What You Should Consider Before Gifting Someone Food For The Holidays

If you're ever in doubt of what to gift to someone, a box of cookies always seems like a safe bet — especially when you're scratching your head for what to give to someone or find yourself part of an uncomfortable Secret Santa exchange. Or, if you're in the mood for it, you could even consider making a fresh batch of cookies at home yourself.

But hold on: Have you ever stopped to imagine whether the recipient can even eat the cookies (or any edible gifts)? For all you know, the person could be vegan, lactose intolerant, vegetarian, or simply following a diet that doesn't allow for sugar! Some people may even be allergic to certain ingredients like nuts, which can be a serious problem if you're giving them something homemade for which they can't read the list of ingredients for. Plus, people could also be following diets for health, cultural, or religious purposes that don't allow for certain items to be consumed.

This is part of the reason why, that although foods can make for delicious festive gifts, it's not always the best choice. Your loved ones may be too polite to let you know that they can't eat the present that you've so lovingly given to them, let alone turn it down — which is why it's important to reconsider whether you should give people food as a gift over the holidays in the first place.

There's even more to consider before baking a loved one a holiday gift

According to a study conducted by Finder, the entire affair of exchanging presents isn't always so well-received. The study found that in 2019, Americans spent $15.2 billion on unwanted presents over the holidays — of which 4% of the people surveyed said that receiving food was a present they least liked. 

In a discussion prompted by Lifehacker, people offered some insight — in addition to dietary restrictions — as to why giving food as a present wasn't such a good idea. One user said that the worst you could do is give something perishable or that has a short shelf life, especially when it's closer to the end of the holidays. By the end of it, people have likely already eaten one too many cookies and cakes, and being given another one, would most likely either be given away or would get spoiled quickly and get thrown away. This does nothing but make people feel guilty for wasting a present that was packed with love.

Another person said explained that it's wise to be mindful of whether the person you're gifting to can or can't eat or drink something, especially if your present involves alcohol — as the recipient may not drink, or could have an issue with alcohol. It's also important to note that certain foods could be emotionally triggering for some people, as well.

If you do know the person very well, however, including the ins and outs of their diets, it's an entirely different story. If not, it might be best to stick to a pair of fuzzy socks or a silly Christmas sweater.