Several years ago, when my best high school girlfriends and I were poor college students, yet still enamored of the sparkly warmth and good cheer of christmas (even the jewish ones, i’m convinced) we decided to start a make-a-gift exchange. We enlisted a trusty boyfriend (thanks, Pete. You may be the only other person who’s been along for the ride since the beginning) to draw names and assign each girl with a recipient of a gift with the sole criterium that it had to be hand made.
I hardly remember what drama ensued as each of our 5 very smart but extremely different personalities set about determining what to give a (very smart, but very different) friend. But I’m sure there was plenty to be shared around. I had the distinct advantage of access to a wood shop at college and managed to piece together some wall organizer which i actually saw on Alison’s kitchen wall years later, which warmed my heart.
After that first year I was thrilled with our new game. But I was always the flaky, creative one, much more apt to make something with scraps laying around and infer some highly sentimental meaning than purchase something someone might actually have a use for. In our democratically governed clique, however, I was outvoted, and our christmas craft tradition slowly deteriorated as our paths diverged in more productive directions like medical school and theatre christmas show schedules.
I tried to keep the dream alive, one year offering to do all the work to create a group recipe book to fill our First Apartment kitchens. That year no gifts were exchanged until the following thanksgiving. My bad, guys. But 2011 was the year I embraced my crafty, recipe ignoring side and started The Fig + Thistle. So I did christmas gifts my way, and thus The Fig + Thistle Holiday Treat Boxes were born.
My favorite part of any meal is how the food will look and so I developed four treats that would litter the spectrum of holiday snacks, chewy, sticky, crunchy and brittle. sweet, spicy, salty and chocolatey. Wrapped in F+T packaging and mailed away in christmas boxes I started what I hope to be a strong foodie-designer tradition. Each box included a bag of the Gingeriest Molasses Chews, a small box of Spicy Cheddar Shortbread Crackers, a few pieces of mayan chocolate bark and a sampling of traditional Italian Torrone. In the next few days I will post recipes for each because I am thrilled to say they were all a great success. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and I hope you had a very Fig + Thistle holiday.
The Fig + Thistle Holiday Treat Box Extravaganza