My favorite thing about this time of year is that it brings out the thoughtfulness in everyone. Schools are doing canned food drives, the tinkering Salvation Army bell reminds us to share with those in need, and neighbor turns to neighbor with gifts of homemade deliciousness. I have fond childhood memories of looking over goody plates that people had given my family and carefully selecting my nightly treat. The treats had a hierarchy in my child mind that went as follows:
I have to admit that even as an adult not much on my hierarchy has changed. So naturally, when it's time to make treats for my friends and neighbors I think about what I would like most and go from there. Here are some tried and true treat ideas to help you during the homemade giving season.
As a teenager we had new neighbors from India. After we took them a holiday goodie plate, they returned the favor by bringing us a container of traditional rice pudding. It's the first time I remember eating currants or cardamom and I can still recall how unique and delicious it was. It created a food sharing opportunity that continued between us and introduced our family to Indian food.
My mom used to make candied mint popcorn when I was growing up and it's been one of my favorite treats to give at Christmastime because it's tasty, unusual and shares something that's meaningful to me. Does your family have a special sweet treat? If so, now is a great time to share it.
Sometimes there are just too many sweet Christmas goodies to eat at one time. We've given muffin mix, cookie dough mix in a jar and brownie mix to our neighbors in holidays past. It gives people an easy, amazing treat that they can choose to eat when they're not on sweets overload.
Two of my favorite treats that we've received were a fresh fruit basket and home canned fruits and jams. Giving fresh fruit is a thoughtful, healthy way to share the holiday spirit without spending any time in the kitchen. Plus, it’s a great way to go if you have a particularly busy holiday season.
I hope that during this holiday season you can enjoy making memories in the kitchen and sharing with your friends and neighbors. That's what makes this season the most delicious of all.
Here are the homemade goodie plates our family will share this holiday season!