Frugal Gift Idea: FOOD!

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For our family, fall and the Christmas season, ushers in a time to indulge in some of our favorite foods in which we may not partake throughout the rest of the year. It is especially fun to prepare gifts for others using some of our favorite recipes. An added bonus is that these homemade goodies and gifts can often save money, as well. I have two gift items to share with you today that are both delicious and frugal. I hope you and yours enjoy them this season.

Preparing your food gifts

Jams and jellies make fantastic Christmas gifts! My mama always handed these out to people at church or gave them to family members as a simple little “I love you” or “I appreciate you”. She often took them to Secret Santa type functions or even just with cheese and crackers to holiday gatherings. So fun, and delicious, too!

This fall was the first time I ever attempted canning. I actually prepared apple butter and a cranberry-apple butter. The recipe I used was given to me by a friend, and I believe it was her grandmother’s or possibly a friend’s grandmother’s recipe. 🙂 Either way, they turned out delicious, and were SO easy to prepare! Here are my versions:

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Cranberry-Apple Butter: Slow Cooker Style

We also absolutely love this Dairy Free Pumpkin Bread recipe. Of course, you may sub in regular milk and butter if there are no dairy allergies or sensitivities in your family! I feel that the almond milk helps to create a more moist bread though, so you may want to try it anyway. I promise you, it is equally as delicious as a ‘regular’ recipe for pumpkin bread!

Packaging Your Food Gift

There are a few ways you could wrap your food gift.

  • in wrapping paper
  • bake breads in a mini loaf pan and package in a clear or Christmas-themed treat bag
  • bake breads in cupcake wrappers and group together in 3’s in a treat bag
  • decorate your own paper lunch bags with stickers, drawings, or stamps; cut to fit your food item; add food item; secure with ribbon

Our family chose two different ways to package our pumpkin bread this year.

Mini Pumpkin Loaves

~We made miniature loaves using aluminum mini loaf pans I found at our local grocery store. But there are disposable mini loaf pans available on Amazon, as well. Sometimes you can even find sets of ceramic mini loaf pans that you can bake in and then use to giveaway. I think these add just a bit more cuteness to the gift, but it is not necessary if you cannot add that expense!

~We also prepared muffins and used cupcake wrappers. We will package these in 3’s to 6’s (depending on the receiver) inside cellophane treat bags and will tie with a colorful ribbon.

Pumpkin Muffins

For the apple butter, you can give as is, or you may choose to find some pretty Christmas-themed fabric. Cut in rounds so that a bit will hang over the sides of your jar, then place under the ring (on top of the sealed lid) before screwing the lid on. Another option is to simply tie a pretty ribbon around the lid and deliver it that way.

Food Gift Items: More Fun Additions!

I’m taking a meal to a friend this week, and I plan to include both a mini loaf of pumpkin bread and a jar of my homemade apple butter. This would make a great gift! More options include:

  • include a homemade bread or some crackers on which the family can spread the apple butter
  • add an inexpensive set of spreaders to the jam/jelly gift
  • include the recipe for your food gift; simply create a cute card that says Lovingly Prepared by…..and then add the recipe on the back side
  • tuck in a gift card to Starbucks or some other favorite local place for an inexpensive yet still special gift

These food gifts will be given to a few to friends and neighbors as little tokens of our appreciation for them.

Additional Recipes to Prepare Food Gift Items

Homemade Breads


Homemade Guacamole and ‘Buttermilk’ Ranch Dressing would both make unique gifts. Just be sure to keep them chilled until gift-giving time, and then placed directly into the refrigerator by the receiver upon receipt.

I hope that you have found this post both helpful and frugal! Please let me know how these ideas worked out for you, or if you have something to add, too!

This post is part of the 25 Frugal Days of Christmas series and is written by Wendy Woerner.

frugal food gift items for Christmas

Wendy is a homeschooling mama to five who loves to encourage others along the homeschooling journey. She also considers herself a ‘foodie’ and is always ready to try a new recipe in the kitchen. You will find Wendy writing about homeschooling, faith, and other life events on her blog, She has also recently begun a new venture with Southern Test Kitchen. Be sure to visit and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter, too!

25 Frugal Days of Christmas at Frugal Homeschool Family

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Are you looking for more frugal Christmas ideas? Check out the other posts in this series:

Day 1: Create Your Own Photo Christmas Cards with free templates and tutorial
Day 2: Making Fun and Affordable Christmas Gifts
Day 3: How to Have a $5 Christmas
Day 4: Cookies in a Jar: a Frugal Christmas Recipe Round up with FREE printable gift tags
Day 5: Snowflake Card Craft for Kids
Day 6: DIY Snowman Ornament
Day 7: Printable Handmade with Love Gift Tags
Day 8: Frugal Family Traditions
Day 9: Bringing the 12 Days of Christmas to Life for your Spouse
Day 9 {2}: A Frugal Family Christmas Tradition
Day10: Frugal Gift Idea: DIY Christmas Crackers
Day 10 {2}: 6 Ways to Repurpose Kids Art for Christmas
Day 11: Repurposed, Reused, Free and Frugal Christmas Decor
Day 12: Frugal Gift Idea: Favorite Things Memory Box
Day 12 {2}: Frugal Family Christmas Tradition Ideas
Day 13: Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas
Day 14: Frugal Christmas Ornament for Kids
Day 15: Christmas Lights Drive {with printable awards}

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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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