It’s officially the time of year when lists begin to take over your life. From sprawling grocery laden post-its containing oodles of eggnog and pounds of flour and butter to harried to-dos scrawled on the back of cocktail napkins reminding you to tip the concierge and get your roots touched up — these litte scraps of paper will become the driving force of your day for the next four weeks.
I can deal with the holiday cards, the planning, and the cooking but I definitely get bogged down in the gift-giving. Every single top 5, 37, and 104 item gift list that appears in my inbox lately has been opened and scoured for unique present ideas, but honestly do your friends and family really need more quirky or over-the-top items to find places for in their homes? Sure those pickle-shaped bandaids and fortune cookie stenciled bowl are awfully cute but maybe they’d appreciate a gift with a bit more longevity and practicality? If so, then I’ve compiled a short list of some of the gifts I’ve received from very thoughtful folks in the past. These are all items that I use on a weekly or daily basis. After all, a good gift is used and not just displayed.
Why not start with my baby? My KitchenAid is my prized possession. It’s the workhorse of the kitchen and it has more than earned its place of honor. We’re serious besties and I would definitely cry if anything ever happened to her. If someone you know and love doesn’t have one of these yet (and you can afford to splurge) then this is the kitchen version of those annoying Lexus jingle commercials.
These are two fantastic cookbooks that always make me think of home, my grandmother, and those spiral bound cookbooks that well-meaning church clubs produced so frequently in the 1960’s. Marjorie Standish’s recipes are simple and classic and I find them to be a welcome escape from some of the crazy food and desserts that are so popular and therefore go viral today. You’d never see this lady wrapping bacon on red-velvet cake and deep frying it on a stick, but she does make a mean soft and chewy molasses cookie.
I love this cutting board like a fat kid loves cake. It’s my own attempt to be nostalgic (yet again) as my grandmother also has a piggy cutting board that I grew up seeing daily in her kitchen. My kitchen is so small now that the pig hangs off the counter when I’m trying to cook dinner, but I still use it even though I almost knock all of my carefully chopped vegetables onto the floor four or five times a night.
This bizarre looking contraption makes the BEST popcorn you’ve ever had. I’m dead serious. I gave away a huge number of kitchen gadgets when we moved to the West Coast. Not many gizmos made the cut but this did. That should tell you something all on its own.
I’ve been collecting these dishes for at least five years at this point and have 10 place settings now. I love using a rainbow of plates to set my table (when I used to have a dining room table that is). Fiestaware features so many colors that I’m certain you can find a set in your friend’s favorite hue. They’re also very hearty. They’ve survived a zillion moves and the only piece that ever broke was pushed off a counter by Dexter the cat.
This is a little bitter sweet for me. Last Christmas I received a gorgeous large and elegant pink depression glass pedestal cake stand from my aunt and uncle that I thoroughly adored. Unfortunately it arrived in California in 10,000 little bits (thanks movers). I keep hoping I’ll find another one like it one eBay but so far no luck. I still have one other pretty pink depression glass juicer though and it makes me smile every time I look at it. Perhaps you have a family member who might like to start a functional collection of their own? Don’t worry. Depression glass doesn’t just come in pink.
Super practical and one might even say boring, but this little blender rocks! It tames soup in a serious way. Just don’t try to mash potatoes with it because you’ll end up with potato glue. Oops! I do things wrong so you don’t have to!
So these are some of my favorite foodie Christmas gifts. What gift additions over the years have made an impact on your kitchen, cooking, and entertaining?