As frugal gals at heart, wholly without use for fancy or expensive trinkets, our favorite gifts are those that encompass the following characteristics:
It is with that in mind that we present our choice gift to give this year: jarred condiments. Yes, we said condiments. Also known as “stuff to put on things,” homemade condiments are a great way to add creative, interesting flair to any staples on the table.
Then, just put the “stuff to put on things” into a “thing that holds stuff,” also known as a Mason jar. As two vintage-inclined chicks, we’ve been extolling the virtues of the inexpensive yet kitschy vessel that is the Mason jar for years. They’re readily available at most grocery, kitchen and hardware stores and they’re cheap and adorable.
Below are some recipes for homemade condiments you can present in cute jars to turn your gift giving into something uniquely awesome. Attach a little label with serving suggestions, or make a gift basket with a few different jars of tasty things plus some recipes. Look! You just made someone’s whole year. Fine, that’s an overstatement, but they’ll be stoked.
Calling all ne’er-do-wells and naughty list candidates: This candy’s coming soon to a stocking near you. Easily mistaken for lumps of actual carbon, this unusual Christmas treat is sweet, crumbly and ideal for gifting to those friends and family members who need to shape up next year. Best of all, you don’t have to go buying fancy ingredients to make your point. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar here, a smidge of egg white there and a whole lot of black food coloring everywhere and you’ll have coal-inspired hard candy. Use a hammer and chisel for dramatic effect when breaking it apart and get to stuffing those naughty kids’ stockings with a treat they won’t soon forget. For the “nice” side of your Christmas list, turn to Cooking Channel’s fine selection of giftable sweets:
Though a box of chocolates or batch of cookies might be welcome presents for many a giftee, I prefer to offer my loved ones a respite from sugary treats. All of the following ideas are food-focused, yet healthy. What good-for-you gift ideas are you planning on this year?
Quick and Easy Store-Bought Gifts
Special oils and vinegars: Everyone has olive oil and balsamic in their pantries, but less often do people splurge on avocado oil or walnut oil — or Champagne vinegar. These can make a flavorful addition to salads and other dishes.
A lemon press and zester: Does your giftee love lemons? A microplane zester is a must-have in any kitchen, and metal lemon presses make juicing lemons easy.