“… and the Grinch puzzled, and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then he thought of something he hadn’t before: Maybe Christmas… – he said – doesn’t come from a store. Maybe, Christmas, means a little bit more.”
Christmas has come and gone and thankfully my bank balance hasn’t gone with it. The Grinch got it right in the end. Christmas really doesn’t come a from a store. Well, it doesn’t have to anyhoo.
I have to say, without the slightest bit of stuffiness or superiority , that somehow I managed great gifts, hand made & store-bought, aaaaand kept to my budget. Yay! Here are a few of my handmade Christmas gifts and best ever recipes.
1. The Classic cookie gift box for work friends and neighbors
I love mixing it up when it comes to cookies. Make them chunky, different flavourings and add-ins but as gifts, I prefer the full proof cut out sugar cookies. Cut them out into festive shapes then after they’re baked and cooled put them in sealed cello bags and into kraft boxes.
I made basic Christmas lables and glued them to the gift boxes, you can find them here:
Instead of traditional gift tags, I opted for monogrammed christmas tree cookies which I put in a cello bags and tied them on the boxes with red ribbon.
(Check out the “Monogrammed Cookie pops for Kiddos“ section below for instructions on how to make monogrammed cookies)
2. Cookie recipe plaque for family and close friends
- Hard card
- Christmas ribbon
- String or wire
- Hole puncher
- 1 Metal regular cookie cutter or 2 mini ones.
- Florist Cellophane, for wrapping.
1. Measure and cut out an A5 sized piece of card. (8.3″ x 5.8″ or 21 x 15 cm)
2. Print one of the following cut out cookie recipes:
3. Cut out the recipe sheet and carefully glue it on the A5 piece of card. Let dry.
4. Punch two holes on the top part of the Card. Cut a 30 cm long piece of ribbon and tie one end of the ribbon around one hole. Do the same on the second hole.
5. If you’re using one regular sized cookie cutter, place the cookie cutter on the bottom of the card and position it so it seems even. Make a little mark on each side of the cutter with a pencil. Using one edge of the scissors make two holes where you made little marks with the pencil. If using two small cutters, do the same thing but make sure they have some space in between.
6. Run a piece of string or wire in one hole and wrap it aroung the cutter; pull the string back through the hole and tie a knot. Repeat on the other side, securing the cookie cutter.
7. To showcase the gift, wrap it in florist cellophane.
3. Monogrammed cookie pops for the kiddos
For the kids, cookie pops are a must. For some reason the association between a cookie and a lollipop is irresistable and, as it turns out, the perfect stocking stuffer. I used a Sugar Cookie Recipe to make these.
- Fairly large Christmas cookie cutters (at least about 3″ /7 cm long/wide)
- Popsicle sticks (…or if you’re REALLY financially incapacitated, go to Starbucks and get some of those mixing sticks for free. Hey, I asked politely!)
- Chilled Sugar Cookie Dough (Printable recipe in “Cookie recipe plaque for family and friends” mentioned above)
- Red, green and white fondant
- Royal icing (directions will follow)
- Baking sheet lined with grease-proof wax paper
- Rolling pin
- Small spoon or off-set spatula
- Cello bags, Christmas Ribbon for wrapping
- Roll out cookie dough to 1/4 “/0.5 cm thick.
- Cut out cookies and place them on prepared baking sheet.
- Carefully insert popsicle stick up to halfway through the cookie. Make sure the stick is well placed and you can’t see it through the cookie dough.
- Bake at 350ºF until edges are golden; Let cookie pops cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, unpackage your fondant, cut out a piece and pat it with some cornstarch on both sides. Using a clean rolling pin roll out the fondant until about 1/16″/0.25 cm thick; use the same cookie cutters you used for the cookies to cut out shapes in the fondant.
- When the cookie pops have cooled completely, using a small spoon or off-set spatula spread a thin layer of royal icing on each cookie. Place the cut out piece of fondant on it’s respective cookie shape. Let dry for 1 hour. *
- Package the cookies in cello bags and tie the ends with festive ribbon.
* Optional: Use white fondant to make letters or small details on the cookie pops; to apply them, just dab a little alcohol/Vodka on the cookie then carefully place them on. Don’t worry, alcohol evaporates at room temperature and you won’t taste any residue. You can also buy edible
- Beat 3 large egg whites with 450g of icing sugar on high speed until the mixture is thick and glossy; add 1/2 tsp of vanilla and beat until combined. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.