Usually close to the holidays, I start baking family favorites. Many times I would make up several different batches of cookie dough a day ahead so the next day was just devoted to cut, bake and decorate. When my sons were younger, they loved to help.
I got inspiration for a variety of fabulous home-baked gifts from Gypsy's page on Facebook, complete with recipes. Some of my favorites are the hot chocolate cupcake, the melting snowman cookies, reindeer cupcakes and chocolate mini donuts that children love.
Jenny Jones' granola recipe is great to give in decorative jars. As you can see on the Youtube video on the right, there are many different recipes for granola and they are very economical to make out of basic ingredients in the pantry.
I love the maple syrup granola recipe without the brown sugar and Bottom Dollar stores have real maple syrup for under $4, so I have several bottles on hand. Walmart has the lowest prices for dried cranberries and other dried fruit that I add after the granola is toasted. Compared to commercially-made granola cereal, home-made granola is inexpensive and healthier as well.
If there isn't time to bake, cute Christmas Mice are quick and easy to create. Gypsy's Snowman Soup album offers several cute ways to package them as delightful gifts. Stacking three marshmallows on a small candy cane and decorating the snowmen are a great project for the kids.
The bread machine is put to use while working or shopping making eggnog bread and holiday breads that freeze well. The same recipe can make four small loaves that are baked after the bread machine combines the ingredients and allows the dough to rise once. Put in decorative loaf pans, wrapped in cellophane and secured with a ribbons, they make wonderful gifts family and friends look forward to.
I found beautifully decorated clear cookie and bread loaf bags at the to top them off with so I could present my baked goodies with style.