They’re personal and unique and come with a dose of thoughtful love. They also don’t break the bank and make great sustainable gifts. Check out this list of edible gifts under $20, many of which you can pull together with ingredients you already have on hand or buy from local food artisans. Thrifted and repurposed containers make the perfect vessels to deliver these delicious treats, a win for your budget and the planet.
In our house, decadent treats are always a win (especially when they arrive in thrifted containers). There are so many amazing jars, bottles, tins, bins, and baskets at thrift stores waiting to become home to a super awesome holiday gift. And we will most definitely eat the treats.
Some people are a little wishy-washy about enjoying edible treats as holiday gifts from friends, particularly homemade ones. If that’s the case for your gift recipient, stick with some of the options below that include store-bought snacks.
No matter who you’re gifting for, consumable gifts are great low-waste gift ideas. If you’re looking for a few small but fun gifts to share, consider one of these edible gifts under $20. Several of them are also included in the list of gifts for an adult gift exchange (because gorgeous snacks as a gift are always a win). Many of them you might even be able to round up with things you already have at home or with a quick trip to the grocery store.
DIY Dried Chili Peppers in a Jar
Easy to make in bulk and perfectly festive for the season, dried hot peppers are a unique gift for the holiday. Make a large batch and put them in a cute jar (thrifted or repurposed) with a ribbon or bow and you’re good to go. Add a favorite recipe sharing how to use them as a note if you’re feeling inspired.
Jar of Favorite Candies
Upcycle a jar from your favorite pasta sauce and fill it with your favorite candies. If it’s available, you might be able to find something delicious in the bulk section. Our grocery store has a healthy selection of bulk candy from chocolates to fruity gummy snacks to vintage penny candy.
Infused Olive Oil
My husband, a big fan of anything spicy, would love to receive a gift of chili pepper-infused olive oil. Add some peppers to a lovely jar of olive oil and let it infuse for a couple of weeks before using.
Be sure to put small slits in the peppers so they infuse more thoroughly. If you don’t have two weeks before it’s time to give the gift away, just add a note letting your recipient know to wait a bit before using it.
There are all sorts of infused olive oil flavors to try if you aren’t looking for something with a kick.
My boys love making peppermint bark each year. While they might prefer to eat it all themselves, I think their teeth would rot if they ate it all (and maybe mine too). Pack the peppermint bark in a thrifted holiday tin for a gift win.
DIY Fruit Basket
Fancy fruit baskets are nice but so pricey! Grab a thrifted basket, add a tea towel or hand towel and fill it with a few of your favorite fruits. Citrus and pears are pretty easy to find this time of year.
Fresh Herb Bouquet
Place fresh herbs in a bouquet and add them to a thrifted small mug, pitcher, or container. Alternatively, you could tie up a bouquet of dried herbs. They are both great options depending on what you have available to you.
Oat Bars in a Jar
Gather up the ingredients for oat bars and put them all together for your gift recipient. They just need to add the finishing touches and bake them up to enjoy on their own. Don’t feel shy about making a batch for yourself too!
Dried Edible Flowers
Our local flower farm has lots of dried flowers available during the off-season. I love that it’s a fun way to keep bursts of color in our house while also giving the farm a source of revenue outside of fresh flower season. Gift a container of edible flowers to add to compound butter, mix up colorful and delicious goat cheese, or top fun holiday sweets.
Cookie Decorating Kit
Lots of people gift holiday cookies this time of year. But what if you gift the plain cookies with a side of holiday icing instead? Package up the cookies and a bag of ready-to-pipe icing in a holiday tin like Sibia did for a creative take on holiday cookies.
Pretzels are fine but… seasoned pretzels (or pretzel chips) are a serious step up. Soak your favorite pretzels in a seasoning mix and bake them up to create an elevated pretzel snack. Put them in a glass container or even a thrifted Pyrex bowl with a lid so they can enjoy the pretzels and also reuse the container.
Classic. You can’t go wrong. Pick your favorite type of cookie (or two) and share the wealth. Vintage holiday tins from the thrift shop create a perfect finishing touch. Here are a few tips to reduce waste when making holiday cookies with kids.
Salad Spoons and Misfits Market Gift Card
Did I do this for my family this year? Why yes, I did. I hope they like it. I snagged the salad mixers from my own cabinet because I have several sets and never use all of them. I tied a Misfits Market gift card to them and boom – done. You can select a gift card for as little as you’d like starting at $5.
Homemade Christmas Tea Blend
Mix up some of your favorite dried flavors for a holiday tea blend. Sarah Robertson-Barnes shares a great tea blend recipe to put into a cute jar for a simple yet meaningful gift.
Popcorn and Popcorn Seasoning
Repurposed glass jar + popcorn + homemade seasoning in an upcycled spice jar and you’re golden. You can gift it in a repurposed gift bag, a small basket, a cardboard box with a bit of upcycled packaging paper in it, or even a repurposed accessory bag.
High-End Cooking and Baking Ingredients
They cost a pretty penny when we’re making everyday desserts and snacks, but high-end kitchen ingredients are perfect for gifting. Consider options like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, Maldon sea salt, Ceylon cinnamon, fancy savory spices like Penzey’s spices, flavor-infused oils like Saratoga Olive Oils, and more.
6-Pack of Beer from a Local Brewery
If you have beer drinkers in your group, grab a neat six-pack of a cool local beer. Buy it warm, of course, so it doesn’t go bad before the recipient receives it. The gift is consumable. The packaging is recyclable. And you’re supporting a local business.
Depending on your budget, you could even pair it with a pair of thrifted beer mugs (there are often plenty at secondhand shops).
Dry Pasta with Seasonings
Add some dried pasta to a thrifted container (there are so many of these at secondhand shops). Pair it with a couple of Italian spices and you’re good to go. You might even be able to put it in a secondhand basket if you find something in your budget.
Stasher Bag with Popcorn
Did you know that you can pop popcorn in a Stasher bag in the microwave? Grab a stasher bag and pour some popcorn kernels into a mason jar or upcycled jelly jar. Tie the Stasher bag around the jar with a bit of twine or ribbon and you’re good to go.
I saw this idea from Lacie at Teach Go Green and had everything at home to create it for “free to me.” It was one of the gifts I provided to my neighbor when she reached out for a white elephant gift request in our local Buy Nothing group.
Pair of Salad Spoons with a Jar of Salad Dressing
Check your local thrift shop for a pair of salad spoons and gift it with a bottle of your favorite salad dressing. I’m partial to Asiago Caesar from Brianna’s while my husband prefers their Chipotle Ranch. You can’t go wrong with either of them.
If you are feeling ambitious, you could even grab secondhand salad spoons and paint the handles to personalize them. I also punched a hole in a magnolia leaf, wrote “Merry” on it, and then tied it around the salad utensils for a bit of festive flair.
Bottle of Local Honey
Local honey companies are popping up everywhere (at least near me). There are even many stands in people’s front yards when they manage a few of their own hives.
Grab a small bottle or jar of homemade honey for your sustainable white elephant gift. It doesn’t get any more local than the honey made from bees right in your community.
Treat from a Local Farmer
You likely have some local farms in your region. Consider a gift card to their farm store or a special treat from their collection. A dairy farm may offer special ice cream. A produce farm might have lovely produce baskets. And a corn farm might have some tasty popcorn treats.
Our farmers’ market has artisan food vendors that sell things like fancy caramel corn and decadent chocolate. You can’t go wrong with a local, sweet treat like this. And they are usually wrapped gorgeously to boot.
Local Coffee or Dessert Shop Gift Card
Do you have a small, neat cafe in your area that sells coffee, tea, or maybe some fun pastries or desserts? Something as small as a $5 gift card can cover a nice treat at a local coffee or dessert shop and be a great way to add a dollop of joy to someone’s day.
If you want something more substantial, wrap the gift card in a cute mug or with a set of mittens.
Fancy Hot Sauce
Every Christmas for several years, my sister and husband have exchanged a bottle of hot sauce or some spicy condiment. It’s a small token to share something they both enjoy.
Check out local farm shops or farmers’ markets to see if they have their own hot sauce options (most do). Your local grocery store might even carry a few options that are unique and fun. Depending on the price, you might even be able to include a few different flavors like Jess did when she gifted my husband three local hot sauces for his birthday.
I’ve seen so many people make homemade vanilla and it seems so fancy yet simple. It takes a bit of planning if you want to deliver it ready to use because it requires a few months of infusion. But it’s worth the wait if you plan ahead.
Jar of Baking Candy & Your Favorite Recipe
Thrift shops are also ripe with tons of glass jars, mason jars, and weck jars. Find one you love and fill it with your favorite type of baking candy. For me, that’s chocolate chips. Always chocolate chips. You might even be able to use a glass jar you already have at home. I had a weck jar in my cabinet for the win.
Finish off the gift by tying your favorite recipe using the ingredient. For my chocolate chips, I might include the recipe for these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or these salted Nutella-stuffed cookies.
Mixed Nuts in a Jar
Head to the bulk section of your grocery store and gather up a few types of mixed nuts to combine in a thrifted or repurposed glass jar. Add a bit of twine and a note to the jar, and you’re good to go.
Homemade Lemon Curd
This is an especially awesome gift for those who live in areas where citrus grows well. Janssen had a lemon tree in her yard so the free lemons were growing in abundance when she made her lemon curd as a neighbor’s gift. Even if you don’t have a lemon tree, you can buy lemons in bulk at many grocery stores.
Cardamom and Cinnamon Caramel Fudge
Fudge? Yes. Always yes. This cardamom and cinnamon caramel fudge recipe looks delicious and unique for a festive holiday gift. Wrap it up in compostable parchment paper and tie it closed with twine. Add a foraged pinecone for flair.
Homemade Gingerbread Syrup
I love the holiday take on syrup by adding a gingerbread flavor to it. I’ve never tried it but I bet it’s delicious. You can add it to hot chocolate, an espresso martini, or whatever you think needs a splash of sweet gingerbread.
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About The Author
Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.
You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.