“Stuffing Your Stocking & Stuffing Your Face” — Food Gifting Guide 2010

by Rachel on December 7, 2010

When it comes to holiday gifts, I’m a big fan of all things related to eating. I mean, holidays and food just go hand in hand.


Whether your person is a chef, a baker, or just an eater and drinker, I recommend using a simple formula:

[(Something Useful)(XY) + Something Edible] x So Them = The Best Food-Related Gift Ever.

In this equation, X = Technologically Advanced. It doesn’t have to be crazy advanced, like cookies that bake themselves, but it should be something kinda cool — hopefully something she has never seen before.

Y = Aesthetically Pleasing. Whether it’s adorable, chic, or the same exact color as his living room, it should be something you know will catch his eye.

When it comes to the Something Edible, the sky is the limit! It can be a jar filled with ingredients for cookies or it can be gourmet beer and pretzel caramels. The point is to find something that is (So Them).

Now, it’s up to you whether you blow your cash wad on the first part of the equation (Something Useful) or the second part of the equation (Something Edible). I recommend that you choose one thing to invest in and then go cheap on the other.

So, if you want to throw your efforts into the S.U., you should pick out the best kitchen gadget that still fits your budget. This is the main part of your gift, so you’re going to want to make it good. Whether it’s a $20 cast-iron skillet or a $200 stand mixer, make it sexy and useful!

Once you choose your S.U., you need something cheap for S.E. I think you should only spend a very small portion of your budget on the minor gift. You can find plenty of cheap options in either case, so you just need to get creative with making the minor gift look cute/fun/classy/expensive/cool.

Ned some examples? OK!

If the S.U. is the main part of your gift, try…

A vintage butter dish + a block of Irish Kerrygold butter.

The perfect lasagna pan + a jar of homemade tomato sauce.

A milk vibrator + a mini bag of coffee beans.

A grill thermometer + a homemade spice rub.

A toddy cold coffee maker + mini bottles of Kahlua.

A new apron + a stacking cooling rack (I bought this for my mom for Christmas and already sent it to her, because I know she’ll be making a ton of her perfect sugar cookies and will need the extra space!)

Mustached beer glasses + a six pack of something tasty.

Easy, right? And, of course, you should tie up the S.E. with some festive ribbon or put it in a cute container to make it more festive and therefore impressive.

If, on the other hand, you’re going to make the S.E. the main part of your gift, you should think “dish” or “small tool” for your your S.U. In this case, many times both the S.E. and the S.U. are pretty reasonably-priced, making for an economical gift overall!

If you go this route, you could do…

Williams-Sonoma gingerbread cookie mix + a  silicone rolling pin.

Homemade recipe of your choice + handmade tea towels.

A delicious block of cheese (Cracker Barrel cheddar is the bomb if you’re on a budget) + homemade beer bread (it costs like $2 a loaf) + a state-shaped cutting board.

In general, I’m a big fan of ingredients for the S.E. as opposed to actual finished baked goods. With ingredients, the recipient has the option of making it later. Nothing like being hungry in January and finding a jar of soup mix in your pantry to make your day! But with baked goods, she has to eat them before they go bad — and with so many treats floating around right now, she just might not appreciate the treat as much.

Oh, and don’t forget to try cookbooks in this equation! I recommend…

So Easy placed in a glass baking dish, topped with a pretty potholder, and tied with ribbon.

Martha Stewart’s Cooking School + a gift card to K-mart or Macy’s to buy any of her ten million gadgets.

Cook to Bang + two wine glasses + classy place mats.

You know I hate all things related to math, but this formula makes gifting so incredibly easy and spot-on, it’s hard to refuse it. And, I mean, mustached beer glasses? WATCH OUT.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michele @ Healthy Cultivations December 7, 2010 at 9:26 am

I also saw that wretched, carnivorous manger scene this week. Borders on disturbing, doesn’t it? At the same time, I find it extremely funny.


2 Katie December 7, 2010 at 9:30 am

My stepdad is so tough to shop for because he pretty much has everything (an outdoor gear loving pack rat). He just shaved off his mustache of 20 years though and loves beer- mustached beer glasses? Thanks!!


3 Alison December 7, 2010 at 9:31 am

Iowa cutting board! Holler! :)


4 Cyndie December 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

I want those mustache beer glasses.


5 angela December 7, 2010 at 9:58 am

I seriously want that lasagna pan! Making lasagna for Christmas. ;)


6 Diane December 7, 2010 at 10:00 am

My BFF is a wannabe Food Network Star and lover of all things retro. Every year, I throw in some vintage cookbooks (“Better Homes and Gardens” ones are the best!) with her gift. You can find them practically free at most thrift stores, and they’re a fantastic mix of hilarious (they loved their jell-o molds in the 60s, didn’t they?) and practical (the recipes are all-time classics, minus the jell-o.) Super cheap and fun.

One year, when we were both very broke, we only exchanged books. She got vintage cookbooks. I got a bunch of gay erotica, courtesy of her internship at an LGBT publishing house the previous summer. On the way home from her house, I got pulled over for running a red light. Nothing like talking a cop out of a ticket while “Frat Sex II” sits in the passenger seat.


7 Julia December 7, 2010 at 10:01 am

I legitimately may buy those mustache beer glasses for my brothers, who, upon hearing I wanted to take a nice family picture at Christmas this year because everyone will be home, decided to start growing mustaches to be funny. Also, I found these mustache drink markers on Amazon and they look fun too: http://www.amazon.com/FlatLab-Design-PS-8-STACHE-8PACK/dp/B0042ZPJ46/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291733593&sr=1-1-fkmr2


8 Stephanie December 7, 2010 at 10:03 am

Admittedly I was thrown off by the odd meat nativity scene in the beginning of this post ha-ha

Fantastic gift ideas! I love how you think outside the box! I need to start gift shopping so this has definitely got my wheels turning!


9 shelby December 7, 2010 at 10:33 am

Okay, we need the story on the bacon Jesus. Did you make it? If so, how? I can’t stop looking at it.


10 Jennifer December 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I love the cutting board! I think I need a New Jersey shaped one NOW!

Wait…I live in Ala. Guess I can’t get the Jersey girl outta me!

Oh, and I should be shopping for other people, not myself.


11 Elina (Russian Bites) December 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm

These are fantastic gift ideas! I love etsy – they have so many unique gifts and you’re supporting small business owners. I have a similar equation for my gifts ;)


12 Elina (Russian Bites) December 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Dude, I think the mustache glasses are sold out because of you. Dang!


13 Rachel December 8, 2010 at 10:21 am
14 Lauren at KeepItSweet December 7, 2010 at 3:40 pm

i love your ideas, so creative! great way to combine homemade + “real” gift


15 Margaret December 8, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Many time lurker, first time poster! I LOVE your gift ideas! Although I try to do interesting and creative stuff, I kind of found myself in need of some inspiration this year. Thanks!! And for another big thanks to you – after re-reading your post about why everyone should have a blog, I started my own today. And referenced it back to your post of course!


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