The season of gift-giving is among us and I bet I could venture to guess that you still have a couple gifts you have to buy… and perhaps you’re still like OMGWTFAMIGETTINGTHEM. Well, if they like food, are awesome, or appreciate the unexpected quirkiness in life, then I guarantee you’ll find something for them on this list I composed!
The best thing about it? Everything on this list is under $25 which is a perfect not-too-cheap but not-too-expensive amount on some of those harder-to-shop-for types in your life. Plus, it isn’t your run-of-the-mill stuff that you’ll risk them already having. Everything I hand-picked because it was different, fun, and unique — like most foodies or adventurous folks like me. And okay, I promise there’s some tamer stuff in there, too. We can’t all wear golden pretzel bottle openers as necklaces like I do.
So what in the world are you waiting for? Christmas is in LESS than two weeks! Get your keester shopping!
1. The Craft Beer Cookbook by Jacquelyn Dodd. Unless you’ve been under a rock, Craft Beer is all the rage now. Get this for your hip friend who can name all the state’s craft breweries alphabetically.
2. “Plastic Bag” Glass Candy Dish, $16.50. As fun as it is unique, this is for the candy lover in your life and will surely make a statement as a coffee-table centerpiece. (Do people still have coffee tables, or am I spending too much time at my grandma’s house?)
3. Central Perk Mug, $12. For the Friends-fanatic. Obviously.
4. Celebration Cake Stand (the small blue one), $24. I have this cake stand and love it. Not only do the scalloped edges bring in some vintage flair, but it’s all-purpose and can be used yearround. For your wishes-she-was-June-Cleaver-friend.
1. Red Kite Caramel Set, $16. Normally I’d roll my eyes at “artisinal caramels” but this small candy company makes maple caramels and chai caramels. I mean, I die for chai caramels.
2. French Kitchen Cheese Board with Slicer, $20. Do I really think French people have cheese boards from Crate and Barrel? No. But I do think this marble slabbed board is quite lovely and perfect for your entertaining friend who buys fancy cheeses from Whole Foods. (And if you want to pair this gift with a fantastic cheese, may I suggest a Mango Ginger Stilton (a fabulous dessert cheese) or Old Amsterdam, an aged gouda with salt crystals inside that pairs fantastically with hard salami.)
3. Bakery Charms Cupcake Necklace, $15. Jenn is a great friend of mine and a fantastically talented jewelry-maker, specializing in adorable, pint-sized desserts made of polymer clay that you’d swear were edible. I love this bright, spunky cupcake necklace from her line!
4. Conversion Dish Towel, $10. I just love this towel. Not only is it adorable in a vintage-kinda way, but it’s actually quite helpful to drape over the oven handle or even frame for your dining room.
1. Faceted Glass Decanter, $24. For your friend who enjoys making fancy cocktails. This is a lovely gift that is pretty to look at but also practical.
2. Dessert and Baking Salts, $19. For the adventurous baker, of course! These dessert salts are a sweet-and-salty-lover’s dream come true. I would love to pair the Vanilla Lavender Salt with something rich and caramel-y, like a dulce-de-leche cheesecake.
3. Dessert Sauces Set, 21.80. I love the folks at Stonewall Kitchen for always being so kind, and for always producing incredible jams, compotes, salsas, spreads, and dessert sauces. Their Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce is to-die for, but any of these sauces would be a real winner! Bonus: since everyone loves ice cream (and dessert!) this would also be a great white-elephant or secret santa gift.
4. Dessert Pajamas, $25. Putting the term “sweet dreams” to literal use, these adorable pajamas would be a perfect gift for your sweet best friend.
1. Donut Drop Earrings, $7.50. Earrings just don’t come cuter or more unexpected than these fluffy cake donut drop earrings!
2. Kuhn Rikon 3-Piece Essentials Knife Set, $20. Great, practical knives for anyone – your son moving out, your neighbors, a white-elephant gift, yourself. I use these knives all the time and love their sturdiness, durability and how sleek they are.
3. Dylan’s Candy Bar Chocolate Sampler, $16. 18 pieces of Dylan’s delicious chocolates for the chocoholic in your life. Just remind them not to blame you when their diet goes down the toilet after eating all 18 pieces.
4. Donut Hand Towel, $10. In my opinion, it’s way too cute to use. I’m actually tempted to buy 7 of them and stitch them together to form a dress or apron. HOWEVER, for practical people, it’s a fun, sweet (pun intended) gift for anyone.
1. Hella Bitters Cocktail Mixers, $15. This would pair perfectly with the faceted decanter (above) for the mix-master cocktail maker in your life. Featuring two aromatic and citrus mixers for their perfect whiskey beverage.
2. Owl Measuring Cups, $10. These adorable, kitschy measuring cups is for your friend who basically lives at the thrift shop and digs 70’s inspired housewares… bonus if she has an afghan draped on her couch. They make for an awesome counter top decoration, too, and nest within one another which is totally badass!
3. Monogrammed Cheese Board & Spreader, $25. This would be a great gift for newly married folk (use their last name initial) or for someone who throws a ton of mega-cool parties. Again, pair it with a nice piece of cheese (no Velveeta, you peasants) or a bottle of wine.
4. Voluspa Macaron Candle, $16. Hands-down, one of my favorite candle companies. Their candles are beautifully fragranced and the wax burns forever, leaving a lovely scent behind. This macaron flavor is sweet without being cloying, and would make a great Secret Santa gift for your sweet coworker who always loans you paper clips.
1. Pretzel Bottle Opener, $10. Now, if you’re loud and obnoxious like myself, you’ll turn this gilded pretzel bottle opener into a necklace. (Seriously). BUT if you’re a normal mortal, this would be a great gift for the foodie who loves to drink craft beer (pair with Jackie’s book, above!) or for your German friend. Not to stereotype or anything (I’m German so it’s okay).
2. Skeleton Key Measuring Spoons, $24. Delightfully creepy yet somehow refined, these polished measuring spoons work with any kitchen decor. Just don’t be offended if your friend displays them rather than uses them, because hey, they’re *almost* too pretty to tarnish with vanilla.
3. Wine Towel, $14. This quirky towel displays all you could ever want to know about wine and I would highly recommend gifting it to A) the wine-drinking novice, or B) the Spencer-Reid-type who seems to know everything there is to know about everything.
4. Vintage Style Pie Servers, Set of Two, $20. This goes to any and all food bloggers who love rustic-looking, vintage-y pieces to photograph on our wooden back drops. But seriously, give these to your blogger friend. And me.
1. Stonehouse Olive Oil Sampler, $25. Give this to your chef-y friend. No, seriously. Most people can’t taste subtle differences in olive oil (“it tastes…olive-y”) but chef-y people can. Plus, it includes Blood Orange Oil which is like, the coolest thing ever. Blood Orange couldn’t be more hip right now.
2. Spice Keeper, $20. After watching hours upon hours of Giada cooking shows to the point where my eyeballs nearly exploded, I realized I needed a serving dish to keep kosher salt and coarse-ground black pepper at the ready for my cooking adventures. I store mine in peasant-style ramekins on my counter, but this spice keeper is way more refined and gorgeous, made of polished, smooth wood. I’d venture to say it’d work with most kitchen decors, and I’m a sucker for tiny spoons.
3. Bath & Body Works White Pear & Fig Deep Cleaning Soap, $6.50. BBW always has some steal deal where you can get 32487 soaps for $20 or something ridiculous. I totally LOVE this classy, refreshing scent. Sometimes people tend to overdo it on holiday soap flavors (I really don’t need my hands smelling like toasted marshmallows, thanks) but this soap is festive without making you smell like a candle-maker.
1. Poinsettia Potholders, $12 ea. These are festive and Christmas-y without being all in-your-face and featuring cartoon faces of elves. Plus, it’s the cheapest thing I could find at Anthropologie besides the pretzel opener, so, you’re welcome.
2. Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste, $10. I use this stuff all.the.time. It’s perfect for bakers because it’s a luxurious ingredient they wouldn’t likely purchase for themselves but that they’ll instantly fall in love with. Nothing beats fresh flecks of vanilla beans or the thick, syrupy, highly-potent vanilla flavor infused with bourbon in this rich, fabulous paste. I typically find mine at stores like Home Goods and Ross, but you can also order it online.
3. Foodie Dice, $24. This makes cooking fun and indeed unexpected with the use of dice to help create new dishes and explore new things in the kitchen.
4. Squirrel Cookie Jar, $20. Squirrels are like, my favorite thing in the universe and I’m totally buying myself this cookie jar. Plus, you store cookies in a squirrel’s butt and isn’t that what Christmas is about?
This was THE year for my friends to release cookbooks, y’all. SO MANY. And all of these are FANTASTIC. I mean, seriously, utterly, incredibly breathtakingly beautiful with AMAZINGLY DELISH recipes to match. I am so proud of all of my friends! While I firmly believe you need them ALL, here’s my navigational guide through all the recipes from friends.
Seriously Delish, Jessica Merchant. Jessica blogs at How Sweet It Is and her book is every bit as spunky and fabulous as her blog. This features great and easy recipes that seem like a lot of effort but are really quite simple and quick to make. I’m obsessed with the breakfast risotto. Yep, that’s a thing.
Decorating Cookies Party, Bridget Edwards. Bridget is a cookie-baking force to be reckoned with, people! Her cookies are simply gorgeous, picture-perfect creations that you think you’ll never be able to make. But her step-by-step, detailed photos and instructions will effortlessly guide you through the world of cookie baking and decorating.
Make It With A Cake Mix, Lizzy Early. Lizzy successfully transforms boxes of cake mix into delectable, one of a kind creations in this gorgeously photographed, spiral-bound book that you NEED. This would be a GREAT gift for a teenager who’s recently taken an interest in baking, as well as a tried-and-true chef.
Party Popcorn, Ashton Swank. My dear friend Ashton from Something Swanky has successfully updated America’s favorite snack food into an even more addictive snack. From sweet to savory and everything in between, I’m obsessed with her inventive recipes and skillful tips for popping the perfect batch.
The Girl Who Ate Everything, Christy Denney. Five stars for Christy’s first book, which features incredible family-friendly recipes that are absolutely delicious. We loved her Italian Beef Sandwiches and her Burrito Casserole, and I’m dying to try her Cinnamon Roll Cake that’s sure to become a new family favorite.
The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook, Katrina Bahl. Thank goodness for Katrina’s love for Biscoff cookies, because without her, we may never have a cookbook featuring scrumptious Biscoff-recipes, like truffles, brownies, blondies, and ice cream. This makes you want to hoard as many cookies on your next Delta flight as humanly possible.
The Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook, Deborah Harroun. Well? Shall I explain more? Deborah’s beautiful book features a TON of ways to transform every day desserts and treats into a red velvet lover’s dream food. From red velvet pancakes to red velvet gooey butter cookies, Deborah covered all her bases with this phenomenal, unique cookbook.
Smart Cookie, Christi Farr Johnstone. Christi is such a dear friend and seeing her combine her incredible eye for creativity and detail to create this beautiful, ingenious book was so awesome. Christi successfully transforms store-bought cookies into out-of-this-world creations you would have no idea came from a pre-packaged cookie!
Dessert Mash-Ups, Dorothy Kern. Dorothy is my neighbor and to see her successfully publish a book about ‘frankenfoods’ was so fun! From S’moresCake to Chocolate Chip Cookie Toffee, Dorothy has thought of every possible sinfully-delicious food combination there is. Book does not come with stretchy pants.
Glorious Layered Desserts, Glory Albin. Let me tell you something: Glory’s Cheesecake Mousse is probably one of the BEST things I’ve ever eaten, period. All her from-scratch puddings, mousses, and cheesecakes are used to create simply stunning layered desserts that taste like they’re made with love.
Cooking with Pumpkin, Averie Sunshine. Averie has really outdone herself with her second cookbook, this one featuring tons of genius recipes featuring pumpkin! Go beyond the pie with her gorgeous photographs and professional recipes for pumpkin treats that you would never have concocted on your own.
Sally’s Baking Addition, Sally McKenney-Quinn. Sally’s eponymous cookbook is one of my favorites because we’re basically the same person. Her easy, approachable recipes are made with lots of love (and from scratch!) to create irresistible desserts that are totally drool-worthy. Plus, she has a heavy hand with sprinkles which is the way to my heart, personally.
Well, Happy Shopping! Enjoy this picture of me as Santa.
Have a great day!!