Holiday Gift Guide 2018


Welcome to this year’s holiday gift guide
, also known as the best place to shop for the eaters and readers in your life. This year, if you are so inclined, feel free to leave your best go-to gift idea in the comment section. The author of my favorite one will win a free copy Dinner: A Love Story, Dinner: The Playbook, or How to Celebrate Everything. Your choice! (Winner selected on Monday, December 17 at noon ET.) Happy Holidays Everyone.

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Swirl Baking Dishes (MoMA, $15-$27) Leave it to MoMA to add one-of-a-kind beauty to…a baking dish. The ceramic is hand-swirled, so each one is different. More important: They are oven-to-table and dishwasher safe. (Andy: Are you listening?)


Temporary Tattoos
(Tattly, $5-10) Before Phoebe road-tripped for a big cross-country race this past fall, I handed her an envelope that included a you-are-a-badass note and two “Believe” tattoos from Tattly (one for her teammate) that I thought might help shave a few seconds off her splits. (I’ll try anything.) She loved them and now I want to give empowerment tattoos to every kid all the time for any occasion. I also really liked: Let’s Do This, Believe, Self-Confidence, Warrior Not Worrier. That last one is for me. Great for the stocking.

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The Latest Greatest Cookbooks I don’t know about your kids, but mine have this incredible talent for sniffing out a Milk Bar no matter what city we find ourselves in. If yours are the same, they’ll be psyched to open up the neon-lighted All About Cake by Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi ($16). For the friend who knows a little something about cooking, go for Simple the newest Yotam Ottolenghi ($21) and 2018’s best entry in the Everyday genre.

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Flour Sack Dish Towels (Food52, $39 for a set of 4) My mom is a woman who prizes utility over beauty for pretty much any circumstance — When we were growing up, her idea of the perfect gift for my siblings and me were underwear jumbo packs. The good news: I just bought her these flour sack towels, which are both beautiful and useful. The bad news: I love them so much I might have to keep them for myself. They’re part of the cool new Food52 product line that crowd-sources development and design ideas. How fun is that? (NOTE: These are currently out of stock until 12/10; check back then!)

What Do People Do All Day ($11) My editor Maria at the Times Book Review assigned me a round-up on what she called “Big Beautiful Books,” the immersive kind that you imagine (hope? dream? cross-fingers) will suck your kid in for hours at a time on long winter days. You can head over there to find one that works for your kids, but I wanted to make a special plug for the My Big Wimmelbook series, which is great for the 2-to-5-year-old set. Something to note: Wimmelbooks are a standard part of young childhood in Germany and in the review I compared the large-format board-book volumes to the Richard Scarry books we all grew up with. Which made me realize — hey! What about Richard Scarry who will never ever go out of style? Especially the iconic What Do People Do All Day, a favorite when I was a kid. So if you don’t have that one, pick it up first.

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Things I Ate As a Kid Puzzle
 ($17) A 1000-piece puzzle, via Ben & Birdy, whose gift guide is always a treasure trove of ideas for game lovers.


Homemade Version of a Favorite Store-bought Food
. If you’re going in the bake-a-gift direction this year, consider heading down the nostalgia road. My Dad, like all good members of the Bronx post-war Jewish community, loves his Entenmann’s baked goods and passed down that passion to me. I grew up eating their famous, now discontinued, Sour Cream and Nut Chocolate Chip Loaf. A few years ago, I surprised him with a homemade version of it and couldn’t believe how fast it took us back. The recipe, plus more ideas for meaningful food gifts are in my last book, How to Celebrate Everything, on page 19. (Photo credit: Chelsea Cavanaugh for HTCE)

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Pre-assembled Gingerbread House Kit
 ($50, Dylan’s Candy Bar) A kit that gets straight to the fun part: The decorating.

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Minding the Store, ($13, by Julie Gaines, Illustrated by Ben Lenovitz) Fishs Eddy is a New York institution and I’ve plucked many holiday gifts from its charming shelves through the years. (My in-laws still drink cocktails from the sweet Todd Oldham-Charley Harper-designed glasses we gave them a few years ago.) This year, you should absolutely peruse their online shelves for the goods and the wares, but please also check out the graphic novel written by the Fishs Eddy owner Julie Gaines. It’s all about her wacky family and running a small business — and Catherine Hong, my favorite source for books and design recommended it, so you know it’s going to be good.

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Instant Pot ($70 for 6-quart) Know any hold-outs? (Besides yours truly?) Now that the craze seems to have officially settled into Here to Stay, it might finally be the time.

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Sloth Mug (Urban Outfitters, $15) Wrap it up with your favorite hot chocolate (this one is tops) and a bag of marshmallows and your teenager will love you forever — or at least for, like, 10 minutes.

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Harmonica ($35) The perfect procrastinate-ACT-studying tool. Naturally, my high school junior is obsessed.

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Cheese Knives (CB2, set of 3, $15) For your friend who hosts the best holiday party every year. Or even for the friend who doesn’t.


Fox 8
 by George Saunders (Random House $11). For people who like George Saunders (by now you know we sure do!) and for people who have kids who are older than 10 or 11 and are ready for a little darkness to go with their charming animal stories. This one is narrated by a fox (named Fox 8) and beneath the fun misspellings (“reeding my story bak just now, I woslike: O no, my story is a bumer”) and ingenious narration is a powerful story about our lesser angels and our responsibility to the world and our environment. Added bonus: it fits right into a stocking.

In the span of about two hours this past weekend, we planned a five-day trip to Austin, Texas between Christmas and New Years. (As usual, recs welcome!) Only after I told the girls about it, did I realize I missed an opportunity to do the surprise plane-tickets-under-the-tree reveal like Liz did a few years ago. If you still have the time to plan, I’d say go for it.

Other DALS guides through the years:

Gift Guide 2017
Gift Guide 2016
Gift Guide 2015
Gift Guide 2014
Gift Guide 2013
Gift Guide 2012
Gift Guide 2011

Happy Holidays!

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101 Comments

Sofia

Another great option for a gingerbread house is the ones sold at Trader Joe’s. Lots of decorating fun for less than $10.

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Katie

Ha! Thought exactly the same thing as I was reading through….$50?!!? Trader Joe’s for the win 🙂

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Ali

My new go to gift for a housewarming or a hostess gift is a cocktail kit. I’m making one right now for different old fashioneds. A bottle of bourbon, orange bitters, a jar of good cherries, a jar of sugar cubes, an orange and a lemon. Plus a jar of homemade chai spice simple syrup and a small bottle of maple syrup to change up the flavors. I also think a hot chocolate kit with great mix-ins would be really nice if you don’t want to bring alcohol. p.s. How to celebrate everything is the only one I don’t have yet!

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Mom of boys

I have one go to gift this year. It works for any child or adult! My high school and college age nieces will be getting the gift and my husband just got one for his birthday. A Hydro Flask: https://www.rei.com/product/100105/hydro-flask-wide-mouth-vacuum-water-bottle-32-fl-oz . The deal with this flask is it keeps cold things cold all day–like ice cold at an all day baseball tournament in Manteca, California in August. And it keeps hot things hot all day–like burn the roof of your mouth hot on a long road trip. Bonus points that is it isn’t disposable!

On a side note, I love this blog. Reading it provides a great five minute break in my day. And I’m super grateful for that moment of indulgence. So thank you!

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Angela

Just bought a gift box of assorted jams and jellies from Stonewall Kitchen for my brother/sister-in-laws/aunts/uncles, which I think is a fun way to try different flavors they might not normally buy for themselves. Their apple jalapeno jelly is one of my favorites! 🙂

Plus, we bought our newphews and niece Razor Scooters (the pedal, old-school cerca 1998 kind, not electric) because they were my brother and I’s favorite toy growing up!

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Leah

I moved to a new city about a year ago away from family and friends. After a bit of time settling in, I found a nearby bakery that quickly became my all time favourite for a weekday indulgence. I kept on raving about it to my parents back home, and when my birthday rolled around, they sneakily called the bakery and had them craft up a gift certificate for me for my birthday. When I walked in to buy myself a treat the next day, the baker presented me with the gift certificate. Needless to say I was totally shocked by the thoughtful gesture…not only did I get to treat myself to many “free” delicious desserts, but the gift also helped support a local small business. Usually gift cards are not considered all that genuine in the gift giving world, but this one sure was. Will definitely be doing this for other friends and family far away this season!

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Jenny

I did NOT know this and of course it makes me love him even more (and feel a little less guilty about recommending it without acknowledging some of his more dated ideas.) Thank you!

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Anya

Did he? That is so great! 🙂 I was just commenting on how they were great books despite the gender roles being pretty stereotypically old-school, but it’s nifty that he updated them.

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Anya

A friend gave my then-not-yet-born oldest one of the big Richard Scarry books at the baby shower they had for me, and her comment on the inside reads something like: “Did you ever notice how sexist this was when you were a kid? Me neither. Ah well. Still fun to read.” 🙂 And she’s right— but they’re still a great read. Since our kids have grown up with dad as a teacher and mom as a doctor, I don’t think the gender sterotypes left much of a dent. 🙂

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JessicaD

Ooooh – host/ess gifts: I keep a bunch of Penzeys spice gift boxes in our closet; people LOVE them. Before I was onto those, I had stocked up on Maldon salt gift boxes that people also loved! I am *also* commenting to follow along on any Austin recs that you get — we may also do a holiday break trip down there!

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Caitlyn Barker

Being a teacher, I have summers off and spend them working at an organic vegetable farm down the road owned by good friends of ours. They grow just about everything you can grow up here in central Maine, but two of their products are my go-to gifts every year- garlic and honey! A nice jar of dark, local honey and a couple pounds of garlic in a nice gift bag are exactly what I want, and exactly what I give!

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Erin

I got our family a new tent for Christmas. It’s something we wouldn’t normally buy with a newborn and toddler but it gives me hope that we will be camping one day soon. It’s a gift that leads to road trips and family adventures. Two things I’m missing right now as I’m sitting in bed nursing my newborn! P.s. I love your writing and your recipes Jenny!

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Ingrid

My best go to gift is free- use the StoryCorps app to record a priceless conversation with someone you love. They have recs with wonderful questions you can ask. It is a gift for both of you and the audio gets stored in the Library is Congress. What’s not to love? ❤️

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Ellese

These are all incredible ideas! You brought me way back to my childhood with the Busy town ‘What Do People Do all day’ book. I had no clue you can order that on Amazon, I guess I never thought to look it up. It truly is the perfect present. I may snatch it to give to my younger brother as a nostalgic gift. Thanks for sharing! XO, Ellese

Rock.Paper.Glam.

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Karen

Our family went to Austin last March for fun and to check out UT Austin. We loved it. Taco Deli and Fresas were our favorites. Have fun!
Also, Entenmans filled chocolate chip crumb cake was my go to when I was a kid….the best!

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Jen

I have gotten into the useful homemade food gift. Last year I made a bunch of homemade seasoning salt and doled it into small decorative jars. I cannot believe what a hit it was! Nearly everyone who got a jar asked me for the recipe or mourned the empty jar when it was gone. This year I think I am going to do a sriracha salt …

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Caitlyn Barker

I work as an elementary school teacher during the year but have summers off and spend them working at the organic vegetable farm down the road owned by friends of ours. My go-to gift for anyone on my list is a nice jar of their honey and a couple pounds of their amazing garlic. An easy gift that supports local farmers (and great friends) and is always a hit!
(Tried to post a comment yesterday but it led me to an error page- sorry if I’ve posted twice!)

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Ruth

I get the most glee from giving a gift card to an independent bookstore in the recipient’s town! I’ve had such lovely experiences corresponding with the booksellers, and my friends/family can pick out exactly what they want in the coziest settings. It’s just the best.

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Emily

I always give books as kid presents. I am continually shocked by how few classics people have (outside of Goodnight Moon). Make way for ducklings is a favorite, as is caps for sale and Madeleine. I think good local coffee is an easy but thoughtful one for coworkers and neighbors. Thanks for the great ideas here!

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Julie Rosenthal

I love the tea towels and zipper bags (and pretty much everything else) from Erin Flett Home. Her hand printed and sewn designs are so vibrant and fun, and at a very reasonable price point for such high quality.

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The Messy Headed Momma

I, too, have not succumbed to the InstaPot craze, but if DALS makes it work, I might just give it a whirl. I’ll be watching/reading!

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Cay Tolson

This year’s go-to gift: reusable metal straw with a tiny cleaning wand and carry case so you can throw it in your bag! All my co-workers are getting one. There are lots to choose from on Amazon. Giving it along with a Starbucks or Dunkin gift card.

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Kathy C

My go-to gift for kiddos is a doll from Cuddle + Kind. The dolls are adorable and for every purchase, 10 meals go to someone in need. Win win!

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Bevin Wallace

My teenage daughter has been eyeing that sloth mug! Although I beg to differ about the hot chocolate. I’m sure the Scharfenberger cocoa is amazing, however have you ever tried Williams-Sonoma’s? It’s made from Guittard chocolate shavings, not powder, and — take it from a serious, Colorado-dwelling hot cocoa lover — it is incredible. For adults, my favorite holiday gift is that hot cocoa with a bottle of peppermint schnapps — still my favorite wintertime treat.

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Sara

With all of the ordering and deliveries that come to the house, my boys were always more obsessed with the cardboard boxes than they were what was inside. This is one of my favorite finds for kids that love to build things and play with cardboard. From a company called Makedo, they have cardboard construction sets. They are little fasteners and screwdrivers and a child-safe cardboard saw for putting things together. Hours and hours of fun guaranteed. Ages 6+ https://www.make.do/collections/all-products

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Lisa Hathaway

I’ll be making carmels (Grandma’s spelling) this week to send with my gifts. This is a tradition in my family dating back to my great-grandmother. And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them. To make it even better, I inherited my grandmother’s plastic canvas “Carmel house” that always held her carmels so I get sentimental every time I fill it.

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Allison

My go-to gift for my parents and mother-in-law is a calendar made with photos of the grandchildren and themselves throughout the year. I usually use one of the online photo websites (like Shutterfly or Snapfish) and I love that they get to see the memories of the past year into the next year. It is also so cool to see how the kids grow!

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Dana

I used to live in Ann Arbor, and my favorite gift to both give and receive is anything from Zingerman’s (which as a bonus comes in a gorgeous printed cardboard box good for all your boxing needs). So many good options, but the Rueben Kit rules them all.

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Debi

My standard housewarming gift is a First Aid kit. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that someone got hurt (fill in the blank – fell, the knife slipped, sprained an ankle, etc) and I remembered the first aid kit you got us and it saved the day.

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Judy Herington

I love to give bacon samplers from nueskes! Cause who doesn’t love bacon. If I want to go all out I add my favorite pancake recipe and good maple syrup.

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Alyssa

Love these ideas!

We have a several lovely spice, tea and olive oil shops/stands in town and I love to get something for friends who wouldn’t buy them for themselves. Typically, people don’t buy the fancy pack of spices for themselves!

As for Austin, my mom and I were just there in October for a wedding! We loved Taco Deli (it’s a chain so there’s several), Amy’s ice cream (seriously, the BEST ice cream I’ve ever had), and the Farmacy. It’s an old pharmacy that was going to be torn down when the neighbors got together to keep it alive and running. They serve amazing farm to table food.

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Alice

*gasp* Those baking dishes are gorgeous!
My husband and I got married a few months ago, so our go-to gifts this year for everyone (and I mean everyone) have been framed wedding photos — the big family photos are my favorite. Although I am seriously considering getting my husband’s face printed on a giant fleece blanket and giving it to his dad. Someone talk me out of it!

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Nancy

Sadly, those Food52 towels have been out of stock for a few weeks. Maybe they’ll be back by spring for my birthday!

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Sherie MacKenzie

Loro-In Austin. It’s such a unique “Austin” sort of place; an asian smokehouse. It’s a collaboration between Aaron Franklin (Franklin’s BBQ) and Tyson Cole (Uchi); affordable, delicious, casual and PERFECT.

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Sarah B

For a host’s gift or for someone with a new baby or who is sick, I like to make a batch of cookie dough, scoop into cookie portions and put them in a freezer bag. They can have fresh cookies whenever they want – always a hit!

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Kimberly

We live in and love Austin. Not to be missed- the chance to leave your mark on Austin at the graffiti park, hopecampaign.org. Gospel brunch at Stubbs BBQ (book early to get a seat by the band), spinning under the Zilker Holiday tree, catching the sunset over Lake Travis at the Oasis, Skyspace at the University of Texas wheres sunrise and sunsets drift through the art installation. To eat- Elizabeth St Cafe and Trattoria Lisina where you can dine by one of the many Texas wineries. Enjoy.

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CK

My go to: homemade almond clusters from a melted down Trader Joes’s Pound Plus and almonds (sometimes throw in TJ’s dried cherries). Flaky sea salt on top or Sugar in the Raw. They look impressive but are so easy and inexpensive.

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rosemarie

I have 2 little boys…and I’m trying very hard to encourage my family to focus more on experiences rather than things so I’m getting my kids tickets to see a Monster Truck show along with pit passes to see the trucks and drivers up close before hand. I hope it is something they remember for a long time to come!

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Carrie

I love to give peanut brittle! That is my go-to. I just recently discovered an Olive oil shop near my house though, and I am excited to give a bottle of delish oil to my coworkers!

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Ellen Stewart-Klein

Austin – Mostly known for BBQ (are you doing the Franklin’s line? – its worth it) and Tex Mex – check out the Asian dining scene: Ramen Tatsuya, Uchi or Uchiko (great happy hour). Breakfast tacos – Veracruz. I highly recommend Launderette. And for a real outdoor dining experience and fabulous cocktails – Contigo.

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Kathy

My favorite gift these days is a Cork Pops wine opener. It’s a CO2 bottle opener. It is oddly fun and satisfying while reducing the risk of a cork splitting.

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Alyson

Jenny, I wanted to let you know how much I love your blog, and particularly your book How to Celebrate Everything. My mom was a first-rate celebrater when we were younger (and she still is; it just looks different now that we’re out of the house!). For Christmas this year I’m giving her a copy of the book, and I’m adding little notes with memories of traditions that she established in our family. I’m so excited to give it to her and have her read your book!

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Jenny

Thank you Alyson that means so much to me!!! Tell her to make the chocolate chip sour cream nut loaf first! 🙂

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Karen

So many fantastic ideas here 🙂 My go-to gift for kids is a book or gift card to the bookstore and a clip-on book light. Stealing some of the suggestions on here for the adults in my life!

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Mary

old/forever favorite gift: baking cinnamon rolls
new: blank comic books (for kids) w a fun pen

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Karla Hardersen

My go-to is a cheese board. We’ve given many -from Trader Joe’s olive wood board for $10 to beautiful homemade boards that my husband made. It’s perfect on its own, but you could also add the cheese knives or even a few cheeses!

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virginia

The problem with all these various gift guides is this: once published/posted, the items are invariably out of stock. Boo. Maybe not so much with books…

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Jenny

Virginia – The only thing sold out as far as I can tell is the gingerbread house, which, according to readers who were smarter than me, was a rip-off anyway and you should go to Trader Joe’s for the $10 version. 🙂
The Food52 towels should be back in stock tomorrow.

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Sonia

Do you have any recommendation for a good recipe journal ? My mother’s recipe are all in her head. I want her to jot down some of her lovely cooking. I thought I could gift her one and ask her to fill it up in her spare time 🙂

Thanks.

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Hanna Merkley

Hi Jenny! Thanks for the list – love your picks yet again! I am a regular giver of books…but kids love these games too:
Busytown Board Game: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/toys/richard-scarry-busy-town-game/810558010174-item.html
Rush Hour: https://www.thinkfun.com/products/rush-hour/
This year my kids and I are making a little treat for their friends: ‘Snowman Poop’, as they like to call it! We make the ‘Meringue Kisses’ from ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and substitute 1/4 tsp of almond extract with 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract. Yum!

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Jane

Those are great suggestions! My favorite go-to hostess gift is a giant amaryllis bulb that is available only seasonally at Trader Joe’s. Under $10 and the giftee does not have to have a green thumb or have a special container. It is encased in wax and does not require ANY watering! I don’t know how it does it, but it grows into a big beautiful flower!

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Mona Davies

Best gifts are anything homemade. I’ve given rosemary walnuts, fudge, cranberry liqueur. A huge hit is my Night Before Christmas Cinnamon Rolls, which are frozen before the second rise, then sit on the counter all night to be baked on Christmas morning, then glazed with the enclosed frosting.

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aimee

I love to cook for my friends but my new hobby is making soap. I pour the batter into a silicone loaf pan, wait a day, cut them into slices and gift them. Best thing is they smell divine, make my basement smell great and I always have a gift ready.

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Jill

Books, always books. Something I loved and think the recipient will love. Even if they don’t, it’s something to talk about.

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Lizzie

I’ve been reading this blog since long before my kids were born, but now that I’m a mom I’m particularly excited to check out How To Celebrate Everything!

My go-to gift is homemade caramels – I think I originally based my recipe on Martha Stewart’s but it makes a TON of candies, can be modified to a million different flavors (orange-espresso is my favorite… or maybe milk stout and dark chocolate?), and is relatively foolproof (uses some corn syrup so you don’t accidentally turn the whole thing into a grainy brick of wasted sugar).

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Sarah

These are adorable, Katherine! I’ve already finished my shopping but adding to my list of gift ideas. Thanks!!

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Megan

I’m loving the new cookbook “Kindness & Salt” as a simple gift that so many friends and family would enjoy 🙂

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Stacey

Thank you for this list! I got my fam the puzzle because I loved the images and they love doing puzzles! And the stickers inspired me to give them each unique socks from Notes to Self socks (https://www.notestoself.com/).
Finally, I always love Trader Joe’s seasonal items. I stock up on favorite cookies, chocolates, teas, gift boxes and use them during the holidays and throughout the year.

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Brooke

A cozy oversized blanket to cuddle with on the couch is never a bad gift IMO and always will get a lot of use!

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Hillary

My go-to for homemade at the holidays is granola. It is a nice change from all the cookies.

For store bought, I am very practical and will always give a Target gift card. Who can’t use a Target gift card?!

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Carolee

My best go to gift is various flavors of extra virgin olive oil from a specialty store in my town called The Olive Cellar. The oils are put in really nice looking dark bottles and they all taste so wonderful. I like to give and receive this as a gift!

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Jenny

For kids- books, always books! Blueberries for Sal, Madeline, and The Gruffalo are a few favorites. Also Water Wow books for toddlers/preschoolers, and stickers, particularly the puffy, reuseable ones- small, universally-appealing activities that kids can do on their own, thereby giving the parents a moment of peace to enjoy their go-to gift: a loaf of my husband’s aunt’s friend’s incredible banana bread, wrapped in a pretty tea towel, and a coffee shop gift card. Happy holidays to you and yours!

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Michaela

Go-to gift for my parents, brother, and sister is a family adventure! It can be small–like a knife skills class at the nearby cooking school. Or it can be big, like last year when I planned a 4-day RV trip to the Santa Cruz redwoods! I loved seeing their faces as we walked out of the house to see the RV (borrowed from family friends) with a big red bow on it.

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Avery

I love giving books! I used to work in an independent bookstore and there’s something so personal about choosing a book to gift someone.Whether it be a cookbook, graphic novel, work of fiction or children’s book, there’s a book for everyone on your list.

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Claire

I think any kind of homemade food is a great gift- sourdough bread has been out favorite this past year, but people love anything you make really!

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Elizabeth

Ohhh…love this! I’ve found that Zeel’s in-home couples massages work realllly well, with a bottle of wine and gift card for delivery from a fancier restaurant for parents of young children. It makes for a very relaxing date night in after putting the kids to bed that feels like a splurge but doesn’t require the babysitter or even getting dressed if you don’t want. For hosts, a nice bottle of wine and meat/cheese platter or fancy chocolate. Plus, a big bag of ice that hasn’t been requested (what party host doesn’t need another bag of ice half through the party when everyone has had one too many cocktails to drive?) Favorite stocking stuffer: definitely phone chargers.

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Kate

My husband is a great cook. We watched Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix and he was jealous of Samin Nosrat’s salt dish. So this Christmas, he is getting a salt dish (pinch bowl? salt cellar?)

There are so many beautiful ones for under $20. This and a small package of Maldon sea salt might make a good gift?

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Briana Vowels

My go to gift this year are sheet masks. They are having such a moment right now, so I figured even the non beauty savvy people on my list will be excited to try. There is so much variety in what they do, plus they are fun for kids and adults. Got lip masks for co-workers, a variety of the full face ones for my cousins and aunts, a gold one for my mom, and bubble masks (that look like superheros masks and animals) for the tweens. Single use, disposable and fun for Instastories.
Last year I made a big batch of Everything Bagel Spice and the year before that I made homemade Vanilla extract. Both went over well, but the vanilla takes a year to brew so you have to think ahead… although it was great to have next years Christmas locked down in January!

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Katherine

This year my go-to gift has been a copy of the QUESO! cookbook by Lisa Fain. The history in the cookbook is so interesting and every recipe I’ve tried gets rave reviews. My friends in Texas love receiving it because all anyone here wants to eat is Torchy’s queso, forever; my out-of-state friends love it because there’s no good queso north of the Texas border. A fun inclusion could be some harder-to-find dried chiles to help get their first batch started.

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Kelly

I love your ideas! They are wonderful!! I like to attempt to make something small and easy for gifts as well. For my siblings, I am taking our favorite cookie recipe (that we happen to always have at Christmas) and having the original index card printed on fabric. I have bought one yard of fabric and it will make 4 dish towels to give away…..

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Angela

My go to holiday gift is homemade scones – I make the scones and freeze them so that friends and neighbors can enjoy hot, homemade scones on Christmas morning. In lieu of baking, I just place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they freeze up, I wrap in parchment and place in a ziplock bag. I deliver right before Christmas with extra parchment for baking and a note with heating instructions!
I found this recipe years ago in everyday food – and it’s a winner! Man, I miss that magazine!

https://www.marthastewart.com/317925/cranberry-orange-scones

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Anna

My go-to for all our neighbor friends and my team at work is a bunch of homemade frozen cookie dough balls. I use the smitten kitchen salted chocolate chunk recipe, which freeze really well and bake up great without needing to thaw. I also keep a giant bag in my own freezer 🙂

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Karen Benson

if it must be a gift card then a local independent bookstore makes a great, suit anyone gift. We are lucky enough to have one in our little city. Non gift cards – family puzzles (full disclosure – we only seem to do them around winter break but it makes each year’s family puzzling even more special as time flies by) or a game of battleship – works for most ages. I also love sketchbooks and blank journals for most ages.

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Heidi Himmel

My go to giftbis scratch tickets. Everyone loves a scratch ticket! My uncle won $1,000 one year.

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Sara

I always try to give something Homemade. This year it’s homemade jam + a box of Fisher Original Fair Scone mix (previous years we’ve given homemade tomatillo salsa, pickles,etc).

I also like to gift mini-poinsettias from Trader Joe’s. They’re $3.99 and so cute.

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Grace

My go-to gift is Mark Bitmans How To Cook Everything. It’s the perfect gift for friends who are getting married, buying a home or seasoned chefs who could just use some variations on the old classics!

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Julie

Here in northeastern Connecticut, we have lots of locals who tap and make maple syrup. It can be pricey so it’s not something people always buy for themselves. A jug of it goes a long way as a sweetener in recipes, topping for pancakes and waffles, or a treat when stirred into warm milk. Syrup makes a lovely gift!

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