bowls
The Sky's the LimitYour creativity is limited only by your imagination and your budget. And wrapping supplies needn't be expensive. They can be purchased at:
- Dollar Stores -- Bottles, conainers, mugs and boxes
- Supermarkets -- Canning jars, disposable loaf pans
- Hardware and Cookware Store -- Canning jars, tins, canisters, labels, bottles and corks, baskets
- Stationery, Art Supply, Craft Stores -- Tags, notes, ties
- Fabric Stores -- Fabric for jam jars, ribbons, trinkets to decorate packages
- Cake-Decorating Stores -- Cellophane, cellophane bags, candy boxes, petit-four cases
- Yard Sales and Antique Shops -- China plates and bowls, old glass jars and canisters, canning jars