Personalized Gifts Memorable, Tasty


Nikki Honda, Sports Editor

A successful holiday gift must be both thoughtful and personal. When receiving a gift, I always enjoy knowing that the gift-giver has thought about the present and specialized it to my tastes. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. In fact, homemade gifts usually make a lasting impression.

Over winter break, I faced a conflict. This was the first year that I was spending Christmas with my step family. This meant I felt obligated to get gifts for my step dad, his four kids, the husband of one of his daughters, and their cousin who lives in our house. In addition, I had my own family to worry about, including my brothers, their girlfriends who came to visit, my mom, and my grandma. I needed to find over a dozen presents and had no idea where to even start.

I have always liked baking for birthdays, get togethers, or just for fun, because it doesn’t take much thinking and, for the most part, it’s easy. When I was younger, I wanted to go to a baking class or a cake decorating class, but never really found time to sign up.

One year, I was with my childhood friend when her aunt came over. Her aunt owned a cooking store and brought cakes for us to decorate. My friend and I learned how to roll out fondant and use icing to make cakes look professional. I loved that I was able to be artistic.

Over break, I racked my brain for present ideas. I was running out of time and did not know everyone well enough to find the “perfect gift.” I remembered the cake decorating and had an idea. I could make cookies and decorate them with cute faces that looked similar to my relatives. I found a cookie cutter for a couple dollars at Home Goods that had space for a face and a hat. I realized the hat was perfect: I could decorate it with holiday colors and write everyone’s names on the brim of the hat. The presents would be both thoughtful, personal, and most importantly easy.

I had my grandma send me her sugar cookie recipe, which only had 7 ingredients, and the icing only had 4 ingredients. I went to the grocery store and then to Bowell’s Party Store, where I found ribbon and cellophane bags.


2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cup sugar

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Cream butter or margarine with sugar in a large bowl, then beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, blending well. Sprinkle flour on a cutting board and rolling pin. Roll out small portions of the dough onto the cutting board and use a cookie cutter to shape the dough. Put a piece of parchment paper over the cookie sheet. Place the shaped dough onto the parchment paper, placing them 1 inch apart. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on wire racks.


1 egg white

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat egg white, cream of tartar, and vanilla until foamy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar until frosting stands firm.