I have decided to make baskets of homemade goodies this year - brownies, cupcakes, cookies, etc. I am trying to come up with a festive, inexpensive way to wrap them and keep the food fresh. The easiest (yet less-thrifty) method I can think of is red and green cling wrap courtesy of Glad, but I'd really like to do something less expensive. At the same time, I plan to make them several days before Christmas (and gradually), so I don't want the food to get stale/yucky before delivery.
first of all, wrap each item VERY well and store in a cool place if you must make them up ahead of time...frequently at dollar stores they have a variety of clear wrapping stuff used to wrap baskets...do you have to use plastic? will it be so full that plastic is nec. to keep it from falling out? why not tissue paper? why not clear garbage bags? ( and a pretty bow)
Depending on what you make, some things can be made ahead and frozen. Clear plastic to-go boxes (clamshell) and deli containers are good in baskets. So is foil with red and green ribbons. Or a mix of the two. Containers can be saved from your to-go purchases or, if you are doing a lot, you can purchase these containers in bulk in Smart and Final. You might be able to buy a smaller quantity from a local store, restaurant, bakery in your neighborhood at their cost to use. Basket can be wrapped in netting bought at the yardage store or Wal-Mart instead of plastic. I like to toss a handful of wrapped candy on top to add a little pizazz before I wrap a basket.
I have been making fruit/food baskets for my vet for a few years. I wrap the baked goods individually and then use an empty netting from either oranges or grapefruit over the basket to hold everything together. You can stack things really high---it works great. Add a bow and card and you are done.
I make Christmas cookies and candies for friends. I use Cookie gift bags from the dollar store with pretty ribbons. Last year I bought a lot of trays after Christmas when they were 50% - 75% off to use this year. My sister makes lots of sugar cookies ahead of time, freezes them and then uses icing to decorate them closer to the date that they will be needed. This works well also.
Make cookies and breads ahead of time,wrap with foil and freeze them. When you get ready to put the basket together, remove the wrapping and thaw.
I wrap sweet breads in clear plastic wrap and then wrap a large paper lace doily around it and tie with a red or green bow.
For cookies, go to one of those "everything is a $" stores and buy some cellophane bags. Stack the cookies in them and tie with ribbon.
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