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How to package and decorate a pretty holiday cookies gift box, and the best cookies to make and share!
Whether or not your family baking traditions involve epic baking sessions, elaborate decorative icings or something more straightforward, making homemade cookies and packaging them as gifts is literally one of the sweetest ways to share the holiday love.
My favorite Christmas cookies to make are simple sugar cookies and drop cookies. In other words the ones that are homey, simple and not too fussy.
Read on to get the most popular holiday cookie recipes from Familystyle Food, plus ideas for packaging up the goodies for giving!
The best cookies for gift-giving:
- Choose cookies that aren’t too delicate.
- Variety in shape, size and texture is ideal.
- Include a few different cookies to mix things up.
Try making two, three or more different kinds:
- Crunchy and sturdy: Biscotti, shortbread or gingerbread.
- Dense and chewy — Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar cookies.
- Bar cookies — Brownies, blondies, fudge, nut bars.
How to pack cookies for holiday gifts
Pile a bunch of cookies in a box and hand them off with a bow on top — it’s not exactly rocket science.
However, the secret to transforming an otherwise humble package of baked goods into something memorable all comes down to presentation.
Even adding a handwritten tag to a plain brown paper bag of homemade cookies adds a touch that comes straight from the heart.
- Choose a sturdy container like a covered tin or plain heavy cardboard. I love this wooden box, with a sliding top and compartments for each cookie stack. It can be used over and over, and it’s sturdy enough for transporting your creations without crushing or crumbling them.
- Line the container with parchment or wax paper. If you can find festive food-friendly tissue paper, use it for wrapping stacks of cookies.
- For shipping the cookies, cut out a sheet of bubble wrap to fit into the bottom of the container, adding more between layers.
- Use large muffin or cupcake liners or other dividers like pieces of cardboard to organize the cookies.
- Fill spaces in between the cookies with crinkled gift basket paper, crumpled foil or tissue.
Decorating cookie boxes or bags
Make your gift package some holiday flair by embellishing it with a few inexpensive items, easily found in stationary or craft stores.
- Fabric ribbons and rustic jute twine
- Plain gift tags or labels to write on
- Tissue paper (if you’re wrapping cookies directly in tissue, use food-safe paper)
- Kraft paper and bags
- If your container has a lid, tie a ribbon around it and add a gift tag attached with a piece of twine or colorful string.
- For containers without a lid, securely wrap in plastic or cellophane before adding a ribbon.
Easy cookie recipes for making and sharing
If you’re looking for recipes that are easy to make and perfect for gifting, here’s a sample of the cookies I used in my holiday cookie box:
Pretty, easy to make lemon-scented glazed cookies made with Italian polenta (or cornmeal), fresh rosemary and pine nuts.
Fuss-free, tender jam-filled cookies made with a buttery toasted almond dough.
Easy to make chocolate biscotti cookies dipped in dark chocolate. These crunchy cookies are perfect for gift-giving or a coffee break treat!
The classic nutty, crumbly snowball cookie, updated with toasted hazelnuts and cocoa powder.
Easy Holiday Cookies: Rosemary Lemon Polenta Cookies
- 10 tablespoons (150 g) butter, softened
- ¾ cup (180 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract, optional
- 1 ½ cups (210 g) all purpose flour
- ¾ cup (120 g) coarse ground cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus a few sprigs for garnish
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup pinenuts, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup (100 g) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- Beat the butter and sugar in a standing mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium high speed. Add the lemon zest and the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Stir in the lemon extract, if using.
- Mix the flour, cornmeal, rosemary, baking powder and salt in a bowl until blended together.
- Add the dry mixture to the butter on low speed in 2 parts, just until the dough comes together. Stir in the pine nuts. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour or two, until the dough is firm and scoopable.
- Heat the oven to 325 (160 C) degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized balls (I like to use a cookie scoop) so they come out even) and arrange on the cookie sheets about 2-inches apart.
- Bake 12 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and slightly golden on the edges. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar, cream, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Spread some glaze on each cookie. Put a few rosemary leaves and a pine nut on the top.