Christmas Food Gifts Challenges
During the Christmas season, many people give food gifts to those outside their immediate family. People seem to love the idea of food gifts, and one reason is that we live in a world full of “stuff” and food as gifts do not leave “stuff” around after the holidays. Do you give food gifts at Christmas? No matter if you plan on giving home-baked goodies or store-bought food items, you need to do some planning!
Challenge # 1 – Most Remembered Food Gifts
Make a list of food gifts you have received or given in the past that were a hit. Use the Christmas planning form, Most Remembered Food Gifts, or a sheet of paper to write your list out on and then put it in your Christmas notebook.
From Krisann, the Christmas Coach: Growing up, my great-aunt Libby always sent a box of fresh oranges from Florida to my mother. When she and my mother were growing up, the one thing they always received at Christmas was an orange in the toe of their stocking.
Challenge # 2 – Interview Your Friend
Please take a few minutes and call or send out a message via text, email, or social media to your friends and ask them what their favorite food gifts to give and receive. Use the Christmas planning page, Christmas Food Gift Ideas, and make a list of not only your favorite food gifts but also any of theirs you might consider giving.
From Krisann, the Christmas Coach: I posted the question on Facebook and within an hour had over 25 replies with some exceptional items to add to my idea list. A bonus for posting the question on Facebook is that some people who answered are on my gift list, and I now have ideas for them!
Challenge # 3 – Make a List of What You Are Giving
Using your lists from above, make a list of the items you want to give. Will you be making items or purchasing them? Fill out the Christmas planning page, Christmas Food Gift List, or use a sheet of paper with the things you plan to make and give this year and place in your Christmas notebook. Be sure to update your gift list in the gift section of your notebook with your food-related gifts.
From Krisann, the Christmas Coach: Some years I like to make and give a variety of different things, but over the past few years, I have kept what I am giving down to just a handful of items that I am already making for the family. By utilizing the baked items we are already preparing for our home, it is easy to double a recipe or to carve out some “extra” to give to a few friends. Small portion giving can let someone know you are thinking about them without you spending lots of extra time preparing items or for recipients having to throw away some of your item because it is more than they can consume.
Challenge # 4 – Schedule Your Food Gifts
Now that you know what you will be giving, schedule time on your calendar to make the gifts or when you need to order the gifts. Remember to take into account holiday shipping can take longer. Some items may be food items that can arrive early and can be there for the entire month of December, while you may want others to come just in time for a special event.
From Krisann, the Christmas Coach: Some of my items can be made well in advance because I love to give homemade jams and jellies. When I am scheduling these items on my calendar, I take into account when each fruit comes into season to maximize my budget. I try to keep up with when each type of fruit will be available at my farmer’s market and put it on my calendar to purchase that week. Other jellies I make I use fruit juices (like Welch’s grape juice), and I schedule the making of jellies when it gets cooler because making jams and jellies can heat the kitchen and living in the south I have enough heat in the kitchen in the summer!
Challenge # 5 – Food Gift Form
Now is the time to look at the details of each type of gift you want to make or buy and give as gifts this Christmas. Fill out the Christmas planning page, Food Gift Form, or on a piece of paper write out the following details for EACH item you will be making or buying.
Food Gifts – Homemade
Item Name and Date Needed
How Many You Need for Gifts
Amount of Time Needed to Make Each Batch
How Many Does Each Batch Make
Ingredients and Supply List
Recipe or Recipe Location
Food Gifts – Purchased
How Many Do You Need for Gifts
Date to Purchase By
Shipping Direct or Hand Delivering
From Krisann, the Christmas Coach: While I use this Christmas planning page in my planner, I make a copy to keep in my 3-ring binder as a reference for the next year. Keeping a copy in my Christmas planning notebook allows me to know what I have done in the past quickly and the time involved. The most significant benefit I have gotten from using this form is to allow me to plan out my time when making home-made gifts effectively. While I would love to make 72 jars of raspberry pepper jelly, I must be mindful that it takes almost 2 hours to make 24 jars (4 batches) and I need to plan accordingly or adjust the number of items needed.
Challenge # 6 – Make-ahead Food Gifts
Make a list of food gifts you can make or buy ahead of time. Fill out the Christmas planning page, Make-Ahead Food Gifts, or write out the following on a piece of paper:
Name of item:
How far in advance can it be made:
From Krisann, the Christmas Coach: Besides my jams and jellies, I also make Krisann’s Friendship Tea (see recipe at the bottom), hot chocolate mix, and dry dip mixes, all which you can make 2-3 months ahead of time. Others items that I can make ahead include:
Apple Cake – two days
Fudge – three or four weeks if kept in the refrigerator
Chex Mix – two to three weeks in sealed containers
Tiger Butter – two weeks
Box of chocolate-covered cherries – one to two months in advance – basically as soon as I see them in the stores. This is something I send to specific people every year as it is something I grew up with, and it reminds me of my Grans. I send a box to my father every year, and they are always a staple at our house during the holiday season.
Challenge # 7 – Food Gift Supplies List
Make a list of the supplies you need for your Christmas Food Gifts. This list is not a list for the ingredients but rather specialty pans, packaging, tags, etc. for your different items. If you are mailing the foods, do not forget mailing boxes. Use the Christmas planning form, Food Gift Supplies List, or a sheet of paper to make your list.
From Krisann, the Christmas Coach: My list will include things such as:
Labels (shipping and ones for labeling the items)
Baggies (Christmas themed and regular)
Tins for fudge
Glass bottles for Friendship Tea
Ribbon to tie bags