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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Holiday Gift Packages (and a Winner!)

First things first – WOW!  I was truly amazed at the response to the giveaway I posted last week.  I absolutely loved reading about everyone’s holiday food traditions.  The only problem is that now I want to adopt so many of them for my own, but I would certainly go into a food coma.  It seemed like the most common tradition was baking cookies, which is no surprise.  A lot of people also seem to have fondue which sounds like a fantastic idea.  Special holiday breakfasts were also a common response.  And now, onto the winner!  I used a random number generator to choose a comment, and the winner was #377.  Congratulations, Emily!  Here is her response:

“We make Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast! Delicious!”

Now, a few words on my holiday treat packages.  I have had many emails and comments from readers with various questions regarding my holiday treat packages.  Everything from how I package the treats, where I buy my materials, etc.  I thought I would do a quick little post to explain how I plan, what I make, and how I package and distribute everything.

First off, you need a plan.  This is key because you want to be sure that you are not getting in over your head by attempting too many complicated treats and you have enough time to get everything done.  I try to do some easier items (hot chocolate, biscotti) with some more complicated cookies, etc.  You also want to be sure that the gift pack as a whole is well-rounded and not too heavy on one type of treat (too many cookies, all chocolate, etc.)  Lastly, be sure that if you are planning to ship any of the packages, all of the treats will keep well during the transit process.

With all those things in mind, here is what was included in my packages this year:
Holiday Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Gingerbread Cookies (for shipping)
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies (for local deliveries)
Candy Cane Biscotti
Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
Orange Cranberry and Chocolate Spice mini quick bread loaves, not pictured (only in some packages, because several stuck to the pans and broke :( )

Once all the treats are baked and ready to be packaged, it is ideal to package each item individually if possible.  It helps keep flavors separate and helps with the presentation of the gifts.  More packages to open is always a fun thing!  I ended up needing to package two types of cookies together in some of the boxes, but I think it worked out okay.  Once all the items have been packaged separately, I throw them all into a holiday gift bag with some tissue paper and they are ready to deliver!  For the packages being shipped, I just pack the various packages into a box individually, with plenty of padding to keep everything intact.

I buy my packaging in a few different places, but my favorite way to purchase the materials is in bulk.  This way I have enough to last me for a few years, and the overall price is far, far cheaper than buying similar packages from places like Target, Joann’s, etc.   My favorite supplier is Nashville Wraps – great prices and a huge selection!

Hopefully this is helpful for those of you who were interested.  Baking for others is so fun and rewarding!

  • http://kathyandryan.blogspot.com Kathy

    Beautiful Annie! I’m saving this for next year!

  • http://thehousemotherload.blogspot.com Lexi

    I agree with everything. Of course my packages are going to be late this year, but well that’s life! And Nashville Wraps is my ABSOLUTE favorite supplier for gift wrapping material! If you are looking to package your treats all together, their gable boxes are extra fun! (And great for if you are doing box lunches or a Polar Express themed party for a “train” dinner!)

  • Annie

    Lexi,
    Yes, the gable boxes are awesome. I haven’t bought those yet simply due to the cost, but I definitely want to get them eventually.

  • Jen

    Annie-
    I started reading your blog not to long ago and it has been a great help for me in learning how to decorate with royal icing. I really like your boxes but was curious what size you order?

  • HB

    Thanks for sharing this. I too LOVE Nashville Wraps!

  • Annie

    Hi Jen,
    Sorry for the delayed response. I really don’t remember exactly what size of boxes I ordered, as I bought them a couple of years ago. I think it’s probably the medium size but I’m not totally sure about that.

  • Natalie

    Love reading your blog. About packing/shipping the frosted sugar cookies.. how do you do that without having them break. I’ve read that sometimes if you don’t put wax paper in between the frosted cookies they will “melt” in a way and look gooey upon arrival? Really want to send gifts from my kitchen this year and maybe a little 101 post on that would be helpful since the holidays are around the corner.

  • Noel

    Hi Annie. Don’t know if you can/will answer this, but I have a brother overseas and was wondering if you had a cookie recipe in your arsenal that ships well. I assumed your sugar cookies might, as I know you make them in advance. Any others?

  • Annie

    I would probably do the sugar cookies and some sort of biscotti. Those tend to keep really well. You could also do the homemade vanilla bean caramels. They last an incredibly long time. Like, I’m still eating some from Christmas time. Hope that helps!