OK, so today I’m going to talk about food Christmas presents. I’m slightly hesitant as I’m not entirely sure that everyone’s Christmas is quite like mine in this particular Christmas gift tradition. But I figure that every family has their own quirky ways at Christmas and I love to hear about other peoples, so figured you might like to hear about mine. Maybe we are not the only ones who do this?
I very deliberately have not used the phrase foodie gifts. The reason for that is I’m not talking about £16 Nando’s four sauces with dizzler sets (Available in Boots if you are interested). I’m talking about actual food, like a box of Lucky Charm cereal. I’m aware that will seem especially weird if you are from the US, bear with me, I will explain…
Why are food Christmas presents so good?
There are a number of reasons why I think food gifts make great presents:
> Useful: Everyone needs to eat. It doesn’t fill your house with clutter and you don’t have to put it on display, you just eat and gone, presents that disappear.
> Liked: I should say now I don’t just buy random food items for people. Obviously I am buying these gifts for my nearest and dearest, people I know and love. I know what they like and I really enjoy seeking out and buying them something new they will really enjoy. That doesn’t have to be a diamond ring; I can get just as much joy from a new flavour of Oreo, maybe more!
> Variety: I like to buy each person lots of little gifts, instead of one big one. I don’t spend a lot of money on gifts, but I like to have variety in each person’s bag; “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” etc etc. I add to this list: something to eat. Most food items are only a couple of pounds so you get the variety without overspending.
> Easy: All these items are right there when you are doing your regular food shopping all year long. See something you think someone would like and you can pick it up there and then, spreading the cost. Just make sure you check the expiry date.
> Novelty: When buying food Christmas presents I love to find something new or something they would never buy for themselves. Surely no one buys a jar of Prosecco flavoured marmalade for themselves? But get one as a gift and you are made up with it…well I’m anyway.
> It’s Tradition: When I was little, my grandpa used to give my sister and I a box of broken biscuits with a £5 pound note attached to the top. I have a suspicion it all stems from there. My mum always buys everyone a Terry’s chocolate orange, she wraps up a selection of dark and milk and puts them in a bag, then we lucky dip for them at some point on Christmas day afternoon (anyone else nostalgic about the snowball white chocolate orange?).
> I love food: Last but not least, food is great, why wouldn’t it make an ace Christmas present?
OK, so now I have hopefully convinced you that a jar of marmalade is indeed an excellent Christmas gift and that my family is not at all weird, I will give you some examples of the type of food Christmas presents we all give each other.
I’m not even going to touch on chocolate, it would take a whole blog post on its own and they are right there in the Christmas aisle; these suggestions are a bit more……unusual?
As I mentioned Lucky Charms earlier I think I have to start here. My husband loves Lucky Charms and for many years you could only get them when on holiday in America. Then you started being able to get them online, at £5 a box plus shipping, that’s a proper gift. I.e. you are paying an exorbitant amount and going to the trouble of having it delivered. However now you can get them in any supermarket, but he still gets them as a present, it’s tradition! But I’m also always on the lookout for a new version (chocolate Lucky Charms) or a new product (Lucky Charms cereal bars) because I know it will make him happy to receive them.
The other cereal idea is the cereal multipack. This is a food Christmas present that my sister and I used to get every year in our stockings and now I buy them for my nieces and nephews to carry on the tradition. It used to only be the Kelloggs Corn Flakes / Rice Krispies / Coco Pops ones you could buy, but there are loads popping up now; you can get Nestle, Krave and Crunchy Nut, so add some variety to your variety packs!
This is definitely a category when there is always something new to buy for someone to try. Buy a few items together; add a mug and maybe some biscuits and you have a lovely hamper idea too. They also have really long expiration dates, so you can grab them whenever they are on offer.
I have actually heard my mum go into Starbucks and order a “coffee.” I’m old enough to remember when there was no such thing (in the UK) as mocha. The only choice was whether you wanted you coffee with milk or without. So 100 different flavours of coffee is still very much a novelty.
My parents and in-laws are never going to be the type to buy an expensive coffee machine, but they love a flavoured coffee, so I always get a seasonal brew or two to go in their gift bags. Nescafe always do a couple of good seasonal selections that go down well, normally something involving mint or Irish cream. Pick up a couple for your drinks cupboard too; cosy nights in and after dinner offerings for guests sorted.
A lovely bottle of coffee syrup also makes a nice accompaniment gift.
Unsurprisingly, the British being a nation of tea drinkers, there is no shortage of options here either. Twining’s gingerbread green tea is delicious and would make a lovely seasonal gift. Better still Twining’s do a selection pack of 20 fruit tea bags, a lovely gift for the tea drinker in your life so they can find a new favourite.
My top pick for tea is a tub of Drink Me Chai, their spiced chai latte is so delicious and tastes so Christmassy. Plus, it is something that not everyone has tried and you can get it at every supermarket now. Even if you don’t buy this one as a present, get some to try for yourself, you won’t regret it. This is what I drink at home and my favourite drink to order in coffee shops too.
Everyone loves a hot chocolate during winter and there are so many new flavours available. Just today I saw Galaxy, Oreo, Malteser, Wispa and Aero. If you spot one in your dad’s favourite chocolate bar, why wouldn’t you get it and wrap it up for Christmas?
In a similar vein, I used to get Nesquik in my stocking when I was little, a good option for kids. Or those straws you can get that turn milk to milkshake as you drink, yum.
So, I have bought a lot of speciality jars of of condiments in my time. There are 100’s of great ones to choose from at every shop and garden centre. Here are a few of my favourite condiment food Christmas present ideas:
> Literally any jam or marmalade with booze in: Blackcurrant preserve with sloe gin, peach and prosecco preserve; both Mrs Bridges, website here. I could go on, but that could also turn into a post all of its own!
> Any novelty jam, marmalade or curd: Green, orange and red “traffic jam”, Banoffee Curd etc.
> Chocolate spread: Especially those in your loved one’s favourite flavour; Bounty, Maltesters, Caramel and Crunchie; there are loads available. Pair them with the matching hot chocolate and a pack of chocolate bars and biscuits for a mini hamper they will love.
You can see my post about preserve Christmas gifts from Cottage Delight here.
We don’t just stop at sweet things and I didn’t want to end without giving some savoury suggestions. I have bought fancy cheese straws, novelty Christmas pasta, unusual crisps, nuts and pickles. But I leave you with an idea that sums up the whole food as Christmas present’s philosophy.
Mustard: This isn’t so much a serious suggestion as a final example of what I mean about buying something which someone wouldn’t buy for themselves. My dad loves mustard, loves it. But a jar of Colman’s is about as exotic as he will buy for himself. I therefore use every Christmas to boldly go and search out new mustard’s for him to have as gifts. This is especially thoughtful of me, because I hate the stuff and will never get to consume the fruits of this labour myself.
Start a tradition:
Whether your family members love mint or marshmallows, have a bit of a think next time you are down the supermarket aisles and see a new product. Would they be delighted to find it among their gifts this year? If so, go for it.
That is it for today. Hopefully I have given you either a laugh about our strange present giving rituals, or I have inspired you to try a few of these as your own food Christmas presents.
Come over to my post on Instagram and let me know if you do this type of gift in your family? I’m really interested to find out if I’m the only one wrapping up a jar of marmite flavoured peanut butter this year!
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Need more Christmas gift ideas? Check out my blog post for going out essentials gift ideas here.