If you’re anything like me, a college-aged student with little free time and limited funds, then the holiday season is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, we are broken free from the shackles of 8am classes and 4-hour long bio labs, but we are also subjected to emptying our bank accounts to shower our loved ones with…well…love.
Then there’s the hardest task of all: finding just the right gift for every person on your ever-expanding checklist. You certainly don’t want to be that guy. You know, the one who buys a different pair of socks for everyone they know. But how can you ensure your gift recipient will be happy when they unwrap your overly-Scotch taped gift wrap monstrosity?
The answer is food.
Check out this list for the easiest, most delicious holiday gifts guaranteed to satisfy everyone from your sorority sisters to Aunt Susan without leaving you penniless.
Oh yes, friends. Not only is fudge quick and easy to make (melt, pour, chill, done), but you can take a basic recipe down just about any avenue. Marshmallows? Caramel? Peppermint? Whatever your buddy likes, mix it into fudge and you’re guaranteed to spread the holiday cheer.
2. Candied Nuts
Not only are these snacks a lovely combination of sweet and salty, but they come with health benefits. Place them in a clear mason jar, tie a ribbon around it and you’ve got one adorable and delectable gift for that loved one who is nuts for nuts.
3. Chocolate-Covered Spoons
These gifts are not only tasty, but versatile. They can be dipped in mugs of cocoa, stirred into coffee, or simply eaten lollipop-style. You can pick the chocolate of your choice and even add toppings for that extra-special touch.
Whether its nutty, salty or topped with bacon (you heard me, bacon), brittle is positively addictive. Break a large batch into pieces and pop into individual bags to please a whole crowd. And if there’s a nibble or two left over, then indulge in some for yourself. Chefs get treats too.
5. Pre-made Baking Mix
This one’s ideal for that friend who wishes they had both the time and know-how to make homemade baked goods on the fly. Save them from resorting to the curse of “just adding water” and give them a beautifully layered jar of pre-measured dry ingredients for any recipe in your repertoire. Give them instructions on what to add and how long to bake for, and you’ve got a gift Martha Stewart herself would be proud of.
6. Infused Olive Oil
Believe it or not, this is undoubtedly the easiest gift to make of them all. Luckily for you, it may also be the most impressive. Bottle this one for those family members who think you’ve been doing nothing but making jungle juice all semester (even if that may be true).
7. Infused Vodka
If you’re using the above gift for family, then this one is simply ideal for your besties at school. And guess what: it’s just as easy. You can even use holiday flavors like peppermint, which is positively taking tastebuds by storm.
8. Flavored Popcorn
Popcorn is so very easy to make in large quantities. Not to mention you can top it with just about anything. From sweet to savory, bag up some flavored popcorns for your friends and they will be crunching happily into the new year.
9. Homemade Granola
We all have that health-obsessed friend who manages to go to the gym every day, even when everyone else on campus is nursing a hangover. Edible gifts don’t need to be drowned in butter and chocolate to be delicious (though, it does help). Give them a batch of crunchy homemade granola and they’ll love the fact that you catered to their healthful tendencies.
10. Spice Rubs
This gift is perfect for grilling guys and gals. In fact, my sister and I made a variety of rubs as a Father’s Day gift and officially earned good graces for the rest of the year. There are so many spice rub recipes out there that there’s truly no way you can disappoint.
Easy, versatile and impressive. Roll out batches of these and you’ll be a Willy-Wonka-level legend amongst your loved ones.