Gifts of love from your very own kitchen, including oatmeat squares, PB&C brownies and Far East party mix.

If you haven't done so already, now's the time to decide what gifts you're going to provide for family, friends, neighbors and the like.

Food is always a good idea. Mainly because it's disposable, so nobody has to find a place to hang it, display it or store it.

Besides which, a gift of food can show a great deal of thoughtfulness on your part. That's because you'll undoubtedly take into account your givee's likes and dislikes — not to mention their allergies: nuts, dairy, gluten (all the rage these days) and/or all of the above.

Your edible gift can be store-bought, of course. Either locally or from one of the myriad food-gift purveyors whose catalogs have undoubtedly clogged your mailbox by now. But, our exercise du jour is for those who like to present a gift of love from their very own kitchens.

Our focus this time is on holiday food gifts that don't include cookies. Not that there's anything wrong with cookies, but if you're in the mood to try something different, here are some ideas which are designed for those nearest and dearest to us who don't suffer from food allergies.

Oatmeal squares

If you've decided to go beyond cookies this season, perhaps an assortment of various squares/brownies appeals. These yummy squares go well beyond plain old oatmeal, and include coconut and chocolate chips.

You can make them a few days ahead, cool them thoroughly, cut them into squares and wrap tightly in plastic, then foil. Refrigerate until you're ready to package them pretty for presentation.

Those holiday cookie tins you've collected over the years can also contain your alternate gifts.

Softened butter, for baking pans

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup (all-purpose) flour

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup each, milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled

2 large eggs