Christmas food gifts are the perfect present for everyone. Especially those people who seem to have everything or who leave you stumped when you pull their name for Secret Santa.
A gift seems more meaningful when you take the time to make it yourself.
And that could mean even more this year, when you may not see your relatives and friends in person.
You can also truly customize Christmas food gifts, using your great-grandmother’s spritz cookie recipe or replacing the almonds in your energy balls with seeds for your friend with nut allergies.
Best of all, you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to make impressive Christmas food gifts.
Because we’re all about reducing holiday stress, all of the ideas listed below are easy — and healthy to boot!
(But if none of these seem right for your food-loving best friend, check out our foodie gift guide.)
It’s not Christmas without cookies. You can always use your family recipe and package up a batch in a pretty, festive tin.
Or try something new:
- These Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies use quinoa instead of flour for soft, chewy treats.
- These Vegan Sugar Cookies are just the thing for plant-based friends.
- This list of no-bake Shakeology cookies will delight anyone looking to get a little protein with their dessert.
2. Candy Bark
It seems you either love or hate this treat. But perhaps you haven’t found the right flavor yet.
Sure, there’s classic chocolate, peppermint, and white chocolate, with numerous add-ins from nuts to dried fruit to toasted coconut to potato chips.
But have you tried Unicorn Bark?
Our recipe starts with a frozen yogurt base, and then you swirl natural coloring from blueberries, strawberries, and mango to create a rainbow effect.
Kids and adults will love it!
3. Spiced Nuts and Seeds
This Christmas food gift is versatile. You can munch on these as a snack, sprinkle them on salads and soups, or even crush them to use as a coating for meat and fish.
Use this recipe to learn how to make spiced seeds. Then consider trying other flavor blends or using nuts.
4. Trail Mix
You can customize this Christmas food gift if you know your recipients’ favorite foods.
Set out bowls of various nuts, seeds, dried fruits, whole-grain cereal, and unsweetened shredded coconut.
Then scoop a combination of goodies into mason jars. Be sure to give the mix a fun name and tie a label with the ingredients list to the jar.
Homemade granola is worlds better than store-bought. It’s fresher, plus you can control the amount of added sugars and how big (or small) the pieces are.
You can’t go wrong making any of our favorite flavors, including:
- Apple cinnamon granola with honey
- Cinnamon raisin granola with maple syrup
- Gingerbread granola with molasses
Seal the containers tight, so the granola stays fresh for delivery.
6. Sweet Breads
Pumpkin bread, banana bread, and zucchini bread, oh my! You can make any and all of these moist treats healthy when you use wholesome ingredients such as whole-wheat flour and minimize the sweetener.
- Try this nutty zucchini bread with applesauce for extra texture.
- Use up browning bananas by making this gluten-free banana bread.
- Don’t forget your Paleo friends! This pumpkin bread is free of grains and dairy.
7. Nut Butters
The healthiest nut butters contain one ingredient: nuts!
Process them in a food processor until they’re ground into butter, then transfer it to a pretty jar.
You can also combine nuts and seeds or add seasonings such as cinnamon or nutmeg, vanilla or coconut extract, or a little dried fruit.
8. Flavored Salts
Sure, you can add salt and other seasonings separately to recipes. But infusing salt ahead of time enhances the flavors even more.
The basic ratio is ¼ cup coarse salt to 1 teaspoon flavorings. Dried herbs, spices, and citrus peels are preferable, as fresh ingredients can cause clumping.
Consider these mix-ins:
- lavender buds
- lemon zest (with or without ground pepper)
- lime zest and chipotle pepper
- smoked paprika
- dehydrated garlic
9. Spice Blends
This Christmas food gift is great for foodies and shy home cooks alike. Wash out and dry old spice jars (put a label over the original) or use tiny mason jars to store your blends.
- Apple pie spice — Combine four tablespoons ground cinnamon, two teaspoons ground nutmeg, two teaspoons allspice, and one teaspoon of ground cloves.
- Pumpkin pie spice — Use the same proportion of spices above and add two teaspoons ground ginger.
- Curry powder blend — Add the following to a spice grinder: two tablespoons cumin seeds, two tablespoons cardamom seeds, two tablespoons coriander seeds, one-fourth cup turmeric, and one teaspoon cayenne. Grind to a fine powder.
- Garam masala — Add the following to a spice grinder: two tablespoons coriander seeds, one tablespoon cumin seeds, one tablespoon cardamom seeds, one tablespoon black peppercorns, one teaspoon fennel seeds, one teaspoon mustard seeds, half teaspoon whole cloves, two tablespoons turmeric, and one dried red chili pepper, if desired. Grind to a fine powder.
- Chinese five spice — Add the following to a spice grinder: two medium cinnamon sticks, two tablespoons cloves, two tablespoons fennel seeds, two tablespoons star anise, and two tablespoons Szechuan black peppercorns. Grind to a fine powder.
10. Healthy Bars
For an afternoon snack, light pre-workout nibble, or a post-workout bite to hold us over until mealtime, we often turn to the convenience of bars.
And the truth is, you can DIY bars at home that are easy and not only healthier than store-bought, but also tastier.
- Try these cranberry granola bars with minimal added sugars from honey.
- Or these cranberry bliss bars, which are true bliss thanks to rich almond butter, shredded coconut, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Perfect for after the gym, these no-bake oatmeal protein bars pack 12 grams of protein.
11. Energy Bars and Balls
The basic formula for energy bars and balls is pretty much the same: Combine dried fruit, nuts, seasonings, and protein powder in a food processor.
Once it all sticks together, shape the “dough” into bars or balls. The greatest thing is, you can customize each batch.
Need inspiration for this Christmas food gift? Start with this how-to on homemade energy bars.
Then, if you want more help, check out these 15 no-bake energy ball recipes.