The solution? Magic walnuts!
These are a bit time consuming, but the result is fantastic. Here's how:
Insert a butter knife into the small opening in the top of a walnut and give it a gentle twist. If you do it slowly, it should pop right in half along the side cracks. You may have to go through a few to get the hang of it, but it works.
Hollow out the inside and use those nuts for your favourite tasty recipe.
Place your gift inside the walnut being careful that no part of it overlaps the top "edge" of the split walnut.
I added the team name in mine, but this could be a note, a joke, a name, anything you want.
Glue the two halves back together.
The first year I made these, I put a small wrapped chocolate and a joke inside each walnut. I made a bowl full of them and just left them out for the kids at our holiday party to discover. It was pure magic!
Tip: If you are placing a gift in the walnut and want it to open easily, just put a few tiny drops of glue on one half and press them together, holding for about a minute or so. Like this:
If you are going to put them out, expecting people to use a nutcracker to open them, use a line of glue all around the outside of the lip and hold the two halves together, just until they set. Let them dry (overnight is good if you will be cracking them open with a nutcracker). I have used white glue in the past, as well as carpenters glue. Both work well.
You can stop here if you want them to look like a regular walnut. I decided to wrap a piece of crochet cotton around mine, and added a tag.
Adding the crochet cotton is much easier with two people, one to hold the walnut and one to tie the knot. It is possible to do it by yourself, but the thread keeps slipping off and it is kind of frustrating. Just a thought.
If you are going to make more than one of these at a time and they are for different people, consider placing the walnut on a piece of paper with a note to help you keep track. I had to split one back open to remember which one was for which child.
Also, those tags are SMALL. Have a few extra on hand in case your cat wants to "help". By the way, cats really like magic walnuts. :) You may have to spend some time chasing your walnuts around.