Janet's Notebook
Tasty Homemade Gifts to Give This Christmas


Christmas Cran-Cider Jelly


Something I love to do each holiday season is to give homemade gifts. Not only is it economical and tasty, but it's special for the recipient. Who doesn't love to receive a gift made with love?

"Cranberries, apples, and oranges - officially the good cheer fruit of Christmas," jokes Sheri Zarnick (Union Lake, MI). "These wonderful flavors blended with some spice to make a very flavorful jelly."

Sheri's Christmas Cran-Cider Jelly is a gift everyone will love. It tastes like hot cider but in jelly form. Apple is the primary flavor, but there are lovely undertones of cranberry and citrus. This will be great on biscuits or toast Christmas morning.

Caramel coated apples are amazing but wow can they be pricey. Stephanie Van Den Berg (Pataskala, OH) received one as a gift and realized she could recreate it at home. "They are easy and cost me about $2.30 each including wrapping and ribbon," shares Stephanie.

Stephanie's Holiday Chocolate Caramel Apples are adorable and delicious. She adds M&M's and Heath toffee bits, but customize the toppings based on preference. Nuts or crushed candy canes would be yummy. These would be adorable as a place setting on the holiday table. Attach a name tag to the sticks and you have a gift your guests can take home.

Make a batch of Lori Harbin-Combs' (Visalia, CA) Best of Show Dixie Peanut Brittle, package in clear cellophane bags and guests will be so impressed they'll think you picked it up at a gourmet candy shop.

"This recipe won a blue ribbon for me at the county fair and I have sold many pounds of it," explains Lori. "Lot's of people have told me that it's the best, even better than the famous candy store's peanut brittle."

Homemade peanut brittle is the best, and I love how easy this classic recipe is. Crunchy and buttery, it's melt in your mouth delicious.

Staci Ojeda's (Monroe, LA) To Die For Hot Chocolate is probably the richest cup of hot chocolate I've ever had. Sweet, creamy and super chocolaty, your friends and family will be asking you for this for years to come. This has become a must-make for Fawn Lewis (Carmel, IN).

"I have made and given this for Christmas every year since it was posted," shares Fawn. "Always to rave reviews and yearly requests." Add the mix to cellophane bags, attach the recipe and you have a wonderful treat for after sledding or for cuddling by the fire.

In need of a last-minute gift? With only five ingredients, Christine Bronston's (Ponca City, OK) Christmas Crunch can be whipped up in no time. Darla McCormack (Springdale, AR) made this for a family gathering and it was a huge hit.

"This is the best stuff ever," thinks Darla. "It is easy to make and I highly recommend it - your family and friends will love you for making it." There's a sweet and salty combination in each handful. The salt of the pretzel and the salt lightly sprinkled on top are just perfect. And the Kitchen Crew agrees - this is a winner!

If you're looking for something for the mailman, a teacher, a hostess gift or a party favor, try making one of these tasty gifts. It will definitely be appreciated. Happy Pinching!



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