Patricia Weigel
December 10, 2010

Ahh, the holidays. Nothing says Feliz Navidad like frenzied shoppers snatching the best deals with no rhyme or reason to their madness. A bacon press in the shape of a pig for Aunt Sally. No matter she is a vegetarian—it’s on sale! How about a set of grill tools for Dad? It may be a blizzard outside right now, but in six months it should start to warm up. And for a ten-year-old cousin? Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking—hey, give what you would like to receive.

I wish I could say I am innocent of these very holiday injustices--okay, maybe not the bacon press--but, that would be a false claim. Fortunately, as I have become older and wiser, I have realized the importance of thoughtfulness when it comes to gift buying. With that in mind, here are a few of my "thoughtful" gift recommendations.  

Lindsay Olives' hand-made olive branch wreaths are a beautiful and frangrant gift. 

 

Molcajete
Look no further if you have a flight-hopping, southwestern-food-eating, hostess-with-the-mostess on your hands. Not only is this molcajete step one in preparing the world’s best guac, but it’s a conversation starter to boot. Mine sits on the counter of our kitchen and hungry diners anxious to eat love to make small talk by enquiring as to its authenticity. Typically, I tell them to hop on over to the nearest Williams-Sonoma but, for particularly hounding kitchen-dwellers I must admit, I have forayed into tales of grandeur. It serves them right. Didn’t their mother ever teach them not to pester the cook?
Price: $50
Shop: Williams-Sonoma 

Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer
This is a favorite gift of a certain someone I know who likes to plot—or in his eyes, encourage—his mother to make him apple pies daily, if possible. Maybe that is a little selfish but, to his credit, she loves making those pies. Around the holidays I am sure many kitchens that are home to “the world’s greatest apple pie” would appreciate the handiness and efficiency of this gadget.
Price: $32
Shop: The Pampered Chef 

Real Cajun by Donald Link
This is by no means a healthy choice. Wag that finger at me all you like, but the food in this book is darn good. No matter if you are gifting this above or below the Mason Dixon, this cookbook will be adored by all. In addition to mouth-watering recipes, Donald Link shares stories from his childhood in Louisiana and other no-less-entertaining tales.
Price: $35
Shop: Barnes & Noble 

Collapsible Bag or Market Basket
Everyone is jumping aboard the eco-train these days. Even for someone who is a bit stubborn when it comes to chugging along with the rest of the world, this gift will be well-received. Personally, I would slap a monogram on it, tie the handles together in a big organza bow, and stuff it with my favorite holiday treats. Again, that’s just me.
Price: $40
Shop: Amazon.com

Anthropologie Apron
These super feminine aprons are too cute to handle. Just make sure you gift this to someone who is not averse to frills and bows. I like to put mine on just before guests arrive so they assume I always look that put-together. Little do they know there was flour flying and grease splattering just 20-minutes earlier. My grandmothers taught me that a gracious hostess never lets them see you sweat!
Price: $24-$38
Shop: Anthropologie

Hamilton Beach BrewStation Coffeemaker
Say adieu to the smell of burning coffee. This nifty coffee maker has done away with the obnoxious clingity, clangity carafe that never seems to fit properly on the burner. The Joe is brewed inside the machine and is dispensed one cup at a time with no spillage or dripage, making this the ideal gift for the dinner-party host in your group. Note: This is not a one-cup brew system. No need to wait. Coffee is kept warm for hours and, with this busy holiday season upon us, caffeine should always be at the ready.
Price: $30-$70
Shop: Hamilton Beach

Still haven't found what you are looking for? To see more great gift ideas check out our Shopping Guide. From gift wines to grinders and everything in between, we have a perfect gift for everyone on your list.  

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