Okay, you’ve been completely sucked in by Pinterest (with all of its dreamy, crafty and foodie seductions) and you’ve officially decided that this year will be a homemade Christmas. Everything from the tree decorations to gift giving is going to be made by the hands of yourself or someone in your family. Come January I’ll have a great recipe for you that includes copious amounts of booze and not much more, since you’re definitely going to need it. But for now, I thought I’d help you with your homespun dream with a little list. It’s not a ‘to do list,’ but a list of 20 gifts under 20. Yes, I know you’re doing homemade gifts (and I do a lot of those as well) but sometimes giving someone a bottle of homemade Nocino or a couple of bags of chocolate covered caramels with sea salt just doesn’t look like ‘enough.’ Don’t think you need to tie these homemade goodies onto a large gift as an afterthought, with these inexpensive gifts included with your homemade goodies, you’ll be all set (and not broke). Tired…yes…broke…no.
Yep, I’ve seen all those “My Favorite Things” and “Unique Holiday Gift Idea” posts from other food bloggers and I call bullshit on them. Considering a lot of food bloggers started writing their blogs so that they had a place they could send all of their pain in the ass family members who kept asking for their recipes (a zillion times), most of those lists are just their own actual gift list. Who says your taste is the same as mine? I’ve got friends and family that think donning various animal prints, simultaneously, is something that will keep them off of any style makeover show (because it’s sooo stylish). I think it will end up getting them a one way ticket to an asylum – so how could I possibly think I could make up a gift list that anyone would even slightly care about.
Also, I know that people are still trying to get by this year. If you think food bloggers are living the life of riches…think again. They’re just as broke ass as you are, some maybe more. That, combined with the trend for more homemade gifts is why I’m putting this 20 gifts under 20 together. Twenty bucks, or less, is something we can all get behind. Besides, you’ve already spent some money and time making up the goodies. So you won’t be finding any $40 candles or $70 cashmere t-shirts on my list.
I’ll use the food pictures from the grid above to give you a couple of ideas that would go really well with that particular food item. You’ll find 2 suggestions for each item, plus 2 additional items at the end (a little added gift for someone on your list that’s been especially good to you this year) so that will get your 20 gifts under 20. As a ‘bonus,’ I’ll also link to that recipe here in the post in case you’re at a loss for what to make or you’re still looking for a few ideas. We’ll go from top to bottom, left to right.
Glazed nuts: These sweet and spicy little nibbles are a perfect companion to a nice cheese plate, so why not include a slate cheese board with a bag of these glazed nuts? The slate boards are what every hostess is looking for to serve up his/her finest cheeses. Since this one comes with a piece of chalk, there’s no need for those little cheese picks because you can write the type of cheese right on the board. The other thing that pairs really well with these glazed nuts is beer. How about a nice set of beer glasses? You could then tuck a small bag of these little munchies into each glass (cuz you’re such a generous friend).
Set of Pilsner Glasses
Dark chocolate truffles: I’m not sure if more chocolate truffles are eaten on Valentine’s day or Christmas, but I’m a sucker for these. They’re so easy to make and you can make a bunch of different flavors using the same basic recipe. I think they’re pretty enough to be presented in a Tiffany Blue box tied up with ribbon, but that’s just me. If you make all the same truffles or different flavors, they would be pretty to give inside a sculptural apothecary jar, with a ribbon tied around the top. Or maybe a hand carved wooden box that doesn’t hold quite as many truffles.
Infused spirits: You thought about the holidays a little bit earlier than usual this year and you made up a batch of infused spirits. You will be a very well liked friend this year. But you feel a bit empty handed just handing over a bottle of your finest development. First, you should bottle it in one of those ceramic flip top bottles…they look much better than just handing over a screw top mason jar (unless you made moonshine, then the mason jar is completely appropriate, and expected). Why not gift your libation with a couple of small liqueur/whiskey glasses or a sleek cocktail shaker with your favorite cocktail recipe (using your infused spirit)?
Chocolate covered caramels with sea salt: You’ve covered the sugar burns on your arms with long sleeves and you’ve taken the time to carefully dip the caramels and top them with the finest crunchy sea salt. You can’t just dump them into a bag because that delicate chocolate covering will get all scratched up. Why not gift them on a pretty serving platter? Long after the caramels are gone, they’ll still have the platter to use for gatherings. Or you could deliver them, like the jewels that they are in a small jewelry type box.
Peanut Butter Snowmen: This little army of peanut butter snowmen is almost too cute to eat…but they will be eaten. Decorated with fondant or not, you need to find a way to get them from your house to the recipient’s house in one piece. A great way to do it is to place them into a small-ish decorative storage bin with a lid. Another way to deliver your precious cargo is to put each snowman into a cool shot glass. This will keep them protected and allow you to give a gift that keeps on giving.
French Macarons: These delicate little cookies are easier to make than you think they are, but how can you gift them with a little creativity? Why not put them into a French press? After all, they are unbelievably good with a cup of coffee. Or fill a clear glass vase with the pastel shades of macarons. This is especially pretty if you make different colors/flavors of macarons.
Bacon Jam: Pretty canning jars seem the most appropriate way to gift this umami packed present. Or you could do something along the same lines, but a little prettier and use some of those old fashioned looking mason jars with the rubber gaskets.
Homemade Beef Jerky: Of course the jerky needs to be in a sealed zip top bag, but that’s not much of a presentation. Why not tuck a bundle of jerky into a nice looking utensil holder? This will keep all the jerky in one place, while there’s still some left, but can be used for another purpose when the jerky is gone. Another option is to put bags of jerky into beer mugs…jerky and beer are perfect companions. You little enabler you.
Bacon Peanut Brittle: It seems like everybody has a favorite brittle recipe that ends up in a homemade Christmas gift basket. I like the salty and smoky addition of bacon in mine…it cuts through all the sweet. Piling up shards of brittle in a pretty bowl is a great way to gift your favorite brittle recipe. And since these smaller bowls come 4 to a set, you’re good to go with more than one gift. Or you could pile it sky high on a square plate. A salad plate is the perfect size (not too much and not too little) for giving and since they are usually sold in sets, you’re good for multiple gifts this way as well.
So that’s it for the paired food and gifts for the 20 gifts under 20. But I thought I’d throw in a couple of “off the cuff” gifts (you know to get that whole 20 under 20 thing). These are a couple of my favorite gifts to buy and keep handy for those just in case moments. Not just during the holidays, but all year round. I usually keep a couple of small gifts handy for “gifting emergencies.” These are things that seem a bit more personal than just handing over a bottle of wine (which is easy, but predictable). Again, keeping with the 20 gifts under 20 these fall right into place. *I fill the salt grinder with salt if it doesn’t already come filled.
FYI…some of these product links are linked to an affiliate account which will earn me a few cents, towards keeping the lights on here at MMB, if you end up buying the item.
Just like a broken clock is right twice a day, a saying can be right once a year.