Gifts for Neighbors and Friends

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I think it's time to kick off the Christmas season with some gift ideas.  Every year, I try to create a unique handmade gift to give to neighbors, friends, and various teachers who have helped our family during the year.  Last year, we gave Rum Butter Sauce.

Although I love the idea of a baked goodie, it's just to difficult for me to pull off.  You have to bake them (consistently I might add - no burnt batches) AND deliver them quickly so they stay fresh.  Then, if someone's not home, you have to make a return trip to redeliver the item (I tried the "leave it at the door thing" one year and a neighbor's dog ate the entire gift)!

Now, if you are a baker and love the process, I am so happy for you.  But, if you are like me and need a foolproof gift, then read on!

Each year, I do a little brainstorming using recipe books, conversations with friends and, as of late, Pinterest searches.  I focus on keeping the recipe simple, but delicious or unique.  If you are curious about past year gifts read this - Christmas Gift Ideas.  Once I get the recipe and packaging idea, I come up with the label or tag.    

Then, I buy all the supplies and pick a weekend I know we will have time to really enjoy the process (i.e., not the same weekend you get your Christmas tree)!

I've also realized over the years, if you wait (and hope) to find the perfect container for your gift while shopping around town, you will never find it.  Things like this get picked over so quickly.  Instead, I always do this part online and then order them in bulk.  My favorite "go to" sources for the perfect packaging are Nashville Wraps, Container & Packaging Supply, and Specialty Bottle.   I always order my containers, ribbon and wrapping early in the season to make sure I will have them when I need them and each gift will seem special.  

Once I have all the supplies needed for the recipe and the packaging, my daughter and I put it all together.   

Since most of the people who receive our family gift also read my blog, I'm not going to spoil this year's gift idea - you'll just have to wait until next year!  But here are a few ideas I found while doing my research to get your wheels turning on the perfect gift from your family.  I would love to receive any of these gifts from freinds!

Sugar Scrub
This would be wonderful in the bath after a long day of Christmas shopping!

Bath Bon Bons
These would be so cute packaged in a clear cellophone bag with a green and red stripe ribbon bow and gift tag.

Lip Balm
I adore this idea.  You could actually package these in small pocket size tins and include one for each family member in a clear bag with a ribbon!  Here are the containers for this one - tins.

Vinegars, Marinades, Dressing & Sauces
There are endless recipes for this type of thing.  The key is to include some ideas on how to use it for the receiver. (i.e., spruce up your favorite salad or add a little kick when marinading that pork tenderloin)

Gourmet Syrups 
Again, tell your receiver how to use this one (maybe include a dessert recipe that works well with it).

Cocktail Mixers 
If you read my previous year's gift ideas, you know this kind of thing is my favorite to give.  I think it's fun to make a special drink during the holidays and a great mixer is the perfect way to encourage this!

Rein Beer!
Love this clever play on words! You could also make a a non-alcoholic version with root beer. 

Cocoa Mix
These are always fun to receive, but why not make yours a little different like this Mexican Cocoa.  

Cookie Mix
Not crazy about making the cookies for you, but I can put the mix together all day long!!  Also, I love how the layers this particular mix look in the jar. 

Sewing Project in a Jar
This one is not for everyone, but if you have friends who sew or who would like to, this apron in a jar is a fun idea.  My least favorite part is cutting out the fabric and with this one, that part is already done for you! 

Remember, coming up with the idea should also be part of the fun and enjoyment of making the gift. Now, let the festivities (and craziness) of the season begin!! Happy Monday. M.


  1. Hi Mandi, love this! It sounds heavenly good and its so special to receive something that someone took the time to make with their own hands, love how you did the packaging too. Well done!

  2. Wonderful ideas, Mandi! Thanks for sharing and you're so right that it's best to get your containers and wrapping well ahead of time. Enjoy your day!

  3. So many great tips, ideas and resources here Mandi - thanks! I love the rein-beer. :)

  4. What wonderful ideas! I just discovered your blog and I am your newest follower. xo


Thank you for thoughts on my post! M.