The fondness we have for homemade food gifts ranks right up there with treasured memories of Santa and his reindeer.
A popular homemade recipe that has made the rounds for more than 50 years is Chex Mix. The recipe first appeared on the box of Wheat Chex in 1953, and that standard recipe gets a new twist with every generation.
More than 70 versions of the mix appear on Chex.com, but there probably are as many recipes as there are squares of Chex.
Ruth Ann Storrow of Lexington has been making the original Chex Mix for her friends and family at Christmastime for about 20 years. Bethany Prekopa, 11, of Mount Sterling is just discovering the magic of Chex.
Storrow's recipe is tattered and yellowed with age, while Bethany simply prints a recipe from her computer.
When Storrow began giving Chex Mix as a gift, she bought attractive holiday tins and told the recipients that if they returned the tin, they would get Chex Mix again the next year. "They all bring their tins back to me," she said.
Some of the tins are meaningful, she said. For example, a granddaughter who's a ballet dancer always gets the nutcracker tin.
Bethany, who likes spending time in the kitchen, often makes special recipes for her family and friends. She's having a caroling party on Friday.
"I was planning to cook something and I was flipping through a Rachael Ray magazine and found a Chex Mix ad. My plan is that my friends and I go caroling at the nursing home like last year, then afterward we'll make hot cocoa and Chex Mix," she said.