We have lots of family that live far away, so my mom and I send them boxes of treats for holidays and birthdays throughout the year. We recently sent some for St. Nicholas Day, and just sent out more for Yule, so I thought I’d do a post about how we pack a treat box!
Not everything has to be homemade, and it is simple to make store-bought items look festive! Sour Patch Kids, Dots, Swedish Fish, lots of hard candy, and some dark chocolate is accidentally vegan. Read the ingredients and pick out some that you like. I like to add the candy to different sizes and shapes of clear treat bags, then add colored curling ribbons:
We really like these little chocolate bars from Aldi:
I make little stacks and tie them with ribbon:
Homemade treats are always appreciated, of course! Candy, party mix, rice crispy treats, chocolate covered pretzels, caramel corn, popcorn balls, cookies, and cocoa mix all make great gifts!
I always have some nuts ready to add to the leftover chocolate. Drop spoonfuls onto parchment and you have lovely little nut clusters:
Toffee bark is very easy to make if you have a candy thermometer. It looks very fancy in a decorative tin or holiday tub!
This tub is about four inches tall and it took a full batch of toffee to fill it. Use waxed paper sheets to separate layers:
Packing a pretty box of homemade candy is not difficult at all! Here is how I do it:
I reuse boxes that I have on hand and then wrap them in holiday paper. Having CCHS and being ventilator dependent, I get a lot of medical supplies every month, and the boxes all get repurposed instead of thrown out. Of course, you can also buy pretty boxes and not need to wrap them!
Vegan caramel is a bit trickier to make, but if you follow my recipe and directions, you should end up with delicious results! To make the thick caramels below, I lined three mini loaf pans with parchment. I left the first one plain, added a layer of cocktail peanuts to the second pan, and a layer of toasted walnuts to the third. When the caramel was done, I poured it into the three pans. Do not stir or your caramel may crystallize! The nuts will float a bit and get mixed in enough without stirring. I let them cool completely, removed the caramel from the pans, cut it into one inch pieces, and dipped the pieces in tempered chocolate:
Add some chopped nuts to the tops of the nut ones so you can tell the different flavors apart:
I wrapped each chocolate covered caramel individually and added them to a festive box:
Party mix is always fun! I made four flavor variations and put them into ziplock bags:
I love chocolate covered pretzels! I make mini pretzel sticks into nests for Ostara:
and bonfires for Samhain!
(I have lots of Ostara and Easter basket ideas in my Ostara Basket post!)
I also like to use mini pretzels using the bonfire recipe, but spread them out in a single layer on waxed paper, and add vegan sprinkles! Wait until the pretzels are completely dry, then break them apart and package them. They look great in a holiday tin or tub! (One batch makes more than will fit into a four-inch tub.)
Make a batch of caramel corn, let it cool completely, put it into treat bags, and add ribbons! Or, make popcorn balls! Both of these recipes are very easy to make, and you don’t even need a candy thermometer for the caramel corn.
I always include homemade cookies in my gift boxes!
I like to stack large round cookies and package them like this:
I cut a circle out of cardboard and cover it in foil for the base, and place a circle of waxed paper between the cookies. Add ribbon for a pretty finish:
Shaped cookies can be stacked as well, or put into a holiday tin. (Click this link for my speculaas cookie recipe and this one from Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery for the best vegan royal icing recipe. If you are not gluten free, Gretchen has tons of other great vegan recipes for all sorts of treats!)
Homemade vegan cocoa mix also makes a great gift! (Just be sure to add a card with the directions for how to use it.)
You can make your gift boxes as simple or elaborate as you like. I usually include a variety of homemade and store-bought treats in each box. Here is what I put in my St. Nicholas Day boxes this year:
If you are mailing a box in the United States, using a priority flat rate box from the post office is always the least expensive shipping option. Also, the boxes are sturdy and free, and you can schedule a pickup online!
Fitting everything in the box can be challenging, so plan ahead when choosing your treat containers. My mom is an expert at packing boxes, so I usually leave this step to her!
Be sure to pad the top so your items don’t shift in transit. Bubble wrap or bags of store-bought treats work well for padding:
My mom and I hope this post gives you lots of ideas for packing a gift box with vegan treats!