For those of us who love cooking and gathering, this Christmas might feel weird and off and not exactly depressing, because there is joy to be found for sure, but missing some of the connection that made these days special. Holiday parties, cookie making with Nana, friend get togethers, the spirit of hospitality was so easy to roll into and I am definitely missing it. Still, the call of winter to turn inward and get cozy and keep things simple is a siren song, and finally we have a December where we can answer it.
So consider this post a reminder that we WILL host parties and bbqs and birthday gatherings and neighborhood Christmas parties again someday soon. And in the meantime we can all find joy in our homes through cooking. Even if it is for much less people than usual.
- A Tamis – I just read about this in Mark Bittman’s newsletter where he called this the single most useful tool in his kitchen. As he listed all the ways this round curved mesh bowl/strainer can be used I thought of so many more and I put it in my amazon cart. He admitted that it took him a while to use it after he bought it, and he went through countless tools that broke along the way before he has been going strong with this $10-15 beauty. Dusting a whole cake top at once, cleaning freshly picked berries, rinsing beans and rice, and having the silkiest sauces are all the ways I know I will use this in my kitchen.
- Old Navy Tartan Plaid Masks – Oh so cute.
- Dumpling Making Kit: My best friend is getting this for her husband who loves pirogies. I am loving that it comes with everything you need for the price of 3-4 take out orders of dumplings. If you want to start a little smaller there is also this kit for $14.90.
- Galaxy Chocolate Croissants from Williams Sonoma – Food items can be so expensive, but when you look at the craftsmanship in the video of the croissant making process (scroll down under the picture) it is worth having these beauties in the freezer for Christmas or New Year’s morning.
- These Christmas tree candles from Crate and Barrel are so pretty, and would make a great hostess gift or just splurge for your own Christmas table since you are probably the host this year.
- Bread Crumbs by Alexandra Stafford – I love Alexandra from Alexandra’s Kitchen – her food, her voice in her newsletters, her economy in the kitchen as seen from her cookbook Bread Crumbs. Using up every part of those beautiful sour dough loaves we made this year. It’s a commemoration of 2020 if there ever was one.
- Online Cooking Classes – I am so excited about this. I just got these cooking classes as an early Christmas present from YesChef.me – they are basically the chefs from the Netflix Documentary Chef’s Table on your computer, teaching you dishes. My husband and I drooled while we watched Nancy Silverton make a peppercorn steak with her sous chef before we went to bed. It’s an investment at around $100 but think of how many nice dinners you won’t be going out for this winter, and just make one or twelve at home.
- The Kitchn has an article about this amazing direct to consumer coffee company from filmmaker Sarah Nguyen. A great gift for coffee lovers and you support 4th generation Vietnamese farmers and women owned businesses. And it is good coffee.
- Blue Elephant Thai Simmer Sauces – I splurged on these simmer sauces from a gourmet market and our babysitter who has traveled all over the world (her dad runs a shoe factory in Vietnam) said these are the real deal. I tried them and they were SO good. We don’t have a great Thai take out place near us so this is the next best thing.
- William Sonoma’s Whirly Pop Popcorn Maker is much beloved by my Chicago cousins. It would go great with some popcorn and seasonings and and hot cocoa to make a whole movie night gift. Plus it’s fun to say Whirly Pop.
- Personalized water bottles – I got all my kids these and I can’t wait for them to open them!
- Also we love gifts that are simple and homemade. I have made Christmas Biscotti in the past an it is very easy, and looks so special and festive. I am going to make another batch of my chocolate sauce for all the wonderful people in our world.
- I am a huge tea drinker, and I think of Forte tea as synonymous with luxury since it is often at spas and fancy places. I just found their Tea Tree and their Tea Steeps, which is basically a treat that melts over hot tea. Love this and can just imagine the clanging and noise disappearing as I watch it get soft over my tea.
I hope that you find something you love here, and that your Advent is full of pockets of peace & quiet & yummy treats.
Happy Shopping! xoxo Katie