Every year I give away gifts of food to many of my neighbors and friends. I know I'm not alone in this as I also receive many food gifts from friends and family during the holidays. With the onset of gift bags and red and green plastic storage containers, I'm afraid the art of wrapping and presenting gifts is becoming a dying art.
Today I want to encourage you to resurrect this art this holiday season with the gifts of food you give.
A Personal Touch
So much beauty that can be created and given away through the presentation of a gift. Presenting an artistic, creatively wrapped gift is one way to express a bit more thought, a bit more love and a bit more care. Who doesn't enjoy receiving a beautifully wrapped present?
The gift comes bearing beauty and a personal touch, and that makes it just that much more special. Most (or all?) of us I know are limited by budgets in terms of how much we can spend on the gifts we give. I'm sure many of you wish you could give more. A beautiful presentation can help to express our hearts behind even the most simple of food gifts and reflect more clearly that it truly is “the thought that counts.”
Bottles and Jars
Are you giving homemade gifts in bottles or jars this year? Many people bring a bottle of wine to gatherings and parties as a hostess gift. Herbal-infused olive oils, vinegars, or marinades are also common bottled gifts. Others fill canning jars with homemade jam or layer ingredients attractively for a cookie, spice, tea or soup mix in a jar. Instead of popping that bottle or jar in a generic gift bag, what about wrapping it up?
I can't claim the following idea as my own because I just came across it the other day while flipping through a magazine at the dentist's office. (Unfortunately I can't recall which magazine, so I can't give proper credit. If you know, let me know!) But I think it's a fabulous idea.
Do you have an old sweater hanging around — one you no longer like, one your child outgrew? If you don't, just hit up the thrift store one day and look for some inexpensive used sweaters. Cut a sleeve off the sweater and slide it onto a bottle (or jar if the sweater sleeve is wide enough). Tie the top with some festive ribbon and voila! What a cute and cozy way to give a gift in a bottle! One note of caution: Make sure you either stitch up the bottom of the sleeve to cover the bottom of the bottle or jar or make sure the sleeve is a really snug fit. Otherwise, you will reach for the bottle (or jar) and the sleeve will slip right off and you'll have a mess on your hands instead of a gift. Thin sweaters are the easiest to work with.
Who said baked goods have to come on plastic plates or in red and green plastic tubs? Skip the plastic and package your baked goods this year in more creative, beautiful and earth-friendly means. There are so many simple, easy and inexpensive ideas. I'm only touching the surface here.
First of all, begin by packing the food in something. Do you have canisters from previous gifts? This beautiful tin came from a box of cookies my husband's aunt had brought with her when visiting last year during the holidays. The tin behind came from a gift I received from my uncle. Re-use beautiful tins like these by packing muffins, cookies or granola inside. A beautiful tin like this can stand on its own as a gift, though I still might be inclined to tie a big, white satin ribbon around it just for a little extra holiday glam.
You can also place baked goods in small boxes of all sorts. Just line the box with wax paper or baking parchment and place the treats inside. Some items — like note cards sometimes — come in small, attractive sturdy boxes with lids. I tend to keep and re-use these as the packaging for other gifts. But you can also find food boxes quite inexpensively at baking supply stores or craft stores like Michael's. The only problem is they are pretty plain. What to do? Wrap them and decorate them.
Here's where it gets really fun! I love using inexpensive white butcher paper or craft paper to wrap. It's a great base to start with, being neutral. (If your food boxes are white, you can skip the wrapping if you choose and jump right to decorating.) You can go with an all-white winter theme, using various shades of white and cream, layering items for a decorative look. Just a quick tip: use a glue gun when wrapping. It will keep any and everything in place, from felt to burlap to beads and bows. I normally wrap all my gifts first, then I go back and decorate with my glue gun in hand.
You can even get a bit fancy and try your hand at gathered fabric bows which are actually quite simple to make. These “flat” felt bows are another great choice — classic and easy to make. I put them on all my gifts last year. (The directions are not in English, but the pictures are self-explanatory.) I didn't bother stitching with needle and thread, instead I just glued each part together with my trusty glue gun. Much quicker and it worked great!
Pom-poms are fun to make (and a good kid's craft too). They would be super cute and festive tied on one of those sweater sleeve-covered bottles, don't you think?
But if crafts aren't really your thing, then just keep your wrapping natural and simple with baker's twine and evergreen. The evergreen I snipped off the tree in my front yard. The twine I bought here. I bought it a few years ago and we still have at least half of it left. I used it to wrap all my Christmas presents that year, plus we've used it for countless school projects, art projects, impromptu kites, puppets and more. While you put out about $10 to buy it, the spool will last you forever, trust me!
Just A Quick Word About Ribbon And Tags
There's no quicker way to add beauty to a food gift than by using real ribbon. Whether felt, grosgrain, shimmery or sheer, ribbon is beautiful and classy. And ribbon can be tied onto anything — jars, bags, bottles, boxes, you name it. I always find ribbon on great sales before and after Christmas at my local Michael's craft store. One to 2-inch wide red felt ribbon is often a cheap buy, but it still looks (and feels) lovely tied on gifts. I've bought 25 yard spools for just a couple dollars.
As for tags, they are another really easy way to add an extra special touch to any gift, but especially food gifts. Everyone likes to know what they're receiving, and a custom tag is a beautiful place to note the food you're giving and any necessary instructions. And the great news is there are tons of free printable tags online! I've pinned these ideas to use this year. Print them on cardstock to make them sturdy.
What food gifts are you giving away this year? Have you thought about how you will wrap or present them? Share your fun ideas with me below!
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