Every year I promise myself I'm going to be finished with my Christmas shopping by early December. But every December 22, I'm fighting traffic at the local mall to pick up the last-minute items I've put off purchasing until it's almost too late.
If you find yourself in that same boat, you may be looking for some no-fail purchases for friends, family, neighbors, customers, or the local community volunteer who needs a bit of praise for all the work she does for everyone. We taste tested more than 40 products to find the best of the best at five stores: Williams-Sonoma, Target, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Sur La Table. Here, our verdicts: