2016 was a success (thanks to several ideas from this forum), so I'm going to do it again in 2017! Fortunately, a lot of what I gave were consumables, so I can just make them again! Melt and pour soap, chocolate-covered graham crackers, roasted almonds, soup mix in a jar, tea mixes. All were well received.
The chocolate-graham crackers were probably the best, mostly because my mom (who is a really good cook, so this should not be foreign to her) kept asking me how I made them, like there was some kind of magic to it. Um, buy graham crackers and chocolate chips. Melt chocolate chips. Dip. Cool. Package.
The soap was also great because I now have plenty of leftovers for myself, which means I don't have to buy any for a long time or maybe ever, if I continue to make more.
As for packaging, I got ribbon 70% off at Michael's, and while I was standing in line, I used their free Wifi to download a 50% off coupon for the little bags I was buying.