The holidays mean holiday parties, family, friends, neighbors and gifts – loads of gifts. The gift part can get a little exhausting to be perfectly honest. I love finding the perfect gift for a person for their birthday, but when it comes to Christmas it’s too many and my mind goes into overload. My goal is to give a gift the recipient will enjoy and ideally that they can’t get where they are or won’t indulge in for themselves. Over the years, I’ve stumbled upon some sure-fire winners. Here they are to help you out and get your own creative juices flowing:
Theo’s Chocolate $3.25+: Theo’s Chocolate is the “only organic, fair-trade, bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the US” and I’m proud to say it’s right here in Seattle – Fremont to be exact. Now, I have to warn you, once you have Theo’s you never go back. This is serious chocolate. My favorites are the Hazelnut Crunch, Chai and Dark Chocolate Nib Bars. My husband loves the Theo Jane Goodall Dark Chocolate bars (70% cacao). Vegan confections are available as are treats like Big Daddy Peanut Butter and sipping chocolate. These make great stocking stuffers, or tie up a few bars for a hostess or office-mate gift.
Sweet Beauty Organic Chocolate Spa Treatments $5.50+: Owner Lisa Francoise whips up lotions, scrubs, lip balms and baby products that are so natural, you or your child, could eat them and be none the worse for it. My year-round favorite is the Pot de Creme body creme ($20), but I’m loving the white chocolate candy cane line for the holidays (I’m using the lip balm as I write). Other favorite scents are mojito and tangerine truffle. The lip balms make great stocking stuffers, the lotions make luxurious hostess and office-mate gifts and Lisa has a selection of gift sets that will make anyone on your list feel like a queen. I’ve already picked up one of these for a princess on my list.
Chukar Cherries $9.75+: For the chocolate covered cherry lovers you know, nothing beats Chukar’s. No preservatives, no sulfates, no trans fat. Just good old-fashioned natural ingredients like Washington cherries and nuts covered in milk, dark or white chocolate.
Cougar Gold Cheese $27: Cougar Gold cheese is made at the Washington State Creamery and is available in retail stores in the Washington area and online. It comes packed in – a can. The original flavor is bar none the best sharp, dry cheddar I have ever tasted (and I am a cheese devotee). My brother-in-law has used his in his famous Minnesota Juicy Lucy burgers. We use ours paired with local bread and salami for easy entertaining. It stands up well to Murphy Goode’s Snake Eyes Zinfandel.
Wine: Your favorite or theirs, wine is always appreciated. I like Murphy-Goode (disclosure, my bro-in-law is the winemaker) for really good wines at a good value. My favs? The Liar’s Dice ($21) and Snake Eyes ($35) zinfandels, the Murphy Ranch Malbec ($25), the Terra Lago Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) and the Fume ($12.50). For bubbly, Domaine Carneros Brut is a favorite ($26) as is Toad Hollow’s Risque. For Washington wines I like Delille Cellars (especially the D2 and the Chaleur Estate) and Abeja’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sensory Girly Indulgences: Candles, bath salts and bubbles, oh my! No girl on your list can resist a little pampering. Spoil her with a Seda France candle, luxurious bubble bath or some healing bath salts. My favorite online shopping site? Beauty Exclusive.
Homemade Gifts: Whether it be a hand-knit scarf or your famous apple pie, homemade gifts are always a hit. This time of year I make lots of cranberry chocolate chip, chocolate dream and molasses cookies to give and to share. Check out Carol’s recent posts for some great “Gifts from the Kitchen.”
Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!