Sunday, December 19, 2010

A (Last Minute) Foodie's Gift Guide

As I'm sure you're well aware, Christmas is just under a week away....eek! Are you done with your shopping? I'm not. I have a few more things to pick up and ship on Monday. Let's hope they make it to their respective locations by Christmas!

While I know that Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus, I also enjoy spending time with family, baking cookies, and finding the perfect gifts. Here are a few tips for giving great gifts (even a few last minute ones).

Know Your Giftee
The perfect gift has the giftee's interests in mind. What's their "thing"? What makes them tick? Don't just buy them something that you'd like to receive. I know I have some running gear on my Christmas list, but if I bought that for a friend, she might think I'm telling her she's had too much eggnog. Not a good idea.

Or go beyond the mundane and make it a themed gift based around the giftee's interests. They're fun to put together and are more personal. They show that you've been paying attention to the other person's interests. For example, two years ago for I wanted to take John to Denver for his birthday (not right then, just at some point during the year). He'd been talking it up, so I got him giftcards for Southwest Airlines. Since that was a little boring on its own, I strung the cards on ribbon and put them on bottles of microbrews from Colorado.

When in doubt, food does the trick. Here's a last minute food-themed gift guide. These are perfect for last minute gifts or even hostess gifts. Get creative at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or even your local grocery store.

Salad Dressing Mixer + Olive Oil + Vinegar

salad dressing mixer ($15)
olive oil ($17)
balsamic vinegar ($10)

Love salads, but feeling a little uninspired with the dressing selection at the grocery store? John introduced me to homemade vinaigrettes and I haven't gone back. Pick up some extra virgin or flavored olive oil, a cool bottle of vinegar (I prefer balsamic), and one of these salad dressing mixers from Crate & Barrel. A few stirs later and you have a fresh vinegarette. John's sister has one of these and it's pretty fun to use. Plus, there are recipes on the side of the mixer.

Cheese Board + Cheese

cheese board ($38)
These cheese boards come in every state or you can custom order one. Why not give one of Italy and pair it with some Italian cheese and wine? (Unfortunately it's too late for Christmas)

Cookbook + (Ingredients or Item Baked from the Book)

Pick up a cookbook and make or bake something from the book. Or if your cooking skills are lacking, pick up the ingredients for a recipe that you think the giftee would love. My "go to" cookbook is The Joy of Cooking. But feel free to get something a little more personal: a cookbook from a favorite chef, cuisine, desserts, etc.

Espresso Maker + Coffee Beans + Mug

espresso maker (starting at $20)
coffee (starting at $10/lb)
monogrammed mug ($6)

This espresso maker is on my list this year since I like lattes, but don't enjoy the price. Pair the espresso maker with some beans and a mug for the coffee connoisseur in your life. Here's how to use the stove top espresso maker.

Champagne Flutes + Champagne

flutes ($6/glass)
Spanish cava ($8)

Who doesn't enjoy a glass of bubbly on occasion? If French champagne is out of your budget, try Spanish cava or Italian prosecco.

Glasses + Beer

glasses ($31 for 4)
beer ($9)

For the beer drinker in your life, pick up a six-pack of their favorite microbrew. If you're feeling particularly generous, get them a membership to a beer of the month club ($23/month). 4 different beers (12 bottles in total) will be delivered each month.

Cookies + (Bowl or Plate)

loomed bowl ($14)
trifle bowl ($30)
flame leaf bowl ($16)
petit four tray ($46)
fleur de lys serving bowl ($38)
bone strawberry basket ($20)

If you can hold your own against an oven, why not bake the giftee's favorite dessert? Present it in a cute serving bowl or plate for them to use during the year. Not so good at baking? Pick up some cookies, cupcakes, or candies.

Best of luck wrapping up your Christmas shopping. Hopefully you found a few useful ideas. And seriously, keep the recipient's interests in mind. You don't want to have a "Father of the Bride" blender moment!
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  1. Great ideas... I feel like our minds were thinking alike today!

  2. Fabulous ideas!!! I'll be saving some of them for birthdays!!


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