First things first – WOW!  I was truly amazed at the response to the giveaway I posted last week.  I absolutely loved reading about everyone’s holiday food traditions.  The only problem is that now I want to adopt so many of them for my own, but I would certainly go into a food coma.  It seemed like the most common tradition was baking cookies, which is no surprise.  A lot of people also seem to have fondue which sounds like a fantastic idea.  Special holiday breakfasts were also a common response.  And now, onto the winner!  I used a random number generator to choose a comment, and the winner was #377.  Congratulations, Emily!  Here is her response:

“We make Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast! Delicious!”

Now, a few words on my holiday treat packages.  I have had many emails and comments from readers with various questions regarding my holiday treat packages.  Everything from how I package the treats, where I buy my materials, etc.  I thought I would do a quick little post to explain how I plan, what I make, and how I package and distribute everything.

First off, you need a plan.  This is key because you want to be sure that you are not getting in over your head by attempting too many complicated treats and you have enough time to get everything done.  I try to do some easier items (hot chocolate, biscotti) with some more complicated cookies, etc.  You also want to be sure that the gift pack as a whole is well-rounded and not too heavy on one type of treat (too many cookies, all chocolate, etc.)  Lastly, be sure that if you are planning to ship any of the packages, all of the treats will keep well during the transit process as noted by Package Forwarding Shipping with MyUSAddress.

With all those things in mind, here is what was included in my packages this year:
Holiday Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Gingerbread Cookies (for shipping)
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies (for local deliveries)
Candy Cane Biscotti
Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
Orange Cranberry and Chocolate Spice mini quick bread loaves, not pictured (only in some packages, because several stuck to the pans and broke :( )

Once all the treats are baked and ready to be packaged, it is ideal to package each item individually if possible.  It helps keep flavors separate and helps with the presentation of the gifts.  More packages to open is always a fun thing!  I ended up needing to package two types of cookies together in some of the boxes, but I think it worked out okay.  Once all the items have been packaged separately, I throw them all into a holiday gift bag with some tissue paper and they are ready to deliver!  For the packages being shipped, I just pack the various packages into a box individually, with plenty of padding to keep everything intact during transit, and then affix shipping labels as needed.

I buy my packaging in a few different places, but my favorite way to purchase the materials is in bulk.  This way I have enough to last me for a few years, and the overall price is far, far cheaper than buying similar packages from places like Target, Joann’s, etc.   My favorite supplier is Nashville Wraps – great prices and a huge selection!

Hopefully this is helpful for those of you who were interested.  Baking for others is so fun and rewarding!