Five Ideas for Last-Minute Gift Exchanges

So your holiday season is chugging along merrily, and then you get thrown for a curveball. You might get invited to a last-minute gift exchange, or realize that you’re supposed to bring a gift to a party you were invited to long ago. But you don’t have any extra gifts lying around. You can come up with something in a flash with some things you have around the house or in the kitchen.

Homemade toffee is fast, easy, and delicious. If you don’t know what to give, cook a batch and then break it up into a tin, or even a square gift box lined with cellophane or plastic wrap. Trust me, it will all get eaten.

Print out this easy toffee recipe just to have it handy. You might want to mix a batch up for no reason at all.

Peppermint Bark
You can find tins of peppermint bark all over the place. Williams-Sonoma sells it for $28 a pound! And while I’ll admit that their peppermint bark is nothing short of bliss, that’s pretty steep for candy. So, make your own, either for yourself or for a last-minute gift. As with the toffee, package it in a tin or a box lined with cellophane or plastic wrap. If you want to get real fancy and have the time, mix toffee and peppermint bark in the same box. Try this recipe from Epicurious. If you don’t have peppermint extract and can’t find it, one commenter suggests using mint chocolate chips. You can also skip the peppermint extract, for a slightly less full flavor. You can also substitute different types of chocolate. I like dark chocolate, so I’d use that instead of bittersweet.

Wrapped Candle
Most people have lots of candles around. I have many that I received as gifts, but never opened. So dig into your closet to find a wrapped candle, or at least a candle that hasn’t been burned and isn’t dusty. Wrap with ribbon or cellophane and you’re good to go.

Have you baked several batches of cookies already? Assemble some in a box or bag and you’ve got a ready-made gift.

Mix in a Jar
These are always popular. Start by figuring out what you already have on hand, then visit this page to find a mix that will go with what you have.  Layer it all into a mason jar, add a label with instructions, and tie with a bow.

As I’ve said before, truffles are my go-to gift. They’re easy to assemble, but most people think you did tons of work and are nothing short of amazed.

Most people will happily receive any of these gifts and never realize it was a last-minute gift. One caveat if you know people with food allergies: make sure you give them something they can eat. If you give cookies to a person who can’t have wheat (unless they’re wheat-free), they’ll know you weren’t thinking of them when you made the gift.

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