Friday, 19 December 2008

christmas cookies and the idea of a buy nothing christmas

You may have heard of the buy nothing Christmas, or the buy handmade pledge. These are both campaigns focused on reducing our conspicuous consumption during this festival. Buying handmade, or giving experiences rather than stuff you buy at the shops, are some really awesome things to do at this time. And it's a great way to start celebrating this festival in a more sustainable fashion. The amount of food and paper waste at this time alone, not including transportation costs, production costs, are phenomenal. In my real life job I'm paid to talk about this stuff, you know.

Baked goods are a great gift to give, it's something you've made rather than something you've bought and you get to sample as you go.

jam thumbprint cookies

Last night I spent three hours baking, to create a great cookie pack for my work secret santa. The recipient seemed fairly excited when they opened it today, and they'll never know it was vegan deliciousness! Last week, I took some jam drops to a concert, and offered them around. "Are they vegan?" N asked. "Good!" he said, when I responded in the affirmative. "People always say vegan food must taste gross, and I like it when they're wrong."

People sometimes complain about receiving chocolates and biscuits as gifts, but I think the complaints are more about receiving the packet rather than the contents in particular. Most people seem to be very excited about the prospect of receiving a jar of tasty home-baked cookies and biscuits. I know I love receiving gifts of delicious home-baked goods! If only more people in my daily life were up to baking vegan goods! Has anyone had different experiences in this regard, people really not wanting goods baked with love (and no animal products)?

chocolate and raspberry cookies

This year's set of baked goods is a combination of gingerbread, jam drops and raspberry chocolate cookies. The gingerbread recipe I use is this one from the ppk, though I often use significantly more flour than the recipe calls for. The jam drops are Emmie's recipe, with no modifications, I've found that it works great and is really simple. The raspberry chocolate cookies are from Veganomicon, and I wish I could remember to add less almond essence, I always find the end product so overwhelming when I forget, as I did last night!

gingerbread stars

If I have time I might add some choc-chip biscuits to the collection, but I'm exhausted today having baked for so long last night, so my weariness might defeat my enthusiasm! Juggling three different batches was perhaps my maximum, I ran out of mixing bowls and had to use a serving bowl!


Anonymous said...

I love homemade gifts, whether cookies or anything else--they really are the best kind, and the ones I remember years later. I'm sure the recipients will love your cookie packs (they all look great). And what a wonderful idea for a "buy nothing" holiday!

Anardana said...

Hi there! I just found your blog. I added you to be blogroll.

moonbug said...

hehe, I've done the baked goods for Xmas presents thing for years- easy way to give something to all of my extended family without going broke! Your biscuits look very tasty :)

steph said...

Hi Ricki, I'm really quite passionate about the buy nothing holiday, even though I never manage it myself. I think part of it is acknowledging that you'll do the best you can, and try not to just go out and buy a packet of candles because you can. :o)

Hi Anardana! Thanks for commenting and adding me!

Moonbug, I look forward to a day when we're both in the same city and can exchange baked goods for presents. :o)

Amy said...

So many delicious cookies! If someone made me home made cookies for Christmas I'd be over the moon (probably because I'm the only person around here who makes our cookies :P)

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a buy nothing christmas... I guess I will try next year! This year, I have started trying to reduce (even more) the amount of wrapping paper which will go to the thrash bin -by using shoe boxes (which I wrap beautifully so that it can be used in the future to store things) to put the gifts in :)

I will also give away recipe cards with some of my favourite cake and cookies recipes, and will include a sample (that is, some cookies) with them. Hope the recipients will like it!

Johanna GGG said...

those cookies look delicious - I love home made food for gifts and have done it in the past to a great reception but not so much recently. I think it is a great gift - lots of thought and effort that is enjoyed but doesn't clutter the house!

Alicia said...

I wanted to give homemade cookies this year as a gift, but at the end I just bought some Spanish, not even vegan! I'll have to try harder next year!

Helen said...

What a fantastic haul of biscuits there. I have just got some Vcon choc raspberry cookie dough balls out of my freezer for baking later!

Anonymous said...

I love getting gifts that people have cooked for me themselves! And when I bake for people I give them the recipe, too. Your cookies look amazing.

steph said...

Vegetation, I think that's why I love giving cookies to friends so much - people don't bake so much, and they're so tasty, and really great to receive! I sort of wish my friends would take the hint. I went to a pre-Christmas party, and someone had baked and brought vegan cookies, I was SO excited.

Silvia, the idea of giving away recipe cards is really great! Also I hope your reduction in wrapping went well. I used a whole lot of newspaper, and used old plastic takeaway containers with some ribbon for cookies.

Johanna, I think that's what appeals to me so much - no clutter! Oh look, it's cluttering my house, I HAD to eat it. :o)

Alice, what were the sweets like, that they were spanish?

Hi Hippolyra, I love the vcon raspberry chocolate cookies, I just wish the dough wasn't so sticky and messy!

Lisa, the idea of cookie + recipe hadn't occured to me! That's a great idea, the only risk is people might notice if they were getting the same recipe cards every year. ;o)