Budget-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas 

American consumers are expected to spend an average of $850 on holiday gifts this year. Selecting the perfect gifts and sticking to your budget can make holiday gift-giving stressful. 

However, creating a personalized gift made by hand is a great way to show someone you care. Mason jars make a great base for holiday gift crafts – and a 12-pack of 8-oz. jars can be found for under $10 at most supermarkets. Decorate using gift wrap, ribbons, and a personalized card. 

Fill the jars with the yummy recipes (found below) – they’re sure to please any foodie on your list!


Photo credit: Shanthi Appelo

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Feta dip


  • 8 oz Feta cheese 
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (this recipe used 2% fat, but 1% or fat-free can also be used) 
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (1 Tbsp. separated for topping) 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 10 chives, finely chopped 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 



Whipped Feta and Yogurt Spread 

This recipe is for the foodie in your life. Brought along with pita crackers, it makes the perfect hostess gift. Whipping in Greek yogurt gives this recipe a protein boost while also adding calcium and probiotics. Though this recipe has the classic garlic and chive flavors, rosemary or honey can be substituted for more holiday flavors.  

1. Combine Feta, Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper in a food processor (or bowl if using immersion blender). 
2. Stir in chives.
3. Place Feta mixture in jar and top with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. 

Nutrition information 

Serving size: ¼ cup 

Calories 113 | Fat 9 g| Carbohydrates 2 g (Fiber 0 g) (Sugar 2 g) | Protein 6 g 

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Granola over yogurt with fruit



  • 2 cups oldfashioned rolled oats 
  • ½ cup almonds, slivered 
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped 
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries 
  • ¼ cup maple syrup 
  • ¼ cup canola oil 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  •  ½ tsp. salt
  •  1 tsp. cinnamon 
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger 
  • Ground cloves, a pinch 
  • Optional: stir in ¼ cup chocolate chips to make it a treat 


Holiday Granola 

This lower-sugar granola tastes like a healthier version of a gingersnap cookie. Use it as a topper on Greek yogurt or on a salad with sliced apples or pears. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Combine all dry ingredients and set aside. 
3. Combine all wet ingredients and slowly incorporate with dry ingredients. 
4. Place mixture on lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. 
Optional: stir in ¼ cup chocolate chips 

Nutrition information 

Calories 105 | Fat 8 g| Carbohydrates 7 g (Fiber 1 g) (Sugar 5 g) | Protein 1 g 

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Cookies on a plate


  • 1 ¼ cup oat flour made from ~2 cups old-fashioned oats (or store-bought) 
  • 1/8 cup canola oil 
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar 
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips 
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped 
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  •  1/4 tsp. baking powder
  •  ½ tsp. sea salt 
  • 2 Tbsp. 1% milk or another milk of choice 


Holiday Cookies with Reduced Fat and Sugar 

This cookie recipe substitutes canola oil for butter and uses fiber-packed oat flour, making it more heart healthy than traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes. By using mini chocolate chips and less sugar, it further turns down the sweetness and calories. 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
2. Place oats in food processor and blend for ~1 minute or until smooth. Measure out 1 ¼ cups of oat flour for the recipe. 
3. In separate bowls, combine all dry ingredients and wet ingredients minus the milk.
4. Slowly incorporate wet ingredients into dry and mix.
5. Slowly drizzle in milk as necessary to make cookie batter easily shapeable. Do not over-mix. 
6. Place quarter-sized diameter balls of cookie dough on a lined baking sheet. 
7. Bake for 15 minutes. When removed from oven, let rest for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. The cookies will continue to cook there.  

Nutrition information 

Serving size: 2 cookies, makes about 20 cookies 

Calories 133 | Fat 5 g| Carbohydrates 20 g (Fiber 2 g) (Sugar 11 g) | Protein 2 g 


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Read 2 Comments

  1. I use dried cherries instead of dried cranberries in the granola recipe, but mix them in after the granola has baked. The maple syrup I use is from the trees we tap every year!

    1. Sounds yummy, Mary! We’re sure your family and friends will love your take on this tasty treat! – Candice

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