When it comes to ideas for edible holiday gifts, lifestyle blogger and food photographer Lisa Tutman-Oglesby has plenty of them.
The best thing about them? Many don’t require any cooking, and you can buy great packaging at a variety of crafts stores.
“These are all edibles that require no special skill, baking or cooking to pull off and fully packaged treat can end up looking like they actually came from a specialty shop,” Tutman-Oglesby says.
Head to her website Celebrate Creativity for tips. She also has four cookie recipes featured in Bake from Scratch magazine’s holiday cookie edition.
We talked to her about tips for making treats for friends, neighbors and teachers.
Q: What are some of your treasured quick edible holiday gifts to make?
A: The snowman marshmallow sticks, the reindeer noses and the holiday Oreo cookies are a few of my favorites, because they’re oh-so-easy to whip up, and the handcrafted packaging for each is equally simple and adorable. These edible gifts are actually created from store-bought items, but they’re decorated and packaged in a way that elevates their presentation in keeping with the holiday spirit.
The Oreo cookies are just dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with crushed peppermint. The snowmen marshmallows are bundled with a wooden skewer and decorated with royal icing, and the reindeer noses are assorted chocolate bites and creatively packaged.
Q: What have been some of the biggest hits with teachers, neighbors and friends?
A: As much as gift recipients enjoy my tasty treats, I’d have to say the handcrafted packaging and personalization is always what people rave about the most. I think whatever you make, if you can add that personalized touch by way of a monogrammed tag and special gift label, or some unexpected embellishment, it really gives the recipient the feeling that the offering was made especially for them.
Of course, any time you offer gifts from your own kitchen and by your own hand, it’s far more special than if you went out and purchased it. But when you also go the extra mile to make the packaging delightful, people really do notice and appreciate the extra touch.
Q: You have some of the cutest packaging on your blog. Can you suggest some supplies for the holidays?
A: I have a few holiday packaging staples that are on my holiday must-have list. Red and white Baker’s or Butler’s twine are biggies in my book. The difference between the two is the thickness, but both have that distinct red and white, candy cane coloring that is so distinct during the holiday season. I use it for wrapping around boxes, baggies, and I even use it as a loop for handcrafted gift tags.
Assorted ribbon in green and red is always good to have on hand to wrap around a cookie box. Clear, plastic baggies in assorted sizes for cookie gifting. Mason jars are also a great resource because they’re so versatile. You can fill them with cookie mix or homemade granola, wrap a ribbon around the lid and you’ll have an easy edible offering.
You can decorate your edibles with just about anything, including raffia, pinecones, fabric, die-cuts, stickers, cinnamon sticks, wooden spoons, pine twigs, tiny artificial birds, holly berries, miniature jingle bells and poinsettia leaves, just to name a few.
Q: Where do you get your items from?
A: I frequent Michael’s and JoAnn Fabric stores because they have such a huge variety of crafting supplies. Be sure to check the holiday ornament aisle for small items, greenery and glittery goodies that could be attached to your packaging to enhance the presentation.
Bridgette A. Lacy is a freelance writer. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edible Reindeer Treats
Here are Lisa Tutman-Oglesby’s instructions for making edible reindeer treats.
Supplies: 8 Malted Milk Balls (for each of Santa’s reindeer) and 1 chocolate-covered cherry (for Rudolph’s nose) from the bulk food aisle of the grocery store. Extras are recommended for snacking.
▪ Goodie bags from a crafts store
▪ A few simple paper crafting supplies are all you need to pull this simple gift together. I was an avid scrapbooker years ago and I still have a ton of supplies related to that hobby.
▪ If you don’t already have a reindeer die-cut in your stash, pick up some pre-made reindeer stickers and remove the adhesive from stickers by brushing a little baby powder on the tacky backside. Then, use a small foam lift to elevate the sticker and add dimension.
Assembling the package:
▪ Cut a piece of cardstock about 8 inches in length and the same width as the bag. Use specialty scissors (if you have them) to add a decorative edge to the bottom of the cardstock.
▪ Fold the cut cardstock in half and fit over the top of the baggie. Staple the cardstock to the baggie and then adorn the cardstock with embellishments and add reindeer noses to the label.
▪ Practice a few sample lettering to get a sense for the placement of the handwriting on the cardstock.