For the past several years I have enjoyed the tradition of baking and packaging various homemade treats for friends, family, and coworkers.  This year I didn’t have quite as much energy or enthusiasm as usual so I dialed back the list of recipients a bit.  I also chose slightly less involved treats that would still provide a nice variety and overall effect.

I’ll be sharing the recipe for the cookies in a couple of days but I just thought this post might provide some inspiration to anyone looking for holiday gift ideas.  I am a huge fan of homemade gifts for many reasons.  They are a great option to express love or appreciation without wasting money on a generic gift bought just for the sake of giving something, that may then be re-gifted or thrown out.  And of course, you just can’t beat homemade treats :)

This year our packages are filled with hot chocolate mix, vanilla marshmallows, cherry chocolate coconut granola, peppermint bark cookies, and vanilla bean caramels.  I went with very simple packaging from Garnish (read on below for a giveaway!) and some simple gift tags I made to accompany each item.  It’s always an exhausting and a labor of love, but it is also very satisfying to see all the treats packaged up and ready to go.  Of course my favorite part about it is getting to deliver the packages to friends and spend a little bit of extra time with them.

Note: This week I’m doing a series of holiday giveaways for you all!  In an effort to prevent the giveaways from taking the focus away from the food, I will be linking to them on a separate page where entries can be submitted.  Today I’m giving away two $25 gift cards to Garnish.  Visit the giveaway page to learn more and to enter!  (Giveaway opens at 6:30 am.)

  • riki-tiki-tembo

    Considering the month youve had Annie Im soo very impressed that you were able to turn out such beautiful holiday packages – you are going to make some special people really happy :) What a beautiful job youve done – LOVE the items you chose to make too :)

  • Kristin

    I love your packaging. I just plop everything into Chinese take out boxes, or have my daughter artfully arrange them on a plate. Your method is so much prettier.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, that is amazing. I’d love to be a recipient of any of those gifts but especially the caramels. I’m way too intimidated to try them right now but it’s my goal to get over that in the coming year.

  • mmmmmmmmmmmm those look so pretty! :)

  • Katrina

    Yum! This is awesome!

  • Annie this is my first time visiting your site with the help of “more than burnt toast” sharing your Gingerbread Waffles. What a fabulous site and so many wonderful treats. I couldn’t agree with you more about homemade treats, I do the same thing. Yours all sound delicious and it is so much nicer IMO to make a gift for someone than to buy something small that they may not even like. Who doesn’t like a nice holiday treat that they can eat?

    Try to get some rest after the holidays, we’ll all need that! Wishing you and your family a very Happy Holiday! I look forward to coming back here again.

  • Mandy W.

    Beautiful! Your recipients will feel very special!

  • Heather Koziarz

    Can’t wait to see your recipe for peppermint bark cookies!! I created my own using your chocolate sugar cookie recipe as the base, with a white chocolate frosting and crushed candy canes. They were yummy, but I am sure yours will be even better!!

  • Angie

    Those are so pretty! I make treats for my friends as gifts, but they never look this fancy or nice. You have inspired me to try something like this next year.

  • Feener44

    so very cute

  • I have limited myself to making four different kinds of treats this year (one of them being your peanut butter fudge!). Two done, two to go :D

  • Flo

    Great ideas, maybe next year for me.

  • Wow, so much delicious stuff! It’s hard to believe that’s your “dialed back” kind of holiday. Thank you for hosting the giveaways.

  • I’m At Home Baking

    Looks beautiful & sounds delicious!

  • Anonymous

    Annie,im sure i sound like an idiot…but can you please tell me how you made those adorable labels?? I plan to do something similar for my christmas goodies

  • Brittany Persson

    I think the most awesome giveaway would be one of your holiday gift bags! Everything you make always sounds and looks so fabulous, and the recipes I’ve tried haven’t let me down! Thanks for sharing!

  • I love the packaging! I’ve been trying to come up with cute and fun packaging ideas for my treats that I’m giving away this year but so far I’m drawing blanks, (I better come up with something quick!) I feel much more inspired now!

  • I made several kinds of cookies and put them on platters to give them away!

  • Anonymous

    I just created a table in Word, added my text and a snowflake character, and printed them on cardstock. I used a paper cutter to cut out the squares. My original hope was to use a cute paper punch but I never had time to go buy one and didn’t feel like braving crowds during peak shopping times this weekend :)

  • Julie

    Wow. You amaze me. I know you are facing personal struggle this season yet you still pull out these amazing and inspirational ideas! You are the best!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for the quick reply.I dont know how u do all that you do…but u inspire me!!!

  • Annie, I love how giving and generous you are in spite of the pain that still lingers. You’re such a good example of selflessness this season! Much love <3

  • Ann

    Looks absolutely beautiful and delicious! I usually do a big round of sugar cookie cutouts and gingerbread men. But they are all so time consuming. I’ll probably do a round of fudge and drop cookies for neighbors and hubby’s assistants.

  • Peppermint bark cookies sound delicious! I certainly hope a post for them is in the near future!

  • Sbeth80

    I am doing homemade gifts for the first time this year. Very simple Pizzelle cookies and packaging them with ornaments my daughter made. It is time consuming but fun and Pizzelle or as she calls them “waffle cookies” are her favorite! She helped me make them and can’t wait to give them out!!! ( she is 3)

  • uvamom

    Maybe a silly question…what font do you use for your text – just love it’s simplicity.

  • Anonymous

    It was a free font I downloaded. I think it’s called Freehand 591.

  • Your packages are so cute and pretty! Love homemade treats as gifts!

  • Angela Gassett

    I love doing homemade treats as gifts, but you’re a little more adventurous than me! I focus on just one thing each year. One year was caramels, another peppermint patties and another peanut butter bonbons. This year, gingerbread truffles :) I actually really love making up the tasty treats…maybe next year I’ll tackle two options. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Anonymous

    This makes me smile!!!

  • Pamalafletcher

    Love the gable boxes! I’d fill them with christmas goodies

  • Alyse

    I don’t expect a response, but I wanted to share a quick story with you. My best friend bought me a cupcake calendar for my graduation because she saw owl cupcakes I made a few months ago. To my surprise, it was YOUR calendar, one which I surprisingly didn’t know about. Congrats–it looks fabulous!

  • Claire

    Hi Annie, what fun treats! This week end, I made my great grandmother’s Christmas sweet bread (decorated with a powdered sugar glaze with candied fruit shaped as poinsettias on top) for gifts — 40 pounds of flour later! As you said, baking up holiday cheer is very much a labor of love, but the best part is handing the sweets over and seeing the smiles!

  • Anonymous

    Aw, that is wonderful! Thanks for telling me :) I am just finishing up the 2013 calendar and it is going to be even better.

  • Maria @ Cheeky Pink Tulip

    This is such a fantastic idea! Where did you get the energy to create all of that. I LOVE how they all look together….your friends and family must love you!

    Maria xx

  • Emilygriffin

    so lovely – Merry Christmas

  • Wow – your food gifts all look so amazing packaged up on your table – you have been busy!

  • Mimi

    Thank’s for the inspiration. I’ll prepare my first holiday bake giving this week. Do you have the recipe for your Cherry Chocolate Coconut Granola for us?
    I love your blog and thank you for sharing your kitchen with us!!!

    Happy Holidays to you and your family

  • Tasha

    Annie, I just love these! I am certainly stealing this idea for next year, so I can spend more time in the kitchen and less in the stores! Could you possibly provide me with an estimate on how many cookies, caramels, & cocoa mix you gave per gift and also how much each recipe will be so I can figure out how many batches I will need to make for my recipent list of 50 people. Thanks so much! Merry Christmas!

  • Umm… You dialed it back? You mean you put us all to shame!! Lucky friends and family…

  • Dkh6821

    Great website
    I love the take home containers.
    Whenever the kids come I always send home food.
    What a fun way to do it.

  • What a great idea to make an assembly line! I’ll take homemade over store bought any day!

  • Heather

    i hope you plan on sharing the granola recipe!!

  • Is this NOT having a lot of enthusiasm or energy? ;) WOW – I´m impressed, cause it looks so good to me! I love giving homemade stuff too! Marmalade, chocolate, bread, cookies…

  • This is a great idea. I need to do some homemade gifts next year.

  • kcarter

    Where do you find the cute boxes for all of your goodies? Love your blog!

  • Kateiscooking

    What a beautiful thing to do!

  • Patience

    Where can we purchase one of these once they come out?!!

  • annieseats

    They are available on Amazon or from