Happy Monday! I’m in the midst of final exams– 2 down, 3 to go, and I’ll get to head home for Christmas break next Monday after helping to close the dorms as an RA. Since friends will be leaving campus soon, I’ve already started giving out Christmas gifts and I wanted to share some Christmas gift ideas for the food lovers in your life.
It probably comes as no surprise that I love giving people food gifts since I joke that food is my love language. For a friend’s sweet sixteen a few years ago, I actually just gave her some pints of my favorite ice creams. I think food-related gifts are fun and especially great when you want to give out a bunch of small gifts.
For this post, I’m sharing small items under $5 that I’ve given to friends, study buddies, and even a couple of super helpful professors (don’t judge) this year, with a few bigger food-related gift ideas at the end.
Favorite food gifts under $5
-Trail mix is a great gift for health-conscious friends. I love Trader Joe’s Go Raw Trex mix because it has raw, unsalted nuts and dried fruit– that’s it! Most trail mix ingredient lists are a mile long because of the sugar and oil additions to the nuts.
There’s no added sugar here– just almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, and raisins (although the raisins do have canola oil as an ingredient).Each 1 pound bag is $5.49 at Trader Joe’s, so not quite under $5, but we’ll let it slide. You could also always make your own trail mix to give as a gift.
-Larabars are great stocking stuffers or little items to include in a foodie gift basket. Cherry pie and apple pie are my personal favorites, but Larabar also makes really fun limited edition gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and snickerdoodle flavors for the holidays. I love introducing friends to these bars that have only dried fruit, nuts, and spices as ingredients.
Homemade treats are another really fun gift to give. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is baking lots of goodies so in years past, I’ve given out cutely-wrapped plates of homemade Christmas treats like toffee bars, sugar cookies, buckeyes, lemon bars, etc. This year, I made mini loaves of pumpkin bread, wrapped them in cellophane, and tied each one with a big bow to give to a couple of friends and my boss.
-Fancy dark chocolate bars are also a really fun gift to give and receive.
You’ve got to get something for those friends who wouldn’t be thrilled about receiving raw nuts for Christmas, right? This isn’t exactly a dark chocolate bar, but if you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s nearby, pick up some of these Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joes ASAP. Trader Joe’s only sells them during November and December and they’ve sold out for the past couple of years in a row. Joe Joe’s are Trader Joe’s version of Oreo’s, and TJ’s covers them in dark chocolate and peppermint sprinkles.
-Another Trader Joe’s goodie I love is their dark chocolate sea salt caramels. They sell these little boxes of caramels just during the holidays and they’re a perfect tiny gift to give someone just to let them know that you thought of them!
-One final small gift idea is a gift card to the recipient’s favorite grocery store or restaurant. I love that Whole Foods’ gift cards come with a cute mini shopping bag.
For family members, I usually do bigger presents. Some food or cooking-related gifts I’ve given in the past include…
-A CSA (community-supported agriculture) box of produce delivered to their doorstep. (Google CSA with the name of your city to find one near you, or use this locator!)
-A foodie gift basket with some of their favorite treats
-A homemade cookbook I put together that included all of my favorite recipes
-A food scale for weighing baking ingredients
-A super cute apron, mug, or set of pot-holders, like these adorable ones from Anthropologie
-New kitchen knives
-Rimmed baking sheets for roasting veggies
I always try to include a note, too, telling the recipient some of the things I love and appreciate about them because I know it can make even a small gift meaningful, and they may keep it even when the gift is long gone!
So tell me…
What’s the best food or cooking-related gift you’ve given or received?
What gift are you excited about giving to a friend or family member this year?
Who’s the trickiest person to buy gifts for on your list?
I usually buy my mom and sister things that I’d enjoy, too, which makes things easy. My dad and my brother are tricky, though. Any suggestions? What do you buy for the guys in your life? I’m all ears!
I love these ideas! For Christmas I hope to put together a little hamper for my mum and dad containing lots of little goodies that they like (ie. all of the quirky things in Whole Foods that you can only get at this time of year!)
For my dad this year-round I’ve bought a t-shirt that caught his eye when we were out shopping tog in the summer and I usually find that clothes (especially of you r dad runs) are quite a good bet!
Best of luck with the rest of your exams 🙂
Thanks so much, Charlotte! And those sound like great gift ideas.
Emily @ My Healthyish LIfe says
I think you got me that Trail Mix (or something very similar) for the first foodie swap! I can testify that it’s a good gift. My dad is the hardest person to buy for too! I could shop all day for my mom.
I totally gave you that trail mix 🙂 I knew it’d be Emily-approved!
Courtney @ Running For Cupcakes says
Such good ideas! I got some of those dark chocolate caramels on my last day from one of my students and they are soooo good!
There need to be WAY more than 4 in a box haha!
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me says
My brother is SO hard to shop for. Liteally, I hurt my brain every year trying to find something for him, but always end up making him a dessert. That always works. 😉
Lauren Lalicon says
The guys in my life are the hardest to shop for! I killed it last year with a pair of RayBan Clubmasters, but now I’m beat this year. I like the idea of food gifts for friends! People usually give chocolate gifts, but I like the idea of mini pumpkin bread! Will keep that idea in mind 🙂
Loved your gift ideas! I am planning on making some homemade goodies as presents this year! First it is cheaper than most presents but also homemade gifts come from the heart and I love getting gifts that are thought out and special! Like books! I love me my books!
– XO –
Giving books you know they’d love to fellow book lovers is a great idea!
Carly @ Fitliving blog says
Great list! I love your idea of a homemade recipe book. Genius! I’m going to be giving out my gingersnap granola this year and can’t wait to gift it to friends and family!
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says
Small food gifts seem like a great idea when you have lots of people to buy for! I think my mom is the hardest to buy for – I usually try to get her some new music I think she’d like.
Kerri mCgRAIL says
Buy me a whole foods gift card & I’m one happy camper! my favorite food related gift was a juicer my sister got me for my graduation! I usually buy my dad and bothers something sports related- workout clothes, nike socks, cologne/ body wash & cool winter hats!
Wow a CSA and homemade cook book are such good ideas! I love this list Liv because it’s so creative and thoughtful.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
Larabars <3 <3 I would just love to get a huge box of larabars for Christmas!
I’d LOVE that, too! I have a feeling my stocking is going to be full of them this year. Hint hint, Mom 😉
I love giving food as gifts! This year I am giving a co-worker for our gift exchange a box of chocolates from a local candy making company in my home town I can’t wait to give it!
Hayley Blake says
Love these ideas since there are a lot of fellow food lovers in my life! I agree that shopping for men is so hard….my dad is impossible. I usually ask him what he wants which is cheating 😉 I have found a few cool gifts on uncommongoods.com for men, even if they are kind of weird things.
Just checked out the site- so many cool things! Kind of reminds me of Sky Mall magazine but less random haha 🙂
Food is my love language too, and it’s one of my favorite things to give! I would absolutely love a big box of peanut butter chocolate chip larabars or trailmix. 🙂 :)) The chocolate you sent and the almonds and all the other yummies were SOOO good. You have really good taste Liv!
Yay, I’m so glad you loved all of the goodies! Thanks, Emily!
My absolute favorite christmas gift each year is the giant basket of foodie gifts my hubby buys me. I give him like a $40 budget, and he just grabs one or two small things of this and that and tosses it into this huge basket of mine. By the time I get it on Christmas it is jam packed with all of my favorite foodie treats – nut butters, bars, chocolate, candies, quest bars, chips, protein powders, raw honeys, etc. I love it!!
That sounds like a DREAM Christmas present! Your husband sounds like a fellow foodie…or maybe just someone who knows you super well 🙂
Beverley @ sweaty&fit says
Yes! Giving food IS the best gift. As kind of a joke (but not a joke) i gave my friend canned salmon for one of her birthday gifts because she had never tried it before hahahaha. Funnily enough she is obsessed with it now 🙂
My best food related gift was a beautiful Creuset baking pan
Haha that’s a great gift! And it’s so fun to introduce people to new foods, even as a joke 🙂
I love these ideas! I’m thinking about making my friends and boyfriend homemade granola or trail mix for Christmas 🙂
The best gift I am giving this year is new razors to my dad. He loves a clean shave (like two times a day shaving) and this will be PERFECT! The hardest person to shop for is my older brother because we talk like twice a year and I don’t know him well enough to know what he wants. I decided to make him cat treats for his new kitty 🙂
I’m with you – food gifts make the best gifts, especially for all us foodie people that enjoy and appreciate the gesture 🙂 Good luck in your finals!
Liz @ The Clean Eating Couple says
Is it bad that I want everything on this list?!
Love this!! Such great gift ideas!! Thanks for sharing Liv! I wish we could swap gifts… I think we definitely have the same taste in foodie gifts!! <3 Hope that you're doing well girl!