This year Mrs. CBB and I decided that we were going eliminate baking our famous Christmas cookies and replace them with inexpensive yet posh Christmas baking gifts.
Will making homemade Christmas Baking Gifts cost more money?
Well, that depends on what you are putting in your gifts and how much you are willing to spend on ingredients.
We set the dollar amount for the Christmas baking gifts to be around the $5-$7 mark (that’s our posh). By doing so it allows us to splurge a bit on some ingredients and save on others. This may seem a bit odd but as a family of 2 adults and 1 toddler where we’ve cut out sugar from our diet having loads of sweet treats around is too tempting.
Who wants to lick the spoon? How tempting that would be for me!! Ah!
Most years we would always have extras hanging about and my mother-in-law would always try to get them but since she’s diabetic we’ve also decided that maybe it’s not so good of an idea. To add more fuel to the sweet tooth fire my father-in-law has also been diagnosed with diabetes. This year we plan to make some Keto Holiday Cookies (sugar-free) to bring home with us for the family which I’ll tell you all about in another post.
Share Sweet Love This Holiday Season
Today I wanted to focus on Christmas Baking Gifts and how cool they are to create and give to your friends and family as a small gift. We don’t go Christmas shopping any longer for adults in our family as we focus on the kids because it’s far more fun watching their little eyes light up on Christmas morning rather than getting a dozen pairs of socks. ha!
One of the greatest gifts during the Christmas holidays is being with family and loved ones sipping on hot apple cider around the fireplace making new memories. This year though we will be bringing along some homemade Christmas baking gifts (about a dozen) to sprinkle some sweet love this holiday season.
Edible Christmas gifts to make in place of baked goods also allows you to sit back and relax a bit more over the holidays. If you have company coming over stock a few boxes of cookies and offer snacks such as vegetables, dips and other foods besides sweets.
Homemade Christmas food gifts are also popular where you fill a basket with all sorts of foods that your friend or loved one might enjoy. I’ve consistently seen various cheeses, spreads, dried salami, jams and jellies, crackers, chocolates and so on. Gift ideas for cooks on your list will love something like this especially if the items are unique.
Importance of homemade Christmas gifts
They come from the heart and are not a commercialized gift that they probably won’t use.
We poured over tonnes of Pinterest recipes the past few months picking our favourite Christmas baking gifts to share with all of you plus created our own signature Brownies In a Jar. The cost for the entire recipe at the time of creating it was $5 for the pan although this may have gone up a bit over the years. Keep in mind you won’t be adding all the ingredients to the jar. The idea is to layer the ingredients so they stand out.
- 3/4 cup Flour
- 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 12 tablespoons melted Butter (eliminate from jar)
- 1 1/2 cups of Granulated White Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs (eliminate from jar)
- 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract (eliminate from jar unless using a powdered vanilla)
- 1 cup toasted chopped Walnuts (optional) (leave nuts out too)
- 1 cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Buying chocolate chips and premium cocoa in bulk either from Costco, Bulk Barn or the grocery store will be our biggest expense next to accessories. The rest of the brownie ingredients are simple and inexpensive to purchase. You probably already have them in your pantry.
Obviously you would keep the butter, eggs and vanilla extract our of the jar and have the recipient add them while preparing to bake the brownies. Nuts are optional but I’d keep them out too.
Add a production date so they know when the jar was made. Ideally using the jar as soon as possible would work out best but there’s no reason it wouldn’t last in a pantry for a month or two.
What we like about taking the Christmas baking gifts route is that we can make them ourselves plus they are inexpensive compared to some of the Christmas cookies we’ve made in the past.
With the rising costs of groceries in Canada baking at home can become pricey unless you can stockpile baking ingredients in your pantry or freezer before it’s time to bake.
These days we don’t have the time with a toddler to bake like we used to and surely don’t want to be tempted to dive into a bowl of chocolate peanut butter balls without any type of remorse. Quitting sugar is like quitting smoking for us so we try to stay as far away as we can from using it in the house.
Putting your Christmas baking gifts together
For those of you who think making homemade Christmas gifts are a cool idea I think you’ll love the recipes we’ve found along with holiday inspiration.
You can purchase jars and baskets for your Christmas baking gifts at just about any store in Canada and simple decor and baking accessories from the Dollar Store or any other inexpensive craft store. If this becomes a tradition for you finding deals at the end of the Christmas season is your best savings bet. Scouring the second-hand shops on 50% off days throughout the year will yield you very cheap baskets for your holiday projects too.
The idea is to decorate, add a recipe and a small personal message. That’s all. If you’re invited to a dinner party and your hosts are not wine drinkers bring along a baking gift basket which they might appreciate more. Bringing something they will love is far better than another bottle collecting dust. (We have lots)
Change is good but not for everyone
If baking is your passion please check out our traditional holiday cookies that we are putting on hold this year to try something new.
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls filled with nuts and cherries
- Buttery Snowballs filled with nuts coated with icing sugar
- Coconut Balls filled with chocolate, nuts, cherries then rolled in coconut
- Italian Christmas Cookies Anginetti
Discussion: What are some of your favourite DIY Christmas baking gifts to give or receive? What would you put in a Holiday gift food basket?
Below are all 8 of the photos and recipes for our top Christmas Baking Jar for the holidays!
Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies in a Jar with printable labels
November Grocery Game Challenge
Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.
Post your shop and you can be next.
Note: I missed last weeks GGC post as I was away so post both last weeks shop and this weeks shop in the comment section of this post please. Thanks.
New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules
Free Money Saving Tools 2017
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2017
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2017 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $265
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 750,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
- Shoppers Optimum: 995,000 points
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25… no idea where the money went but it seems we have $0.
- Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50 we cashed out so we’re back at O.
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- Double Pack Extra Large eggs $4.99
- Milk 2% $4.27
- 6 x 10% Cream $2.05
- Bananas $1.49
- Romaine Lettuce $4.99
Total Out-of-Pocket $28.47
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $265
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $0
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $14.04
- Total in-store discounts to date: $749.90
- Total spent this week: $28.47
- Total spent so far this month: $148.96
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total over/Under spend for the month: n/a
- Total left to spend for the month: $87.57
- Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83+ May $257.15 + June $65.43+July $226.84+August $283.51+September $208.69+ October $226.58+ November $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We didn’t need much this week as we stocked up on bits that we need to use up. We didn’t shop for home while we were away but we did buy bits but put them under entertainment as they were snack items.
Note: November is a 5 week grocery shop.
Coupons and Coupon Apps
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
Grocery Game Challenge 2017 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2017 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal. Please see GGC rules.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why The Grocery Game Challenge is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2017!
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