Make A Cookbook People Will Love

As you explore how to make a family Christmas recipe book, you want to make sure you keep the personal touches intact.  A homemade gift like this is sure to be a favorite of many for years to come.  Your brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, children, and extended members will appreciate the effort and time you put into it.  In this article, I’ll provide a brief overview of some ideas to design your own cookbook, and offer some tips you can use to make it personal, so the members of your family love their new recipe book they get for a Christmas gift.  If you follow some of the tips in this article, it will become more like an heirloom than a cookbook.  You may even make some people's eye tear up.

  • Choosing Recipes

When you build your own family recipe book as a Christmas gift, you want to use family dishes as much as possible.  It’s okay if most of the members already have the recipe written down, as this will still serve as a great organizational book for all their favorite dishes.

In addition to adding family favorites, you can add some of your own personal dishes to the cookbook.  Do you have something you make that everyone loves?  If so, give up the secret and include it in the book.  Comfort foods, desserts, soups, sandwiches, cookies, cakes, main dishes, and even drinks can all be included.  When you get right down to it, the dishes you include aren’t nearly as important as the rest of the recipe book, which is what’s going to make this gift stand out from the others.

  • Spend Time On The Cover

This is probably the most important part of the presentation.  You can go a lot of different directions with this one.  You can use a favorite photo, a picture of the oldest living member, or even a family tree on the front cover.  If you go with a genealogy tree, be sure to keep a master or two saved so you can update it with new additions.   It’s really up to you, but this where you will make the first impression.  Consider having the cover made professionally.

  • Laminate If Possible

If possible, laminate the pages to keep them looking great for years to come.  This isn’t a must, but if you want them to last a lifetime, it’s a great idea.  Children will likely be holding, touching and inspecting the cookbook if you follow a lot of my other suggestions.  Of course, if you keep a master on file and update, which will be covered a little later in this article, lamination may not be necessary.

  • Add Pictures Of Lost Family Members

Add pictures of lost family members to the book.  Something like this can become more of an heirloom than a cookbook when done right.  Grandparents, great grandparents, lost children and other family members that hold a special place in the heart should be included.  You’ll get tear-filled eyes (of joy) when you give these out as gifts.

  • Add Pictures Of Kids

This is designed to be a family book, not just a collection of recipes.  As you think about your family, try to include at least one picture of all children or grandchildren that represent the next generation.  This can almost become more of a genealogy collection than a cookbook, making it a great gift for Christmas or any other time. 

  • Hand Made Art

Have the children draw a picture and include it in the cookbook.  Include the name and date, along with what the art represents.  It’s a good way to see what kids think of the holiday in general.  Try just giving the children a theme to draw about and let them have fun with it.  As an alternative, if parents saved school projects and things of that nature, they can be included.

  • Make Dedications

This recipe is dedicated to…  Spread it out.  Each member should be included, if possible, to avoid hurt feelings.  Does one of the children or grandchildren have a special fondness for a certain dish?  If so, dedicate it to them.  This is a great place to add the pictures as well. 

  • Leave Room For The Future

Intentionally leave some blank pages in the book and keep two master copies on hand, in separate homes (just in case of disaster).  As new family members are born, create new pages for them in the Christmas recipe book.  Over time, this will become a family heirloom and not just another collection of recipes.   As you add babies, try adding pages for baby food or homemade formula, seeking out the advice of the new parents to make sure you include what actually represents the child at the time.

  • Make It An Event

When you make a growing family recipe book like this and leave room for future additions, you want to make sure you include all the members in the collection of dishes that will be represented.   Each year, perhaps just before the holidays, you can have a get-together and find out what additions everyone would like to see added.  As children turn into adults and future generations get older, they can be involved more in the process. 

These are just some of the things to keep in mind as you explore how to make a family Christmas recipe book