I’ve decided to post my annual list of Festive Finds early this year, as I think we will be doing most of our holiday shopping online, and shipping may take a bit longer. And I’ve expanded my selection to include some gifts that aren’t for the kitchen. 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 check back tommorrow for my favorite food finds! And for more gift ideas, check out my Amazon store.
I’ve tried to highlight some small businesses here, and I urge you to support local in these difficult times. So many great stores and boutiques have curbside pick-up or local delivery. And think about restaurant gift cards for takeout, or gift cards from local businesses or salons.
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.
Anyone looking to experiment more in the kitchen will love the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker. I bought one on sale years ago and took a while to actually open the box, but now I love it. It takes steak to a whole new level. Cookware can be beautiful and practical and this Ruffoni pan with a stunning decorative finial is a stunner and easier to take care of than their spendy but lovely copper pieces. If you are picking up curbside food or delivering casseroles to friends and families, this casserole carrier makes an aluminum pan company-worthy, and you can even have them monogrammed. Right now, we could all use a little more Dolly, and she can be right in your kitchen with this cookie cutter kit. There is also a cookie mix and an apron for a perfect gift bundle. And as we are all spending a little more time in the kitchen, it seems right to have a practical and stylish apron, like this lovely, loose monogrammed linen piece.
We’ve all been in our houses a lot, which means more cleaning, so though I wouldn’t normally say all-purpose cleaner or dish soap makes a great gift, under current circumstances, I think Nest’s beautifully fragranced versions are a special treat. And while we are in the house, scent the air with wonderfully fragranced candles from Memphis’s Re+New+All, which provides jobs and training for formerly trafficked women. The Chestnut and Clove makes your house a cozy winter haven. They even offer a monthly subscription for the gift that keeps on giving. If you are shipping your holiday presents this year, put your smiling face on the package with this personalized photo wrapping paper since your recipients won’t see you in person.
If you are like me, the only entertaining I am doing is outside, in small groups of my bubble. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. The selection of fabulous monogrammed paper plates, cups and food containers from When I Was Your Age makes even canned cocktails on the porch fancy. The paper placemats from The Stationery Studio are the best I’ve come across. Lots of patterns and they are heavy weight paper. And I know I’ll be continuing to have my small, distanced social gatherings on the patio, so I’ll move to warm drinks served in monogrammed paper coffee cups. These acrylic cheese markers from Emily McCarthy are casual and fun (and reusable). There are three sets available so you can cover a large cheese spread. I’ve recommended these before, but in the current situation, I think monogrammed food picks are a great idea for shared platters.
Full disclosure – I’ve known Alex, the potter behind New Orleans’ Pots-a-Lot pretty much my whole life, so you’ve seen lots of his and his wife Cindy’s work in my cookbooks and on my blog. The classic bread bowl is my favorite piece and gift. It comes with a recipe for a delicious bread to be made and baked in the bowl, but I love it for dips and many other things. Memphis potter Melissa Bridgman is another favorite of mine and her positive affirmation cups will start your day in the right way. I’m slowly amassing a collection of these gorgeous copper serving pieces from Nashville metalsmith Ben and Lael. They make stunning gifts. Setting the table, even when it’s curbside pick-up, is a civilized habit during these strange times. Pomegranate Linens offers a wonderful POM gift box with a complete table setting for 4 in a variety of their lovely linens. You probably have some friends you haven’t seen in a while, so why not write them a hello note on these lovely Debi Vincent lemon cards. I’ve had days when the mail arriving has been the most exciting thing to happen!
I feel like self-care items are the best gifts this year, because – well, 2020. Calming dry mask from Waxing Kara is a soothing powder you mix with water for a relaxing treat. This gift set from Buff City Soap includes some of my favorites- shower oil, lotion bar and bath bomb in a variety of scents. I’m partial to lavender. I slather myself with Restoration Rose’s rose glow bath and body oil. It smells like walking through a rose garden. Send your squad these lovely spa kits from 1818 Farms, filled with natural pampering products.
And we could undoubtedly do with a bit more sleep. I love This Works line of sleep products, particularly the pillow sprays and sleep cocoon lotion which wrap you up in lavender and chamomile. And a comfortable bed is key, so let me preach to you about the best sheets ever from Comphy. I promise, you will love these sheets, they are the perfect blend of drapey and crisp and soooo soft. Seriously, these are gift worthy. And celebrate a good night’s sleep with this monogrammed champagne nightshirt. Plug in a Pura smart device, which scents your home constantly with different fragrances with an app that lets you control when and how long it runs and the intensity for each capsule. Fall asleep to LAFCO Chamomile and Lavender and wake up to Nest’s Grapefruit.
If you’ve got one of those hard to shop for, person who has everything types on your list, I got you covered. Weston Table sells wonderfully quirky fire extinguishers perfect for the kitchen counter, the grill or the fire pit. It looks like a vase, but it’s really a wireless charger and UV sanitizer for your phone. And here’s a useful gift – an all-in-one kitchen tool, like a swiss army knife for cooks. You can create your own gift box, be it food or spa or bar. And for the person who has everything – and I mean every other thing on the planet – how about a mink keychain holder for your hand sanitizer! 2020 is a strange year indeed.