Holiday Gift-Making Ideas

BY Barbara Gay TIMEDecember 11, 2009 PRINT

Cinnamon Ornaments
These require no baking and are simple enough for kids to make.

• Mix 1 cup of applesauce with about 1 1/2 cups of ground cinnamon to form a stiff dough.
• Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. (The thickness can be adjusted, but if too thin it may break easily. If
too thick, it will take more time to dry.)
• Cut with cookie cutters; make hole for ribbon or hanger.
• Carefully put on a rack to dry. Let air dry for several days, turning occasionally.
• Can be left as is for sweet-smelling ornaments or decorated with fabric paints.

Hint: I like to use the kind of cookie cutters that press a shape onto the cookie. This makes decorating it easier for children as there is a pattern to follow.

Honey Surprise
This is a great last-minute gift to give to neighbors, acquaintances, or the mailman.

• In a small jar, put a cinnamon stick, two whole cloves, and two whole allspice berries.
• Add honey to fill.
• Set in a bowl of hot water for 20 minutes to develop the flavors.

Hint: You can buy small holiday-decorated jars at your local dollar or discount stores, or just add a festive ribbon to the jar.

Vanilla Almond Coffee

This is a great idea for the coffee lovers on your Christmas list.

• Add a 1-ounce bottle of pure vanilla extract and a 1-ounce bottle of pure almond extract to 1 pound of coffee.
• Shake to blend thoroughly.
• Put in an attractive holiday tin.

Hint: This works well with decaffeinated brews, too.

Pomander Balls
This is also something kids can do.

• Stick whole cloves into any kind of citrus fruit. Use a skewer to start the holes.
• You can cover the entire fruit or make a pattern of your own design.
• Use festive ribbons to hang or place in a bowl as a centerpiece.
• Makes a pretty decoration as well as a wonderful room freshener for the holidays.

Hint: Best to use thin-skinned, firm fruit.

Cake in a Cup
A great idea for the young people on your list or for those who don’t cook or bake much.

For the cake you, will need one box of cake mix and a small box of instant pudding mix (not sugar free). Mix the ingredients and blend well. Measure 1/2 cup of the mixture into a sandwich bag and label “Cake mix.”

For the glaze you will need 1/3 cup of powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon of dry flavoring such as lemonade mix, orange breakfast-drink mix, cocoa or vanilla powder, instant flavored coffee, or cappuccino. Mix the ingredients and put into another sandwich bag labeled “Glaze mix.”

Place both bags in a large coffee cup with the following baking instructions:

• Mist inside of cup with cooking spray. Empty cake mix into cup.
• Add one egg white, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon water.
• Mix well. Microwave on high just under two minutes.
• Mix glaze mix in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon water. Pour over cake.

The flavor options are limited only by your imagination and what you can find at your grocery store, but here are some obvious choices:

• Lemon cake mix and lemon pudding with a lemonade glaze
• Yellow cake mix and chocolate pudding with a cocoa glaze
• Devil’s food cake mix and chocolate fudge pudding, cocoa glaze
• Pineapple cake mix and coconut pudding, flaked coconut
• Butterscotch cake mix and butterscotch pudding, powdered sugar only

Hint: The coffee cup needs to be microwave safe and able to hold at least 1 1/2 cups of water.

Barbara Gay
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