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Some of the most popular gifts I have ever given are the baked kind! Most people enjoy having something special to eat for the holidays. This is especially popular with the elderly or shut-in people.
By Robin from Washington, IA
I agree that baked goods can be special. So many folks don't have the time to bake. But I found myself getting bored making the same, albeit loved, baked goods each time. One summer at a yard sale, I found a cookbook from the 1950s. I made that my theme that year - everyone got sweets from that era.
I've gone with themes since then. I'm having fun, and everyone says they are getting a kick out of waiting to see what they will get. One year I did old recipes from Europe - and those were very different than modern American cookies! I have done cookies with just one country as the source. One year I used a Gingerbread cookbook to create all different kinds of Gingerbread - it was very different back in Medieval days! Then I packaged them in Gingerbread "bowls" to give. An idea I am mulling over is to do just 1 flavor - like lemon cookies, but with recipes from different countries.
It is fun to think up the ideas, learn a little of other languages, and create sweets that I, and most other folks I know, have never tasted! I give at least 2 of each cookie, wrap in clear wrap with an explanation run off on my computer printer, and fill tins or baskets I buy at yard sales all summer. Folks say they get a kick out of reading the little note about each sweet and then trying them and comparing opinions.
I like to think that the whole process brings me closer to them, and the families closer to each other.