Heading to a New Year’s Eve Party? Check Out These 2 DIY Hostess Gifts Before You Go

During a recent playdate, I overheard my daughter and niece talking about New Year’s Eve. They were excitedly listing all of the food they were planning to eat and which family members would be in attendance this year. As I listened to them, I couldn’t help but get excited too!

Here is what the girls were discussing. This year, they wanted to express their gratitude by making some homemade edible gifts to give to family members. With a family full of food enthusiasts, this sounded like a great idea so I helped the kids make a list of several edible food ideas that they could share with our family this New Year’s Eve.

Candied pecans and sugared cranberries made it to the top of their list. The kids liked that they could be easily packaged in canning jars and the kids could have fun decorating them for the holiday. Plus, if they went over well with our family members, the kids thought they’d make great Valentine’s Day gifts too!

Sparkling cranberries are delicious eaten on their own and also make a beautiful garnish. You can add them to cakes, cupcakes and pies to add an extra level of twinkle to your holiday desserts. We love adding them to cranberry orange muffins and as a glittery addition to homemade cheesecakes.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of snacking on a sugared cranberry, you are in for a real treat! After soaking the berries in a simple syrup, the outside forms a tacky film. When you roll them in sugar and allow them to dry, the result is a crackled sugared crust surrounding the berry. The combination of sweet and tart is really quite stunning as they burst in your mouth.

Candied pecans are delicious as a party snack or appetizer, especially when paired with a gourmet cheese plate. If you have leftovers, which I doubt you will – they are also a perfect topping for salads and desserts. I plan to make several batches over the holidays to offer to my guests as they arrive!

Having never caramelized nuts before, I was a bit hesitant to test this recipe out with the kids, but my fears were quickly assuaged when I experienced how easy they were to make. When the warm pecans emerged from the oven sweet, warm and crunchy, I knew this was one gift I was hoping the kids would make for me this year!

The best part of these homemade gifts is how easy they are to make. Candied pecans and sparkling cranberries are delicious edible gifts that can be prepared in very little time. Children of all ages can help in the kitchen by mixing, measuring and even keeping an eye on the timer. Making edible gifts with your children is a lovely way to spend some quality time together this holiday season.

If you find yourself in need of a hostess gift this year, we encourage you to try making these deliciously easy treats. I don’t know of anyone that would turn down sweet, caramelized pecans or tart, sparkling cranberries. We have a feeling that this year, Grandma is going to enjoy snacking on these homemade edible gifts while playing a hilarious game of Hedbanz with the kids.

Candied Pecans


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups (12 ounces) pecans halves, unsalted
  • 1 egg white, whisked


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix pecans and egg white together until pecans are thoroughly coated.
  4. Add pecans to the large sugar bowl and toss together.
  5. Spread pecans out on in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, making sure to remove the pecans from the oven and stirring them about at the 20-minute mark. Let your nose be your guide – when they are done, the pecans will be fragrant and the sugar coating will have hardened.
  6. Remove pecans from the oven and allow to cool completely before eating. The sugar coating will harden further as they cool. Store in an airtight container until you’re ready to use.

Sparkling Cranberries


  • 1 package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar


  1. In a saucepan, heat water and sugar over low heat until sugar has dissolved completely. Stir occasionally.
  2. Rinse cranberries and toss any miscellaneous stems or white berries.
  3. Remove simple syrup from heat and add cranberries. Stir to combine. Place mixture in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 6 hours).
  4. Drain cranberries in a colander and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer dripping.
  5. Spread cranberries on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Shake pan until cranberries are completely coated. Allow cranberries to sit in pan for another hour until sugar has set.
  6. Place cranberries in a fancy bowl and set on the table for guests to enjoy. They also make great additions to cheese platters and holiday drinks too. They are best eaten the day of, but you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 more days.