Homemade Holiday Food Gifts

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

One of my favorite food gifts to give for the holidays is homemade food mixes. Though inexpensive, they are “priceless.”

Here are a few of my favorites …


Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookie Mix. Notice how the covering is placed on top on of the canning jar in this picture and held in place with a rubber band, covered with a pretty ribbon and bow.

While you’re making up jars of this cookie mix, make a few extra for yourself! Obtain the  recipe for this mix in  Mix It Up (to Expand Your Holiday Gift-Giving) Food Mixes in a Jar by Julie Garden-Robinson, North Dakota State University Extension Food & Nutrition Specialist.

Check that the baking soda you use in this cookie mix isn’t past its expiration date! For best flavor, use this mix within nine months.

For tips on making baking mixes in a jar, check out my PowerPoint on Food Mixes in a Jar.


Country Chili Mix. In contrast to the cookie mix, the covering for this jar is placed under the band. I found it easier to distribute the material around the lid using this method.

There’s something about the flavor and aroma of homemade chili that is hard to beat! And this chili definitely satisfies!

The recipe for this chili, plus recipes for a Homemade Cornbread Mix and a Friendship Soup Mix are also found in Mix It Up (to Expand Your Holiday Gift-Giving) Food Mixes in a Jar.

Imagine your friend (or yourself) enjoying a big bowl of this chili, perhaps topped with some grated, sharp cheese!



Give friends a cup of holiday cheer with beverage mixes.

Spiced Tea Mix.

This sweet, spicy tea will put you in a holiday mood!

Find the recipe in Beverage Mixes in a Jar, a publication also by Julie Garden-Robinson and in part, by me. (I had the delightful task of sampling all the beverages and taking the photos!)

Double Chocolate Peppermint Candy Hot Cocoa

A cup of this hot cocoa is perfect after a chilly afternoon of sledding, or ice-skating, or making snowmen. Or, after a busy day of hitting the after-holiday sales.

Find this recipe, plus two other beverage mixes (French Vanilla Coffee Mix and Mint Candy Coffee Mix) in Beverage Mixes in a Jar.

View all the beverages and some tips on making mixes on our YouTube video, Homemade Holiday Beverage Mix Gifts. (Opens in a new window)


Foods, like homemade granola, are another great food gift. I like this recipe for California Walnut Granola from the California Walnut Commission. Walnuts are especially high in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and are unique among nuts as they contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid.

Make this granola shortly before you give it for the best flavor. The California Walnut Commission suggests printing the following tip out on a piece of paper; hole-punch the corner of the paper and attach it to the container with a ribbon:

Storage tip: This recipe will maintain its freshness by storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.

California Walnut Granola. When you give this gift, encourage the recipient to  eat it while it is the most tasty, by attaching the following tip: Storage tip: This recipe will maintain its freshness by storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.


My husband and I enjoy eating healthy foods, but they must taste good and be quick to prepare.

My goal with Cook It Quick is: Making you hungry for healthy food!

Follow along as I share recipes and kitchen tricks that help you enjoy the same types of foods. And though I am a registered dietitian and University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension educator, all my recipes must pass inspection by my toughest critic … my husband!

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