Once again, I’ve decided to post my annual list of Festive Finds early this year, as shipping may still take a bit longer. As always, these are just some personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products or compensated me in any way, though I may earn a small commission from Amazon sales. Photos used are from the vendors. And for more gift ideas, check out my Amazon store.
My particular area of expertise is the kitchen, so let me offer up some cook’s tools that make great gifts. Level up sheet cakes, slab pies and any roasting project with this oven pan from Our Place (which actually goes on the stove too). Every cook needs good knives and for someone just starting out in the kitchen or an old hand, this santoku knife from Made In is a great gift, particularly if you get it engraved! Finamill’s battery operated spice grinder is a great tool for whole spices and peppercorns, like the amazing spice collectionsfrom Diaspora Co spices.
Plan some fabulous pasta dinners with a variety of pastas from Scratch Pasta Co.These Jacobsen disco di sale are salt tablets that perfectly season a pot of pasta cooking water. Le Creuset’s 5.25 quart deep oven is ideal for stove-to-table spaghetti night. And for spectacular service, this Ben & Lael copper pasta server is an heirloom worthy piece. My favorite new kitchen gadget is this direct from Italy cheese grater spoon, which keeps the parmesan from going everywhere but the pasta.
Create a family or friend heirloom by having a favorite handwritten recipe etched on a wooden serving board. It’s practical and pretty enough for display. This set of cheese knives made of paperstone look slick on a cheeseboard, especially because you can write the name of the cheese right on the server. Country ham is a great addition to any charcuteries board and I love Lady Edison slices. Make your takeout fancy with the appropriate with these amusing linen napkins.
In the South, the New Year has to start out with a New Year’s day feast of field peas and greens for luck. This kit from Marsh Hen Mill includes peas and rice for perfect hoppin’ john. Wear your luck on your sleeve with this collards and cornbread t-shirt from the Bitter Southerner, and while you’re on the site grab a black-eyed pea tea towel. A Castaway carbon steel skillet is perfect for cornbread or sautéing greens. Sweet potato hoisin sauce from Keepwell is a surprising treat for adventurous eaters (check out their vinegars and sauces too).
Estelle Glass’s gorgeous decanter will make any bar set-up elegant. I have the most festive holiday bar thanks to these wreath tumblers. For the serious mixologist, this canvas crushed ice bag set makes perfect ice for craft cocktails. Take your cocktails on the road in style with this sophisticated waxed cotton cooler bag. Serve up a fantastic gin and tonic with Wonderbird Spirit’s Magnolia Gin, a personal favorite of mine (shipping may be restricted).
Let the foodie in your life wear their love on their sleeve – literally! Start with a high fashion market bag(heehee). Let for their love of spaghetti go to their head! For the fashionista, how about this cheesy silk scarf? If the whole family goes to sleep dreaming about breakfast, kit them out in these fun pajamas. The hostess with the mostess will charm in this luxurious fig and pomegranate kaftan.
For the master chef or someone just starting out, this leather bound edition of the Joy of Cooking will be a lasting gift. I love this salad dresser – a grating surface on the bottom for garlic makes quick work of a simple dressing that serves and pours from a beautiful vessel. This set of a comal and masa harina for making fresh tortillas is a great gift for the adventurous cook. Gorgeous vintage vegetable print napkins will make anyone want to cook a meal to serve at the table. An artfully monogrammed serving platter is beautiful and imminently useful.
Stocking stuffers, holiday happies, hostess gifts, whatever you call them, here a few fun little gifts. How about a silly card that includes everything you need to make a little cake? Instacake Cards can be mailed directly to your recipient or buy some to hand out yourself. Indulge in the sweetest way possible with Sweet Olive Soap Works praline body scrub. Jazz up the everyday with these brightly colored Peugeot salt and pepper mills from Great Jones. These cotton aprons come in many patterns, kid and adult sizes and matching oven mitts and can be personalized with a leather tab. I think this floral wood board looks as good propped up on the counter as it does as a serving piece.
Of course, the best gift is giving to others, so consider donations to organizations doing great work in these crazy times. Feeding America supports a network of food banks across the country. Click here to find your local food bank, or donate directly here. The Lee Initiative, founded by Chef Edward Lee, has a restaurant worker relief fund. Chef Chris Sheppard’s Southern Smoke Foundation has turned its efforts to relief for food and beverage workers. World Central Kitchen created by Chef Jose Andres provides meals for those in need and jobs for restaurant workers, in addition to their regular mission of feeding people during natural disasters and emergencies.