Here's an easy make-ahead layer salad (like, duh, at least 24 hours ahead). There are probably as many variations of this as there are towns in the United States. This is from our Family Favorite Recipes edited by my s.i.l. and her daughter.
Here's the recipe in all it's simplicity:
1 medium head iceberg, bite sized pieces.
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen peas
2 C mayonnaise
2 t sugar
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
1 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1 pound bacon, cooked crisp and diced
3 hard cooked eggs, sliced
2 tomatoes, quartered (I cut mine in eighths)
In a bowl place all ingredients in the order given above, do not mix dressing, just add in layers. This flavors the best overnight but is fine if you do a few hours ahead. Serves 8-10.
I encourage you to try out your own variations--change the cheese, add something else, etc.
It may be too late for this year but if you are so inclined this is a great gift idea. My sister in law and her daughter collected favorite recipes from family and close friends and typed them out and arranged them nicely in a binder that even includes family photos that are fairly recent and from eons ago.