The holiday season is coming up fast, and it’s easy to be caught off guard. When you sit back and tally who you need to buy gifts for and how much it’s all going to cost, it can be overwhelming. But if you plan ahead and make a big batch of something delicious, you can give everyone on your list homemade edible gifts that won’t break the bank.


The Personal Touch of Homemade Gifts

There’s something special about holiday giving and homemade gifts. It really shows a certain level of thoughtfulness and consideration that you can’t always get from store-bought gifts. These homemade gifts can be personalized, and each recipient will know that it was made just for them. 

Plus, homemade gifts are fun for everyone. Making each one is a lesson in trial and error, where you never know if things will go how you want. But of course, that’s part of the fun! This is especially true if you made these edible gifts with a friend or family member. While you’re creating homemade goodies, you’re also creating memories that you’ll all treasure for years to come.

But a word of caution! Always be aware of food allergies, dietary restrictions, and preferences when making edible gifts. If there is any doubt about what a friend or family member can eat, just reach out and ask them.


Presentation and Packaging

Part of the fun of making homemade gifts, especially edible ones, is the presentation. There are all kinds of fun ways to wrap up your creations, from boxes and jars, to bottles. Depending on what you make, there are hundreds of ideas online to help you figure out the best packaging strategy.

But the style of presentation depends on what you’re making. So, read on for a few ideas for some homemade edible gifts!


Getting Your Ingredients 

The best way to shop for ingredients is to look at what you already have and plan around that. If you have some of the ingredients for sugar cookies in your kitchen already, consider starting there. You could even try a few different treats, but don’t go overboard and buy the ingredients for ten different recipes. It might be a while before you get to all of them. 

Buy what you need, and if money is tight, look for recipes with simple and basic ingredients. With any leftover ingredients, you can make another batch or use them for a different recipe.


three popcorn balls with candies on top

Popcorn Balls

Let’s jump right into popcorn balls! These traditional treats are easy to make and are sure to be a hit. These treats are exactly what they sound like, just balls of popcorn help together with sugar to make a fun, sweet and salty snack.

Usually, they just need:

  • Popcorn
  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Water
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract

But there are so many variations that you can choose from. Some are made with marshmallows to make chewy popcorn balls, while others are coated with caramel. There is even a no-bake version made with peanut butter! Often, nuts like almonds or peanuts are added for an extra tasty variation.


a plate of fudge with nuts in it


Fudge is a rich, dense confection traditionally made with chocolate, but it can come in so many unique flavors. 

Basic fudge is made with: 

  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Chocolate

But of course, this list of ingredients will grow as you add your own twist to it. Fudge is usually made in a large batch and then cut into blocks and wrapped for each individual. 

There is no shortage of fudge recipes, but peppermint, gingerbread, and walnut are just a few delicious variations you could make at home.


a jar of peanut brittle


Brittle is another confection made up of flat, broken pieces of hard sugar candy, usually embedded with nuts. Pecans, almonds, and peanuts are the most used. 

This treat is usually made with:

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Corn syrup
  • Vanilla
  • Butter
  • Nuts

Depending on your tastes, there are many variations on this, including chocolate, peanut butter, and toffee.


assorted chocolate truffles


Truffles are a rich candy that includes chocolate filled with ganache. These are usually small and packed with flavor. The basic recipe is just chocolate and heavy cream. But you can add so many flavors to enhance the taste. Caramel, strawberry, and peanut butter are just a few ideas to take your truffles up a notch.


a tin full of small white and red cookies


Of course, we can’t skip over cookies! There are so many fun and scrumptious cookie recipes to try. The ingredients vary depending on what kind of cookies you’re making but don’t worry, most of them are super simple to make. And for some, like sugar cookies, you get to decorate them with frosting as well. And that’s when your creativity can really shine through!

A few types of cookies you could make include:

  • Sugar cookies
  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Snickerdoodles
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Oatmeal raisin cookies
  • Shortbread


a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows

Hot Chocolate

Now, this one is a little different because it’s hard to actually gift hot chocolate. This hot drink is great for the colder months and goes wonderfully with marshmallows and whipped cream. But if you give someone hot chocolate, they have to drink it before it gets cold. 

That’s where you can get creative with hot chocolate mixes! These can be made using premade hot chocolate powder or from scratch. A typical hot chocolate mix consists of:

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Instant dry milk or powdered milk

The fun thing about this treat is the packaging. You can put the mix in a jar or decorative bag with stickers, ribbons, and bows to make each one extra special. Some people even make hot chocolate “bombs” that dissolve when you put them in hot milk or hot water. And for each type, you can add little things like peppermint, cinnamon, and marshmallows to make them even more delicious.


small squares of caramel with sea salt on top


And let’s not forget caramel! These yummy treats usually come individually wrapped because they tend to be sticky. Like fudge, you typically make a big batch and then cut it into smaller pieces. Although caramel comes in smaller portions than fudge. Caramel is made using:

  • Sugar
  • Heavy cream
  • Butter

And I’m sure by now you’ve realized that there are many different varieties of caramel, depending on your taste. A few variations are:

  • Walnut
  • Pretzel
  • Orange 
  • Coconut


Fun Gifts for the Whole Family

There are so many ways to make edible gifts that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. These are just some ideas to get the ball rolling. Find a recipe you think looks good, make a big batch, and share your treats with friends and family. Making the treats will be a blast, and everyone will appreciate the work and love you put into your gifts.

From popcorn balls to caramel, there are so many great ideas for edible gifts out there waiting for you to try them out!


Meals On Wheels of Contra Costa

Meals on Wheels is a community-driven organization that’s committed to helping homebound seniors live independently. This is accomplished through partnership with three separate meal delivery non-profits and Contra Costa county. Our service providers have extensive network of delivery staff and volunteers that deliver healthy the and nutritious meals right to seniors’ doors. The combined efforts of our coalition  help seniors stay independent in their homes by providing access to meals, resources, and community support to assist in any problems that may arise. 

If you want to help seniors in your area, check out our donation options and volunteer opportunities.