Listen, I’m the first one to say that we shouldn’t focus so much on gifts and stuff and material things. I especially try to convey to my children the idea of charity and being grateful for what you do have. That said, giving a gift can be an expression of love or appreciation if there’s thought put into it. I always listen to my cooking class students talk about what they would love to have or what they are putting on their wish lists this year. Or I just take mental notes when lots of people ask me where I got something, etc. I am most definitely not a shopper — don’t have the time or the patience. So I actually love checking out gift guides which I find very helpful when I’m making my lists. Here are some terrific gifts ideas for the special people in your life, although definitely female- and food-oriented:
Farmhouse Pottery Olive Oil Bottles A few years ago, one of my friends gifted me a Farmhouse Pottery maple syrup silo and I became obsessed with this company. I even put them on last year’s gift list. For something new, I think these gorgeous olive oil bottles are so lovely and useful. I especially love that they’re not clear since light encourages oxidation with olive oil. You could even pair one of these with a bottle of good olive oil for a really great gift.
Attractive Loaf Pan (with or without a homemade quick bread in it) A homemade gift with something that can be reused is such a great idea. Make a delicious and easy quickbread and gift it in one of these beautiful loaf pans, which are much nicer than a typical pyrex or metal one. Here are a couple of loaf pans I like as shown above from left to right:
World Market Ceramic EcoSkillet We have all ditched Teflon, right? Not a class goes by when someone doesn’t ask me to please recommend an acceptable nonstick skillet. From what I can tell, this ceramic coated, nonstick skillet from EcoSkillet is clean as well as affordable and I think the color combo is aesthetically pleasing.
Instant pot This pot is hot right now- it is a slow-cooker, pressure-cooker, and rice-cooker all-in-one, and it even has a sauté feature for browning veggies and meats and a setting for making yogurt! I figured this was too good to be true, that it must have an aluminum or non-stick insert, but it’s stainless steel! Dreams do come true. I first saw it on my friend Kelsi’s blog, and I knew I needed one for myself. I think this is the kitchen appliance of the season!
Breville Food Processor This food processor is hands down my favorite appliance I have in my kitchen and I just couldn’t live without it. I used a Cuisinart for years before discovering this gem by Breville, and this is the perfect gift for the cook in your life. I have the 16-cup which is great if you cook for large groups but I think the 12-cup is a great size as well. The adjustable slicing blade is genius as is the reversible shredding disc, allowing you to have 2 discs instead of a dozen. The buttons are metal so they don’t wear off like plastic. There’s a spout on the bowl so you can pour and there’s even an LCD panel that has a timer and tells you what to do, e.g. “insert stopper.” It’s amazing and everyone asks me about it. This model is called the Sous Chef.
Staub 2-Handle Paella Pan First off, let me say I’ve never actually used this pan for paella, so don’t let the description deter you. This pan has quickly become my favorite in the kitchen and it is the perfect gift for the cook in your life. It is a generous size and I love the 2-handles that make it easy for transferring from stovetop to counter or table. I also love how attractive it is, and often serve dishes out of here instead of transferring to a platter. It is easy to clean, doesn’t stick, and distributes heat perfectly! I have probably been asked and emailed by a hundred people what size is this pan, what’s the name, etc. People want it.
White Serving Platter “I have too many serving platters!” said no one ever. I’m in other people’s kitchens every day and believe me, this is an entertaining staple that no one has enough of. I personally love white platters because they really make the food pop, but any neutral platter is a great gift and something that can be used for years. And it doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, either! Check out some great platters that I found that I love (can you tell I’m partial to oval?):
West Elm Mid-Century Coasters A new set of coasters is the perfect gift to spruce up someone’s coffee table and these will add just a little vintage touch, but still be classic. I would pair this with a good bottle of liquor and you will be everyone’s favorite guest.
Blanket/Decorative Throw Every year I give someone a blanket for Christmas and it’s always a welcome gift. Obviously there are different types of blankets for different uses — to cuddle with on the couch, layer on top of a bed, bring to a ball game, throw down on the ground at the park, or just for show. I personally use all my blankets, especially in the family room where we watch movies and read. I am actually thinking about getting a few more since winter is here and the kids seem to fight over one in particular. There are so many great blankets. I have bought from Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Best Made, Coyuchi, Williams-Sonoma Home and others.
Jenni Kayne x Simone Le Blanc Gift Box Jenni and Simone both have amazing taste so it’s no surprise that their collaborative gift box is perfection. Their Signature Woods Gift Box is a carefully curated assortment of cool weather favorites. Included are: Herbivore Cypress Bath Salts, Incense of the West Pinon Incense Blocks, Farmhouse Pottery Mug and Milk Bottle Match Striker with Matches, Juniper Ridge Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea and White Sage Bundle, Los Poblanos Pinon Soap, Materia Lumina Seaweed Platter, and Fig + Yarrow Woods Bath + Body Oil. Perfection.
Sneakers Sneakers are not an odd gift! Granted you have to know the recipient’s size, but everyone wears them and they are not just for exercise. I am all about comfort and love the fact that sneakers are acceptable with skirts and proper casual attire, like jeans and a sweater. Here are a couple of pairs that are on my list this year for me and some lucky peeps:
New Balance 620 in black, navy or grey
Adidas Originals Superstar in all white or white with black stripes
Chemical-Free Nail Polish This is a great gift for the ladies in your life, and it will spare them all of the super-harsh chemicals used in regular nail polish. This is especially important if you have tweens/teens into polish! Try these brands that are rated as safe by the Environmental Working Group:
Cuyana Products This company’s motto is “Fewer, Better” and I couldn’t agree more with all of the beautiful products they have to offer. These are timeless gifts that are chic and stylish yet classic and moderately priced. Some of my favorite items include the totes, pouches, and scarves. I have bought many gifts this year from Cuyana and I think the recipients will be mighty pleased.
Workout Wear I am always thrilled when I get a new cute workout top or pair of yoga pants. It is always nice to feel good and be comfortable when exercising and I’m a little more motivated to go to the gym when I look a little more stylish. I think workout wear is a great holiday gift. Two of my favorites that I am loving right now are this Beyond Yoga tank, and these Lululemon Capris!
Desk Calendar I love having a discreet, but pretty desk calendar at my fingertips. Someone gave me this Snow & Graham calendar (left) last year and I still love it. It has a clear plastic stand that looks like a CD case and contains a thick card for each month. On the back of each card is a lovely design. You could probably frame them after the year is over. I have also had this Sugar Paper letterpress desk calendar (right), which I adored as well. It’s a little fancier and quite a bit pricier, too. Both are lovely.
“House of Cards” DVD’s The holidays are for binge watching tv, am I right? If you know anyone who hasn’t been following House of Cards, I am so jealous of him or her!! That lucky person gets to watch all three seasons for the first time! “House of Cards” is one of my favorite television series and is seriously addictive. Buy seasons 1 and 2 here and season 3 here.
Le Labo Santal 26 Candle I actually don’t love a strong fragrance in the home because it can be overwhelming, especially during mealtime. But the first time I smelled this candle was in a New York hotel and I had to have it. Later I found out that everyone already knows about this Le Labo candle and I am not as cool as I thought. But that is not a reason to buy a candle. You buy one because it smells amazing, not overpowering and has an understated look to it. Voila! There’s something about this scent that is neither masculine nor feminine, but a little smoky and sexy and earthy at the same time. I love it.
Healing Crystals These healing crystals from local LA company Energy Muse are a unique gift for the mindful person in your life. Gift them to someone who can appreciate the energy that these crystals emit. This website has several options and a description of the powers that each crystal holds. And even if you don’t buy into their healing powers, they look beautiful and cool on a coffee table.
Thrive Market 1-year Membership A one-year membership to this website gives you access to hundreds of health-concious products at discounted prices. I personally have saved many hundreds of dollars this year from my Thrive Market purchases and will continue to sing this site’s praises.
Homemade Gifts from the Kitchen are always my favorite gifts to give. Check out this post from last year to get some ideas.
And last year’s Gift Guide of Edibles is also still relevant. Read over here. Happy gifting!