No matter how prepared you think you are — or will be — each holiday season, there’s almost always one last person you forgot to buy for — or are stumped by.
My #shoplocal gift guide has a great array of items for nearly anyone on your list (including your impossible-to-buy-for father), but if your recipients aren’t local, or they don’t like ice cream (the horror), or heck, it’s just not their thing — we have the internet.
For your clumsy, wine-loving aunt
I have a (non-dishwasher-safe) version of this decanter and “glass,” and I was surprised to love it. Though some form of plastic, it feels fancier than most thanks to its ultra-thin lip. The box is all “put water in this!” and surely this would look awfully stealth on your guest room night table, but I like it both for easy water fill-ups on my desk as well as feeling fancy with wine on your concrete porch. You absolutely cannot break this, Paula.
This set comes with two wines glasses and the whole thing can go in her dishwasher.
Pair it with a bottle of Pennsylvania Cab Franc to say, “I get you,” or for the teetotaller, grab a Boxed Water Is Better from Provisions.
For the fancy foodie who already has everything cool
I’ve been writing about food and drink for more than 15 years, and I watch more Food Network than is possibly healthy. I’ve seen a lot – flavored salts, gadgets, syrups. When I saw this salt and grater set on another gift guide, I said, “Whoa.”
According to reviews, it’s pretty tiny, so keep that in mind, but this should please your favorite host or hostess. If you’re not sold on this, perhaps treat your favorite foodie to some fancy pocket-friendly salts — bonus points for a smoked version.
For your friend who really wants to make it himself
This countertop fermentation kit is pretty cool, and reCAP is a Pennsylvania company (Erie!). Extra fun — once they lose interest in fermenting their own pickles, these mason jar converter caps are good for anything. I’ll be cleaning up my bar cart this year by housing some booze in jars rather than their ugly bottles, and I have a handful of these caps in my cart.
For the host or hostess
Sure, everyone can bring a bottle of wine to dinner, but show up with this game and you’ll be the hit of the party (there also is a family edition). We like this game because it doesn’t take up much space, anyone can play, and lots of laughs are involved. Basically, the premise is saying silly phrases in a host of accents and the rest of the group has to guess who you are. No one has to be good at impressions to enjoy this.
For the wannabe home bartender
I really abhor pre-packaged cocktail-making sets. Though, yes, you actually do need a jigger (or other small, liquid measuring device) and strainer, I’ve always thought cocktail spoons were stupid, the knife will not cut, and you should own a wine key, period, and not anything else to open wine (Tip: Buy a few and keep them in every bag, one in your car, one in the kitchen).
However, I forget why I was turned around on cocktail spoons, but something did it though it still didn’t seem worth buying. What I like about these is that they are multipurpose. Reusable straws doubling as cocktail spoons? OK, now you got me! AND they come with their own cleaning utensil – a win.
For your sister/best friend
We don’t often talk beauty here (should we? I’d love to dish), but I bought my sister AND myself a pack of Tony Moly sheet masks last year. The goal was to FaceTime once a week and do the masks together, but take two sisters who run their own businesses, and well, we didn’t. But she loves the sheet masks! They’re fun and easy and lazy (you don’t even have to rinse your face afterward).
For your workout BFF or other gym rat
I have, use, love and purchase these. Imagine you’re working out Saturday morning at Next Step sweating your cojones off, but you want to join the rest of the crew at the Market afterward. REAL LIFE, PEOPLE. These help when you’re chatting with the folks who actually showered.
Pair with a bkr glass water bottle (dishwasher safe!). I have two of these, and I can’t explain it, but I really do love drinking water out of it more than other bottles.
For the Netflix/Prime binger
I’m a proponent of the air popper, I’ll tell anyone. The oldest appliance I own is the Breville popcorn air popper my mom got for me when I was in college. Yes, it does spark a little when you unplug it.
By now you know microwave popcorn is bad for you, and did you ever notice it leaves kind of weird coating on your teeth? I know air popping isn’t for everyone (even I sometimes don’t feel like getting the machine out), so this popper combines the ease of the microwave and pops the kernels of your choice with you know, micro waves.
Pair with Popped Culture kernels (available at Broad Street Market) and some salts or spices — I like Calicutts Fire Salt or, for the foodie, Sumac.
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