Make a stack of shortbread cookies spiced with your neighbor's favorite lavender, then tie them up in cellophane the color of her kitchen. Or wrap up a tin of brownies in the sports page for a friend who's a rabid Lakers fan . . .
Use antique bottles found at flea markets (sterilize them first) to show off a rich caramel sauce spiked with Cognac or a batch of vinegar you've infused with thyme and peppercorns.
Isn't this what gourmet shops like Dean & Deluca and Williams-Sonoma are for? If you've actually got time to make own vinegar by infusing it with sprigs of thyme and then placing it in some decorative bottles, then you must have too much time on your hands. Sorry, but that's my theory. Christmas is stressful enough without encouraging ordinary people to start behaving like they're Martha Stewart. Chill out.