While there are plenty of occasions to give and receive throughout the year, the holidays are my favorite time to spoil loved ones. There’s just something special about this time of year!
My family is BIG on tradition, and we typically get together several times throughout the month of December to bake holiday treats, view light displays, go sledding, and even drive up to the mountain to hunt for Christmas trees. Don’t worry, we get permits to cut down the trees. I can tell you were super concerned, so I thought I’d just let you know.
We have a few strange rituals, too, like having breakfast with Santa at the local senior center. At 7 o’clock in the morning, the first Saturday of December. Every year.
But, hey… it’s tradition!
The most important of our holiday rituals is spending Christmas Day together. Since my sisters and I are grown and don’t all live at home, we don’t get to open stockings and presents in our pajamas anymore. Excuse me while I sob a little bit.
One of the major factors contributing towards my intentions to reproduce someday is the desire to have kids around at Christmas. I’ll be sure to let my future children know that I only wanted them so I could hang stockings that don’t belong to my cats.
Right. Anyway… uh, where was I going with that? Oh, yeah, so nowadays on Christmas we all gather together in the afternoon to open presents and share a meal. I’m hosting it at my house this year and I went a little bonkers with the decorations. I’m pretty much already done with my holiday shopping, and I’ve even wrapped the gifts in matching craft paper with plaid and burlap bows. I seriously LOVE Christmas, guys. It’s a real sickness.
I take a lot of time picking out gifts for my friends and family, so I thought I’d share some of those ideas with all of you! As this is a food blog, and I’m also obsessed with all things food, the gift ideas are for… wait for it… foodies!
This year, I’ve put together a list of gift ideas that each have their own theme. There are a total of 20 gift ideas; four themes, each with four thoughtful presents for the special foodie in your life.
Each of the themes is designed to treat a particular type of foodie. I’ve created lists for the Kitchen Newbie, the Entertainer, the Globe Trotter, and the Coffee Aficionado.
As a bonus, I’ve reached out to creators behind a few of my recommended products and have a few fun items to raffle off to a few lucky readers! Giveaway items are marked with a * 🙂
Now, without further adieu, here’s the gift guide!
For the Kitchen Newbie: Curate a Library of Cookbooks!
We all know someone who is just starting out in the kitchen, whether it be your college-aged niece, your newlywed son, or even your own spouse! Note to men: please don’t suggest to your wife that she’s not experienced in the kitchen. I don’t think she’ll like that.
America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School
This book is like the bible of cooking methods. It’s probably the single largest book I own, and likely the most useful, too. It’s filled with step-by-step instructions and pictures for everything from poaching an egg to perfecting filet mignon. It’s a great reference guide to have on hand, and in my experience it has been entirely trustworthy.
Saveur’s New Classics Cookbook
Saveur is known for their global recipes, but there are plenty of recipes in this cookbook that would satisfy even the most meat-and-potato-loving person you know. It’s a great book to pull out when you want to whip up something special, and the instructions are very descriptive and understandable. A subscription to the Saveur magazine would be a great idea, too!
This was one of the first cookbooks I ever owned, and I still leaf through its dog-eared pages on a regular basis. I haven’t found a dud recipe!
How to Cook Without a Book
Similar to the ATK Cooking School book, this instructional book focuses more on technique than on specific recipes. The goal of the book is to teach you enough basics that you feel comfortable to cook meals without using recipes. I don’t own this cookbook, but it’s been on my Amazon list for at least three years.
For the Entertainer: Stock a Gourmet Pantry
I love having people over for dinner because it gives me an excuse to use some of my “special occasion” pantry items!
Here are a few of my favorite ideas and sources:
Honey Ridge Farms: Their coconut honey cream* is to die for! I stir it into my coffee in the morning and drizzle it over Greek yogurt for a quick snack. The flavor is fresh and surprising… and a little bit addictive. You’ve been warned. Along with a little olive oil, their balsamic honey vinegar* ($13) is the perfect instant salad dressing!
Wild Hibiscus: These hibiscus flowers in syrup* ($11) are a total show stopper! I’m also totally obsessed with this b’Lure Flower Extract* ($10). It’s blue when it comes out of the bottle, but turns purple and pink if you mix it with lime or lemon juice! It’s such a fun addition to your bar, and makes for quite the conversation starter at a cocktail party.
Gourmet Spices: Fresh spices make all the difference in the world! When I buy by the bottle, I get mine from Simply Organic and Frontier Co-op, but I love RawSpiceBar* as a fun subscription option to try new (and super fresh!) spices ($6/month).
Olive Oils and Salts: I love, love, love this Koroneiki Olive Oil ($20) from Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms. My mom and I have been driving out to Yamhill County to stock up on this stuff for years! I’ve been obsessed with finding the perfect olive oil ever since I went to Greece, and this is definitely the best I’ve found. They also have a wide variety of vinegars and salts, my favorite of which are the Yakima Applewood Smoked Sea Salt ($15), which makes everything taste like it just came out of the smoker, and the Black Truffle Sea Salt ($16) which is just plain amazing.
For the Globe Trotter: Gifts to Scratch that Wanderlust Itch
Gifts for the best kind of people:
If you want to go all out, and I mean ALL out, Saveur has started offering food trip journeys around the world and they sound like life-changing experiences. I’m drooling over the trips to Basque, Morocco, and New Orleans! Most trips run between $3,000-$7,000, so you better make it clear that the trip counts as Christmas (and birthday!) presents for the next 10 years.
For a more cost-efficient option, reserve a spot in a local cooking class that specializes in global cuisine. Thai, French, and Italian food are good options, or opt for a more adventurous choice like Dim Sum or Sushi. Bonus points if you sign up to go with them! Sur La Table ($30-$80) has some good options, and so does Le Cordon Bleu ($125).
You can never go wrong with cookbooks! Check out my list of international cookbooks right here.
Another great idea is a subscription to the new Try the World boxes ($40/box), or get even more creative and put together a basket of imported goodies from World Market. Don’t forget the wine.
For the Coffee Aficionado: Morning Upgrades
Let’s be real. Coffee should be consumed in the afternoon and evening, too. Sleep is for the weak.
As a life-long French Press advocate, I surprised myself by recently making the switch to siphon-brewed coffee. This Siphon Brewer from KitchenAid ($200) is basically the love of my life:
It makes my mornings so much more bearable, and it’s fun to bring out for an after-dinner cup of coffee when you’re entertaining guests.
Another option for the coffee-drinker-who-has-everything is a Burr Grinder. I have this one from KitchenAid ($249) and I’m pretty sure it will outlive me:
The perfect cup of coffee starts with perfectly roasted coffee beans. Help your loved one find their favorite brew by gifting a Mistobox subscription. You get extra points if you place the order ahead of time so the recipient can enjoy a cup of coffee after presents are opened on Christmas morning.
For a more simple upgrade, purchase a single serve pour-over dripper:
And don’t forget the filters: