Holiday Cranberry Orange Granola / JillHough.com Laced with cranberries, oranges, and holiday spices, this yummy granola will put you in a festive mood. Enjoy it yourself or for gift-giving.

5 reasons to give an edible gift, plus tons of recipe ideas

I know, I know. We’ve all been unceremoniously handed a nondescript pumpkin loaf or a pale jar of applesauce for the holidays.

But that’s not what I mean by an edible gift. I mean something really delicious or indulgent, something that you put your heart into and make special, and something presented it in a way that’s a treat in itself. That’s entirely different. That is an edible gift.

With that established, here’s 5 reasons to give an edible gift:

1. It’s a gift of time versus money (usually)
It’s easy to click a few buttons on the internet and buy a thing. It’s also easy to buy a few ingredients and make a batch of Holiday Cranberry Orange Granola. But the latter also takes time and energy—in other words, making granola isn’t hard, but it does take your care and attention. And isn’t that a more precious thing to give than money?

Please know that I know there are people who really do hurt for money, especially these days. For those people, give them that. Generously. And maybe make them some granola too. Because all people, moneyed and not, appreciate a gift of time and energy.

There was one year that I decided to make my gang of girlfriends truffles and bought really good chocolate to do it. Suffice to say that was a gift of both time AND money (but they were worth it).

2. Few of us need more stuff
Kids and young people setting up households might need stuff. But few grown adults do. Yes, there might be stuff that they’d enjoy having. (I admit to being excited about the thing that I got for my husband this year.) But nine out of ten times, aren’t we usually just getting something that’s close enough for jazz, that’s at least some thing and it checks a box on the gift list?

In fact, if you give an experience (eating granola!) versus a thing (socks!), you’ll be right on trend. There’s a growing preference towards gifting experiences over things, across the board but especially with millennials.

3. It’s handmade and homemade—and aren’t those always the most special gifts?
There’s a reason your mom saved the card you gave her when you were 7 and the Christmas ornament you made when you were 10. You made them! They came from your hands, crafted carefully and patiently.

Okay, you were also 7 and adorable. But you get the point.

4. It’s food!
Eating is something we all have in common, something we all can appreciate and enjoy. Wearing a half-zip hoodie—something I briefly considered for Dad this year—is not.

Holiday Cranberry Orange Granola / JillHough.com Laced with cranberries, oranges, and holiday spices, this yummy granola will put you in a festive mood. Enjoy it yourself or for gift-giving.

5. Lastly and most importantly, it’s the next best thing to a hug
Food is love. It’s something we’ve known since we were kids and our moms made us soup or our grandpas took us out for ice cream. Give someone an edible gift, one made by your own hands, with care and time and attention, and there’s no way it doesn’t feel like a hug. Like love.

And isn’t it what we all want more than anything right now—a hug from the loved ones we’re missing? I know I would trade all the Netflix subscriptions and Instapots and pajama sets in the world for just a few of those.

Final dos and don’ts
DON’T make your edible gift in a rush or in an attempt to cross something off a list. It’s pretty impossible to add love if all you’re paying attention to is getting something over with.

DO go the extra mile and make the presentation as special as the gift. Use pretty tissue, wrapping paper, and cellophane. Use decorative bags, boxes, and bottles. Luscious ribbons and bows and snazzy gift tags. Maybe include a beautifully printed version of the recipe (acknowledging the source of course).

In other words, don’t skip the cherry on top—it makes the whole sundae.

Much love to you and yours this holiday season. With this list, I’m sending each of you an edible hug.

Ideas for edible gifts:
Holiday Cranberry Orange Granola
Cherry Almond Granola
Maple Oat Pecan Scones
Rustic Gruyere Chive Scones
The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Salted Cherry Almond Oatmeal Cookies
Lavender Butter Cookies
Butter Cookies in 4 other flavors, plus how to make them in a checkerboard pattern
Hazelnut, Milk Chocolate, and Cherry Icebox Cookies
Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting Filling
Mexican Chocolate Brownies
Easy Orange Marmalade Bars
Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Candied Ginger and Mixed Nuts
Nana’s Honey Cake
Smoky Cajun-Inspired Spice Rub
Meyer Lemon Mayonnaise
Marinated Olives with Citrus and Garlic

And here’s a bunch more ideas from Food & Wine

Holiday Cranberry Orange Granola / JillHough.com Laced with cranberries, oranges, and holiday spices, this yummy granola will put you in a festive mood. Enjoy it yourself or for gift-giving.

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