Holiday cookie containers

By Mir
November 2, 2006

I love this question, except that now I want a cookie.


I’ve sent you other questions and you have given the best advice, and you are so pretty!

Here’s my latest…I moved into a new are in June and I have the nicest possible neighbors. I want to do something around the holidays, I want to bake cookies and deliver a batch to each of my neighbors (about 7 in all). My question is, what type of containers can I give these cookies out in that won’t break my wallet? I have fancy tins that I keep my own cookies in but I bought them a while ago and they were expensive. Any suggestions?

Thanks 🙂

You can solve this problem by mailing all of your cookies to me. I don’t care what you put them in.


Oh, fine. Be that way.

First of all, here’s the most important thing to keep in mind: In today’s busy, pre-packaged society, homemade treats are a special gift. You are taking the time (and energy and love) to bake for these people. The gift is your thought and effort, and the delicious results. No one really cares what you put the cookies into.

That said, I understand not wanting to just stuff them into a paper bag; a pretty presentation is a nice crowning touch. My point is only that you needn’t fret overly about it.

Here are some options for you:

Colored saran wrap and pretty bows over a paper plate. It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it’s festive. You need a fairly sturdy plate for this, obviously, but the overall cost is very low. And when the cookies are gone, they can throw the wrappings away. This is the low-clutter, low-cost solution.

Colored saran wrap and pretty bows in a basket. This can be as Martha Stewart as you wanna be, if you know what I mean. I’m not terribly crafty, so I tend to avoid this sort of thing. But you can pick up baskets at a thrift store for under a buck, then turn it into a work of art. Or you can endlessly loop ribbons around the handles and wonder why it still looks stupid. Not that I’d know anything about that.

Disposable food storage containers. Everyone makes these containers, now. Ziploc, Glad, generic brands. You can get them at the supermarket or at the dollar store. Hit it right and you’re paying less than a dollar per piece. They’re not super-fancy but they get the job done.

Cookie tins. As you’ve already discovered, cookie tins can be pricey. But they don’t have to be. Here in New England we have a chain called Christmas Tree Shops; they sell everything dirt cheap, but they always seem to have nice tins for about a buck. If you don’t have that particular store, you may have someplace else with the same sort of pricepoint. Check dollar stores, Big Lots, stores like that. You may be surprised at what you find.

Whimsical containers. Who says cookies have to come in a tin? Depending on what I’ve found cheap, I’ve given cookies in plastic buckets, little crates, and shower caddies! Okay, I’m a weirdo. But if you get your head out of the “it must be in this sort of container” mode, you might come up with something brilliant, that’s cute, too!

I hope that gives you some ideas to go on… and that my reward will be cookies.


  1. Great tips! I prefer to give out cookies in those disposable food storage containers, which I found last year in festive red with silvery glitter. Put a nice bow on it and you are good to go! I think this option keeps your goodies fresher than just a wrapped plate.
    I have also started seeing plastic Chinese food boxes at dollar and craft stores and I think these are so cute!! They come in many colors and designs.

  2. I know at walmart they have festive plastic containers, they are 2 round ones for $3. I buy them to give to my co-workers. 🙂

  3. I like to make a sturdy cookie recipe (chocolate ginger snaps, shortbread, etc.) then stack them up neatly and put them in cellophane corsage bags tied with a bow. I add an oak-tag tag from the office supply store. Each bag holds 8 or so cookies and they look really cute. And a box of 100 of them is less than $10. I’ve bought them at a restaurant supply store and also from a floral supply store.

    I’m not sure, but I think I stole this idea from Martha.

  4. has some great packages if you are looking for more than just a few. I buy a bunch of the tin tie coffee bags either with or without windows and then I have them for every cookie giving occasion. I give a lot of cookie gifts, so I use them up pretty quickly. You can even stamp on them (or make your kids do it) and it makes a super cute little gift bag. For the holidays, I have my kids decorate a bag (by stamping or drawing) and then fill it with cookies for their teachers. I’d love to receive a gift like this, so I hope the teachers like them!

  5. Thank you for the advice! I know a Christmas Tree shop is opening around the corner from my mom’s soon. I’m gonna check out there first!

  6. Pier 1 had some great affordable holiday paper gift boxes last year when the in-laws and 12 of their friends came to NYC to see the sights and take us to dinner. As a thank-you, I made my secret weapon cookies that bring people to tears there’s so much butter and sugar and chocolate in them. The boxes were religion-neutral and more “look, pretty snow and stuff,” since I wasn’t sure which holidays, if any, the 12 friends were celebrating.

    Tori is a much better person than I am — for many reasons, I’m sure — because her gift bags sound sweet and thoughtful and precious and are exactly like what I wanted the gift of cookies to be. After baking that much and realizing I had nothing to put the cookies in for 14 people, my creative energy kind of disappeared and my feeling of appreciation for the upcoming free dinner was completely gone and I was kind of resenting the fact that 14 people were headed our way and really, why couldn’t they just stay home because I am tired, so tired, of making these stinking cookies which have made me fat instead of watching the three episodes of House I was saving on Tivo, and I couldn’t bring myself to tackle another project of cheer and happiness. So Pier 1 won over the more expensive but nicer gift boxes at Target, because I am cheap, and I was tired. And my cookies were better than the free dinner. And I am a horrible person.

    But the boxes were lovely.

  7. Last year for a cookie exchange I went to Everything’s A Dollar and bought dinner plates with snowflakes on them and then bought cellophane gift bags with a snowflake design on them to wrap around the plate with the cookies. I then tied some ribbon at the top along with the recipe for the cookies. I am not that great of a baker, but it was all in the presentation!

  8. ROFL, Chris! Your sentiments sound awfully familiar. I always start out with the best, most thoughtful intentions, though (I SWEAR)!

  9. I favor the cellophane gift bag solution. I usually end up with a bevy of these after the Sept. onslaught of Sally Foster sales from all the kids in my life, but they can also be found almost anywhere for dirt cheap. Put a pretty gold sticker on them or tie them with a pretty bow and you’re good to go.

  10. Second the plastic containers from Glad or those other brands, they can be reused by the recipient for something else, carrying lunch to work, etc. And they do come in pretty colors now. And I’m so not crafty in the presentation department…

  11. Check the craft stores too. Michael’s here has translucent, holiday themed chinese food containers that are adorable for a buck. They also have holiday themed cardboard boxes and even ceramic mini-loaf pans for about a dollar.

  12. My Dollar store and also Big Lots have tons of cute holiday shaped plastic food giftware containers.

  13. This year, if you choose to battle, hit the storage container aisle in your after Christmas shopping adventures.

  14. You know, someday I’ll manage to go into a Christmas Tree Shop and leave without buying something. I went in to buy a pair of kitchen shears, which they didn’t have, and left with 4 things of chenille yarn, some jam, a baking sheet, and a small zombie Ziggy last week.

  15. This is more for a bread/loaf (banana bread, for example) than a cookie, but I used these last year and everyone LOVED them:

    I wrapped them in saran wrap, and then tied in raffia.
    They are very reasonable, about 50 cents a piece.

  16. One year I received cookies in a new dustpan from a neighbor with this poem attached:

    Dear Friend,
    I was in a hurry,
    ‘Cuz time was running out.
    I’d baked a batch of cookies for you.
    And when I turned about.
    I saw they’d fallen on the floor.
    It made me want to shout!
    How could this happen at this time.
    When time was running out.
    I couldn’t throw them in the trash.
    Whatever could I do?
    I quickly swept them in this pan.
    And rushed them off to you.

    In a dustpan. Yeah, it was a new dustpan, but still. I am a mean person, because while I couldn’t bring myself to eat the cookies, my kids thought they were great.

  17. Every thriftstore I’ve ever been in has many cookie tins. Not one over a dollar.

  18. There’s always thrift stores for kinda different, pretty proper plates. And chinese food containers. I buy tea towels when they’re on sale and wrap up the cookies in those.

  19. Dollar Stores, Christmas Tree Shops, Ocean State Job Lot – at the OSJL I just got a lot of Melmac-type pretty bowls and trays for putting my homemade goodies in (to be wrapped with the colored Saran wrap, or maybe some cheap kitchen towels from the same store). They only run about $1.50 apiece!

  20. You should also try a Jo-Ann Fabrics, if you have one around you–they have tons of cute Christmas tins, and they already have their Christmas stuff on sale! (Although the closer to Christmas, the better the sale…Jo-Ann usually hits 75% a week or two before Christmas!)

  21. I like Chris.
    One year when I was very very poor & could barely afford the ingredients for cookies and my famous fudge, never mind fancy tins, I bought a sleeve of clear plastic glasses and a package of gallon storage bags (non-zip) and some pretty red yarn. Arrange cookies or fudge in the pretty, shiny glass, plop the glass into the bag, wrap the yarn around the bag a few times close to the top of the glass & tie a bow. Use scissors to cut off the excess plastic from the bag (leave about 2 inches) and fluff out. Viola. Using tiny fluted paper cups (about $1 for 100) to hold the fudge or cookies adds je ne sais quois for a bit more $. Total expense for presentation — less than $4.

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