Christmas gifts from the kitchen

Inexpensive holiday gifts from your kitchen and home.

Did you go over your holiday spending limit last year? Did it take longer than expected to pay it off? This year, before you get too far ahead of yourself, consider making your gifts instead of purchasing them. If you still have time, you could communicate with family members that you plan to have a handmade holiday and get their thoughts as well. Now the question is, what to make?

Family recipe favorites. All families have heirloom recipes that grandma used to make every year. These cakes and cookies were longed for all year, but only made in December. You have time to try making them yourself this year and packaging them for friends and family. A decorating idea is to punch a hole in the copied recipe, then attach it to the package with ribbon.

Recipe in a jar. We’ve all seen neatly packaged mason jars with layers of ingredients inside and a decorative cover with directions on how to concoct the ingredients in to something special. This doesn’t just need to be for cookies or muffins, think about recipes you have – salad dressings, quick breads, flavored vinegars. Simply package the dry ingredients and print off the rest of the recipe for the recipient. Salad dressings and vinegars could be packaged in a carafe. Breads could be in any clean glass container you may have – tie a wooden spoon onto the side with ribbon and voila – a perfect gift from the heart!

Tree ornaments. There are many recipes for Christmas tree ornaments that are fun and easy to use. When my kids were little they made cinnamon and applesauce ornaments which still hang on my tree. There are also paper mache and dough ornaments that can be made and then painted for a colorful creation, designated for a specific person. For example, a hunter could be given a deer or rabbit made of paper mache; a fisherman might enjoy a baked dough rainbow trout, and so-on.

Here is a recipe for baked ornaments that Michigan State University Extension recommends you try.

Handmade Ornaments

  1. Mix together well in a saucepan:
    • 2 cups, baking soda and 1 cup, cornstarch.
    • Add 1 1/4 cup cold water and mix until smooth.
  2. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook a minute longer or until mixture resembles moist, mashed potatoes.
  3. Transfer to a plate and cover with a damp cloth. When cool enough to handle, knead as you would dough. Shape, roll or cut in to desired shape and poke a hole in the top for hanging.
  4. Warm the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then turn it off. Place dough shapes onto the wire oven rack for 30 minutes or until hard and dry.
  5. Paint with water colors, tempura or acrylic paints. You can spray with a clear coat.

Whether you use these ideas or come up with your own, the holidays can be much easier on a budget and lots more fun with family involvement making ornaments together!

Related Events

Related Articles