Wrap up Gifts in Good Taste

Sweet spritz cookies, melt-in-your-mouth fudge, savory quick breads and tangy dips are not only fun to make, they're great to give. To help you package them prettily, we asked readers for ideas. Check out the clever ways these folks wrap up Christmas.

Boxed and Ready to Roll

Her homemade nut and pumpkin rolls need to be handled with care, so Jan McCoy from Daingerfield, Texas makes sure she packages them securely…and festively, too.

"Because they are long and fragile, the rolls need some kind of support, so first I wrap them in holiday plastic wrap to keep them fresh. Then I spray-paint a sturdy flat box," she writes. "Once the paint is dry, I line the bottom of the box with seasonal gift wrap or cover it with shredded tissue. I tuck the rolls in the box, wrap it all in ribbon and accent with artificial holly or greenery and a gift tag. I think it's almost too pretty to unwrap!"

Food Packed in Flowerpots

Thoughts of spring are sure to sprout when you give homemade goodies in flowerpots like Sandy Campbell of Irving, Texas does. "Throughout the year, I look for colorful pots on sale at garden or discount stores," she says. "By year's end, I have several in various styles and hues.

"I line them with plastic wrap and fill them with homemade cookies or dessert bars to give to co-workers, teachers, my beautician and others on my Christmas list. I include the recipes, written on holiday-themed note paper.

"And, of course, I always credit Taste of Home when I use a recipe from the magazine."

Fill Up a Holiday Plate

A plate of cookies tastes all the sweeter when the plate is as much of a gift as the food. "After Christmas, I purchase holiday-themed china plates on sale and save them for next year," says Sally Blackford of Congerville, Illinois.

"When Christmas rolls around, I bake cookies and arrange them on the festive china, cover both the cookies and the plate in holiday plastic wrap and decorate with bows.

"Once the cookies are gone, the gift recipient has a pretty plate to use for many Christmases to come."

Her Gifts Are in the Can

Papier-mache is Judy Tinstman's way of sprucing up coffee cans to serve as Christmas containers. "I tear up paper bags into 3- to 4-inch pieces and glue the pieces, overlapping them, with a mixture of water and white glue onto clean cans. This gives the can a weathered, rustic look," reports the Sylmar, California reader.

"When it's dry, I stencil or paint a holiday scene freehand all around the can. Once it's filled with Christmas treats, I put the lid on and wrap the can in cellophane."

Bag It in Festive Fabric

Karen Kurtz of Kent, Ohio has her Christmas all sewn up…in the attractive fabric gift bags she makes. "I stitch the easy-to-make bags using festive red and green print fabric (plain or quilted) and fabric trims," she explains.

"On some, I add a holiday applique, such as a gingerbread man. "I fill the bags with handy mixes or yummy snacks‐one of my favorites is white chocolate popcorn with nuts. Then I tie the gift bags shut with festive ribbon."

Arrange a Goody Bouquet

Her holiday vases don't bloom with flowers but with sweets to eat. "I make goody bouquets to give during the holidays," says Carri Feaster of Palmer, Alaska.

"My arrangements usually consist of various types of cookies that I've baked on wooden skewers, as well as chocolate-dipped pretzel rods. I cover each 'flower' in plastic wrap tied off with colorful ribbon. Sometimes I'll add balloons, large lollipops or other novelties to my bouquets.

"They are especially popular at businesses because you can display them on your desk and let customers help themselves to a 'flower'."