Candied nuts

Simultaneously sweet and savory, nuts are a particularly good choice. (Emma Christensen/TMS)

Is the number of friends, family, teachers, neighbors, mail carriers, old college roommates, yoga instructors and pet groomers on your holiday gift list starting to feel overwhelming? Give yourself a break. Think edible.

Think soft, chewy caramels. Not only do they ship beautifully and last for weeks, but they're surprisingly easy to make. (Really! Don't be scared of the candy thermometer.)

Think candied nuts. Simultaneously sweet and savory, nuts are a particularly good choice for friends without a big sweet tooth. Think homemade jams, pickles and chutneys. Spreads and relishes like these are gifts that keep on giving. Think tea mixes and cocoa kits. A mug of something warm is so comforting, doubly so when it's a special blend from a friend.

Seriously, who wouldn't love to find a specially made treat tucked in their mailbox or in the toe of their stocking? Whether it's for Aunt Sally or that new teacher at school, you can't go wrong.

Gingerbread caramels

Makes roughly 40 caramels

Note: Use 4-quart or larger saucepan for this recipe, as the sugar will nearly triple in bulk when the milk is added.

1 cup (8 oz) heavy cream
4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) white sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) corn syrup
1/4 cup (2 oz) water