Every solstice season, well-meaning people are always coming out of the woodworks to say how gifts only need to be “from the heart” to be good, that cost doesn’t matter if good intentions are there. Which is absolutely correct! Specifically, homemade baked goods are basically everyone’s favorite thing to receive. But also, the holidays are about being festive and celebratory, and it’s really hard to feel that way if someone chucks a dishwasher-muddled tupperware full of fresh baked brownies at you on Christmas morning.
It is the thought that counts like, 80% of the time. But presentation is what makes the difference between baking something just to have it around and baking something as a gift.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some ways to give your baked goods gifts a little more panache, whether it’s by wrapping them decoratively, or presenting them on a beautiful tray (which doubles as a second gift, because you’re so generous).
A well-made basket is one of those things you can display in your home in some unsuspecting corner and, invariably, someone will point it out and you’ll get to brag it was made by Amish craftsmen or some secret genius on Etsy. Really, when giving a basket, you’re giving the gift of getting to feel smug to your neighbors, which is truly timeless. For now, line it with a tea towel and stuff it with some homemade rolls or scones.
Colored parchment paper
Okay, this one doesn’t really double as a second gift, unless your family is the kind that saves every scrap of paper so they can reuse it later (and if they are, good for them!). But it does make individually-wrapped bars or loaves of pound cake look enticing, especially if you’re making them for a whole party. If you do want to make it a second gift for the eco-conscious snickerdoodle lover in your life, use reusable beeswax food wrap. It already works as a stocking stuffer, but you can display just how it’s supposed to be used by wrapping up some smaller baked goods — like muffins or cookies — in it.
If you’re going to present your loved ones with a cake so beautiful they insist you move to England and audition for GBBO, it just won’t have the same effect if it’s sitting in a plastic carrying case. You can either get a cake stand with a cloche, or just set up the cake in another room for a great reveal. An ornate cake stand says this is worthy of display, and also just makes it easier to actually cut the cake without messing everything up, or having to resort to Prince Edward-like techniques.
Give the gift of that feeling when you’re eating through a pile of delicious treats and suddenly you get toward the bottom and realize the tray they’re sitting on has a fantastically cool and artistic design on it. Everyone loves a surprise. After everything has been eaten, they can keep using a tray for literally anything. I’ve got all my remotes and an old Game Boy on one. Elegance!
Baked goods from Parisi Bakery
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.