For the last three Christmas holidays, I would bake rather than buy gifts. I think a baked gift is so much more personal than a store-bought gift. I guess if you simply cannot bake or cook, you would have no choice but to go shopping. I too used to buy my gifts. The problem I faced each year is planning what to buy. On top of that I also need to remember what I have given in the past so as not to repeat them again. I think when you buy gifts from friends, the rule of thumb is probably buy something that you would use as well.
If you are like me, I am sure you have at one point of time received a gift that was totally useless. Interestingly I had read in the past that the top ten most useless gifts that someone would give includes toiletries, photo frames, towels, mugs, key chains and stuffed toys.
Recipe Adapted from "Desserts Magazine #24)
Makes 36 1-inch cookies
226g unsalted butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
2 tsp finely chopped mixed orange/lemon peel
1) Preheat oven to 180C. Line cookie baking trays with parchment paper.
2) Cream butter and icing sugar until combined and soft. Add in vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.
3) Add in flour in 2 separate additions until combined. Add in dried fruits.
4) Shape into 1" size balls and drop each ball into the coloured nonpareils until well coated.
5) Arrange balls 1" apart in the prepared trays. Bake for about 14 - 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let it cool. Store in room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
# The cookie boxes are from Martha Stewart's store.