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9 Homemade Food Gifts to Give This Holiday Season

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What do you give a person who has everything? Something good to eat, of course! A homemade treat is always appreciated by friends and family—and chances are you'll have a good time making them, too.

1. MILK CHOCOLATE BARK CANDY

Once upon a time, you had to use a double boiler to make chocolate bark, but this recipe melts your ingredients in the microwave. The result is Milk Chocolate Bark Candy from Organized Island that looks a lot more complicated than it is. You can vary the toppings according to your tastes and how you want it to look in a gift box.

2. FLAVORED MARSHMALLOWS

It's very possible that some people on your gift list have no idea that you can actually make your own marshmallows, so they'll certainly be impressed to receive a box of homemade flavored marshmallows this holiday season. Dannyelle at Life Is a Party has the recipes for Coffee Marshmallows and Bailey's Chocolate and Vanilla Marshmallows.

3. BRIGADEIROS

Brigadeiros are festive Brazilian candies that look perfect in a gift box. Darcie Hunter's Brigadeiros at Gourmet Creative are made of a base of soft caramel. Then you can separate the batch and add different flavors to the portions, like chocolate, coconut, or pumpkin spice, and use several decorating options. Then you'll have an assortment of attractive candies to pack for each gift.

4. CURRIED LENTIL SOUP MIX

When you give the gift of a homemade soup mix, your friend or loved one can have a meal, partially prepared by you, whenever they please. A jar of Curried Lentil Soup Mix is a matter of layering the ingredients nicely in a jar, and attaching the cooking instructions with a ribbon. You'll also want to share the full recipe, because they may want to make more.

5. PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE MIX

Hot cocoa mix is a gift that keeps on giving, and the recipient will think about you every time they make a cup. Just layer up four ingredients nice and pretty, and the recipient can shake it all together themselves. The recipe for Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix from The Bathonian makes enough for six jars.

6. COOKIE BUTTER

Anyone would love to receive a gift of their favorite cookies in spreadable form. You can use any kind of cookie by following instructions for Homemade Cookie Butter at A Beautiful Mess. Pack it in decorated reusable jars for a personalized and delicious gift.

7. MINT CHOCOLATE PUDDING FUDGE

It's chocolate fudge, revved up for Christmas! The pudding makes them extra silky, and the peppermints and marshmallows on top make them extra festive. You'll find the recipe for Mint Chocolate Pudding Fudge at Kraft.

8. CANDIED MAPLE VANILLA PECANS

Pecans by themselves are a wonderful treat. Add sugar and the flavors of maple and vanilla, and they're worth showing off as a gift to friends and family. The recipe for Candied Maple Vanilla Pecans at Hudson Valley Handy Works is surprisingly quick and easy.

9. PEPPERMINT MERINGUE

Believe it or not, these Peppermint Meringues are only about 15 calories each! Yes, they are made of real sugar, but the largest ingredient is air. The sweet and fluffy treats have even fewer calories when you give them away as gifts. The recipe by Sonja and Alex at A Couple Cooks makes around 45 of them, which should fit in several nice holiday tins.

BONUS: VANILLA EXTRACT

Homemade vanilla extract is possibly the easiest homemade gift you'll ever make, with only two ingredients needed: vanilla beans and vodka. It takes a couple of months to do it right, so you can file this one away for next year. Lindsay Garza explains how to make Homemade Vanilla Extract at Honest Cooking. Luckily, you've got almost a year to find some pretty bottles to put it all in.

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Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists
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We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

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11 Posters Worth Gifting This Holiday Season
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A good poster can make all the difference when it comes to decor. Posters are a cost-effective and fun way to add color, tie together a room, and show off the owner’s personality. If you want to help a loved one track down a poster that doesn’t look like it’s straight out of a college dorm room, here are 11 prints we suggest gifting:

1. 100 ESSENTIAL FILMS SCRATCH-OFF CHART; $35


Pop Chart Lab

Pop Chart Lab’s scratch-off prints are a fun way to put a personal touch on a room. The Essential Films edition serves as a ready-made must-watch list, with 100 incredible films—new and old. As your loved one watches, they can scratch off the gray squares of the poster to reveal the illustrations below. Once they're done, they’ve got a checkerboard visualization of great movies from Casablanca to Mad Max: Fury Road.

Find It: Pop Chart Lab

2. RETRO PATENTS; $33 AND UP

A framed patent of the Nintendo Game Boy sits against a wall.
Retro Patents

Gadget-lovers will swoon over these patent illustration posters, which feature the original patent drawings submitted for now-familiar technology like handheld cameras, record players, Tamagotchi, Game Boys, and more. The black-and-white drawings are accompanied by the name of the inventor and the date of the patent. Many of them are limited editions, so make sure to grab ‘em before they’re gone.

Find It: Retro Patents

3. DINOSAURIA; $37


Pop Chart Lab

Your favorite paleontology fan will love diving into this encyclopedic poster of dinosaur types, which catalogs more than 100 types of dinos in hand-drawn illustrations. Painstakingly researched, the work classifies 700 genera of prehistoric creatures into a taxonomy that’s sure to make your beloved science nerd’s heart beat faster.

Find It: Pop Chart Lab

4. REALLY BIG COLORING POSTER; $40

Two children lay on a giant coloring-book-style map of America
Great2bColorful, Amazon

Coloring books make great gifts for all ages, but coloring posters make even better ones. This giant, 5-foot-by-3-foot poster will keep your favorite young artist busy for hours filling in notable icons of all 50 states, from the Hollywood sign to the Statue of Liberty. And once they’re done, they have a colorful mural to put up in their room.

Find It: Amazon

5. SPACE GRAND TOUR; $22

Eight vintage-style travel posters advertising space destinations
JPL/NASA

Get excited for the future. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory designed these out-of-this-world prints, creating futuristic tourism posters for celestial destinations that, for the most part, humans have yet to reach.They’re part science geekery, part vintage travel homage, and the poster versions are the perfect gift for any future astronaut. Of course, they’re so pretty that even the least physics-inclined people on your gift list will still appreciate them.

Find It: Amazon

6. BETWEEN THE WORDS; $63

A spiral of punctuation on a poster that reads ‘Moby Dick; Or, The Whale.’
Nicholas Rougeux

Nicholas Rougeux’s Between the Words posters are minimalist takes on visualizing classic literature. Instead of trying to encapsulate the story, he focuses on what’s between the words: the punctuation. Each poster depicts every punctuation mark—in order—used in well-known books like Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Separated only by chapter markers, the punctuation marks spiral around a central illustration. Sticklers for good grammar will love exploring the dense punctuation patterns of books like A Tale of Two Cities and Ulysses, designs that provide a whole new insight into the writing techniques of famous authors.

Find It: Zazzle

7. “I LOVE” CITY MAPS; $21 AND UP


Jordan Sondler

Help your favorite urbanite show their city pride with New York-based illustrator Jordan Sondler’s whimsical maps of places like Boston, Chicago, and Seattle. Available in several different base colors, they divide major American metropolises into neighborhoods dotted with illustrated versions of iconic local architecture.

Find It: Minted

8. SKIES ABOVE CUSTOM STAR CHART; $130

A framed poster that reads 'Natalie and Morgan' with a star chart above in dark blue
Asterism Labs, Etsy

Baltimore-based data designer and former astrophysicist Katie Peek specializes in custom star charts that put a unique spin on a special day. They can highlight what the night sky looked like on the day of a wedding, a birthday, or during the last solar eclipse, customized to where the event took place. You can also ask her to commemorate the celestial view from any other time and place using her custom algorithms.

Find It: Etsy

9. PLEATINGS PRINT; $53

A graphic print shows gray shapes with lines running through them
Dry Studios

These abstract posters from the Stockholm-based Dry Studios are designed to create art using natural light in your house. The folded paper casts shadows when the sunlight hits them, turning the poster into changing graphic scenes throughout the day. They come in two different color schemes, one warm and one cold, to mimic the color change between day and night.

Find It: Dry Studios

10. LAW & MOORE MOVIE POSTERS; $12 AND UP

Three framed posters sitting on a table
Law & Moore, Etsy

The designers at Law & More specialize in pop culture posters that put a unique spin on beloved movies and TV shows from all genres, from Rocky to Stranger Things to Mary Poppins. Designed like vintage book covers, each features a minimalist illustration of the film along with the name of its creators. Whether you’re shopping for a James Bond aficionado or a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll be able to find a classy poster to show off their entertainment tastes.

Find It: Etsy

11. CONSTITUTIONS OF CLASSIC COCKTAILS; $37

A beige poster features a circular visualization of cocktail ingredients
Pop Chart Lab

Perfect for in the kitchen or near the bar cart, this infographic is a cheat sheet for becoming a mixology master. It illustrates how to throw together 60 different classic cocktails, organizing them by the type of liquor used to make them. Your favorite cocktail party host can use it to learn how to make a proper Rob Roy or Old Fashioned, or to help guests decide what they want to drink: just pick a base alcohol and go from there.

Find It: Pop Chart Lab

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