My husband’s family gets together every year after Christmas to draw names for the next year’s Christmas gifts. The concept is that each member of the family will buy a nice gift for one person instead of buying less expensive gifts for everyone. This method simplifies the season’s gift buying frenzy, plus our family members are all adults who are difficult to buy gifts for because generally if they want something they buy it themselves.
A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea that since none of us really needed anything and we were all difficult to buy for, why not change the rules a bit. I suggested that we draw names, but instead of buying a gift, we had to make the gift. The gift could be anything, as long as the gift-giver made it him or herself. The result was wonderful. Every person gave great thought about what that special someone would really like and took immense pride in the gift they made. On Christmas day, each person was emotionally vested in watching their gift being opened, I am sure that everyone cherishes the gifts they received that day.
What I learned from that Christmas was that everyone has a talent to create, no matter how ‘non-creative’ they may think they are and that a gift from the heart is far more meaningful both to the gift giver and the receiver.
Have you guessed yet what my gift was? Gifts from the kitchen.
As a side note, everything I cook is always gluten-free and I have no other family member who suffers from Celiac disease, (or not that they know of) still everyone is always delighted to receive gifts from my kitchen.
The obvious choices for food gifts are candy or cookie boxes or holiday quick breads. These are always a welcome gift but there are many other ideas that go beyond sweets.
A great idea is to center your food gift around ingredients indigenous to your region.
I live in the Pacific Northwest, famous for many great foods, most specifically, seafood.
Last year we smoked and packaged many pounds of salmon which made excellent gifts, especially to those who for which Pacific Northwest smoked salmon is truly a delicacy.
When choosing food gifts, take into consideration the durability of the food item. In some cases, your gift will need to survive the post office and at minimum remain fresh for several days. Gifts like smoked salmon or candy are great ‘keepers’ but cookies and other baked goods will perish quickly, especially gluten-free baked goods.
Another great food gift that I have given in the past are rubs. Rubs can be used on any meat, fish or poultry, are easy to make in bulk, and can be packaged in adorable wrappings. I package rubs in decorative little tin cans or small holiday gift bags tied with ribbons.
Use your imagination and you will find that gifts from your kitchen and your heart will be the most treasured of gifts this season.
Kitchen Gift Ideas:
The following are is a rub recipe. Experiment with adding your own signature ingredients to create your own special rub.
Kansas City Rub Makes 2-1/2 cups
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1/3 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup seasoned salt
- 1/4 cup garlic salt
- 1/4 cup celery salt
- 2 Tablespoons onion salt
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 Tablespoons black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon lemon pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Rub generously over meat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or marinate in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Store in an air tight container.
For Smoked Salmon visit our Cooking Class Archives for July 2002 Smoked Salmon.
For Beef Jerky visit our Cooking Class Archives for February 2002 Homemade Gluten-free Jerky.
Another great gift is granola. Try our recipe, ‘Glutenfreeda’s Granola’. This recipe is a subscriber rated ‘5 star’ and makes a wonderful gift.
There is an enormous collection on sweet gift ideas in our Recipe Archives. A few great choices are:
Bourbon Espresso Truffles
Orange Pecan Biscotti
Stained Glass Cookies
Cranberry Nut Bread
Holiday Spritz Cookies
Happy Gift Giving,