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Various items, including a cocotte, tin of spices, and colorful blanket, on top of an illustrated background.

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The Add to Cart Holiday Gift Guide

All the gifts guaranteed to delight during an unquestionably difficult year

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Just about every aspect of the winter holidays looks different this year, including the act of giving gifts. In a normal year, many of us would spend hours browsing shops done up for the season, sometimes waiting to be drawn in by the store windows with the most sparkle (either literal or figurative). We’d then bring our finds home to lovingly wrap them as Love Actually or the latest Vanessa Hudgens Netflix vehicle played in the background. Finally, they’d be put aside until it came time to present them to their recipient, when we could witness the joy our excellent taste would surely bring.

For better or worse, that last part isn’t as likely to happen, if it ever really did. And yet, gift giving seems all the more necessary for getting back some of that usual festive feeling during an unquestionably difficult year. If anything, there’s increased pressure to be thoughtful, to send the things that will bring some light, or at least delight, to what can feel like a relentlessly dark time. I’m hoping that you’ll find some of those things here.

This year, one-stop shops that specialize in sending the perfect item directly to your recipient will be especially useful: You’ll see on this list gift sets that offer the complete package, even if they’re arriving in a nondescript cardboard box. There are gifts here for the enthusiastic home cooks, those who never tired of the switch to home-cooked meals (or at least never showed it). For the restaurant obsessive, there are things to remind them of dining out before quarantine, and ways to support the food businesses that are struggling to make it through the pandemic. For the person who has taken pride in sprucing up their quarantine abode, there are objects that will make time spent at home more pleasant. Plus, you’ll find the most giftable food and drink items, along with the crowd-pleasing kitchen gear that’s no stranger to guides like this one.

Because giving back is important for many in 2020, we’ve also selected options that allocate proceeds to charitable causes. But if giving to others is a bigger part of your agenda this holiday season, Eater’s How to Help guide is an excellent place to start. Whatever your style may be, happy giving.


Price

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Type

For the Homebody Making the Best of It For Enthusiastic Quarantine Cooks The Can't-Go-Wrong Cult Favorites For the Thirsty (not that kind of thirsty) Keeping It Simple (gifts you can eat) For Restaurant Obsessives

Whiled Sunny Side Up puzzle

Whiled, a brand from Girls’ Night In founder Alisha Ramos, is a natural place to shop for the person doing their best to enjoy spending time at home. The brand’s debut line of puzzles includes this breakfast scene just waiting to be completed over a lazy weekend morning. $37

Haand cloudware nesting bowls

In the North Carolina company’s signature blue-and-white cloudware, this set of three handmade bowls works just as well for mixing and serving as it does for displaying fruit or anything else. $95

Estelle colored stemware

Will these hand-blown glasses from Estelle colored glass allow your giftee to see the particular shade of an orange wine or rosé? No. But the set of six in a variety of colors will make drinking even water a little bit more celebratory. $175

Heliograf fish-shaped light

This may look like a plastic soy sauce container, but it is in fact a lamp made of hand-blown glass. The debut product from Australian company Heliograf, the cheeky Light Soy is available in two options: a pendant light that hangs from the ceiling or a rechargeable table lamp. ~$360 USD

Graf Lantz Bierfilzl felt coasters

These wool felt coasters come in just about any color you could hope for, which means they’ll look perfectly nice scattered across dining room and living room surfaces. And for those who like to keep a tidier home, Graf Lantz also has leather trays designed to keep the coasters (or anything else) perfectly in place. From $24

Mau House oyster bottle opener

For the person who loves nothing more than oysters and a beer, this bronze bottle opener in the shape of an oyster shell is an unexpected — and handy — addition to their bar. $50

Face Vessel

Each of the faces on these (dishwasher-safe!) cups from glass artist Neal Drobnis is unique, just like whomever the lucky recipient may be. From $40

Superstitchous peach mini blanket

Whether it’s for dining out in the cold or hunkering down this winter, anyone can appreciate this cozy reminder of summertime fruit. $77

Boba tea mini fridge

LA-based Smoko puts the cutesy boba motif on all kinds of products (from slippers to pop sockets) but this mini fridge, perfect for storing skincare or keeping cans of Spindrift handy, is particularly delightful. $100

Le Country Store natural wine vinegar

At Le Country Store, wine buyer Philippe Essome imports small-batch vinegars made French natural wines. Pair one of the beautifully packaged bottles with one of the shop’s oils from the French countryside and send directly to your favorite Francophile cook. From $15

"In Bibi’s Kitchen" cookbook plus Spicewalla spices

Beloved spice brand Spicewalla is conveniently pairing In Bibi’s Kitchen, one of the most anticipated cookbooks of 2020, with some of the spices that the book highlights in earnest. Berbere, garam masala, and harissa will come in handy for recipes like Eritrean kitcha fit fit. $46

Earlywood flat saute spatulas

Recipe developer and cookbook author J. Kenji López-Alt recommends Earlywood’s flat saute spatulas, good for mixing, stirring, and even salad-serving. The Montana-based company makes the wooden cooking utensils in a range of sizes, but for the holidays, give a set: a small, medium, and large spatula in your choice of jatoba, Mexican ebony, hard maple, or blondwood. $39

BALMUDA The Toaster

This isn’t a typical toaster. The Japanese appliance uses steam to revive bread, pastries, pizza, and more, so you can enjoy the fruits of your baking labor for much longer. Plus, it looks good enough to be on constant display, key for someone spending a lot of time in the kitchen. $329

Living Steel 626 Loop bread knife

This is a splurge, made from Swedish carbon steel with a polished brass handle. But for the person who spends all their leisure hours perfecting loaves, there’s perhaps no better gift. $395

Smallhold mushroom grow kit

The most enthusiastic home cooks might also be thrilled to grow their own mushrooms. Smallhold makes that possible with kits for growing lion’s mane or blue oyster mushrooms, or you can opt for a two-month subscription for four mushroom varieties. From $34

Diaspora Co. X Tiipoi masala dabba

Spice company Diaspora Co. teamed up with product-design studio Tiipoi on this handmade brass masala dabba. Meant to be an heirloom piece, it comes with seven spices, all grown on family farms in India, and the option for custom engraving. $200

Staub x Food 52 cocotte

A Dutch oven or French cocotte is an essential piece of cookware, and one that anyone who doesn’t already have one will appreciate in this time of more frequent cooking. The muted sesame color is a new exclusive for Food52. $219

Fly by Jing, the Triple Threat

Fly By Jing’s Sichuan chile crisp is no stranger to lists like this one. This year, go big with the Triple Threat, which includes Jing Gao’s good-on-everything chile crisp along with her dumpling sauce and mala spice mix. $42

Great Jones Holy Sheet pan

The Great Jones Holy Sheet pan, beloved by cooking pros for its sturdy versatility as well as its striking blue color, now comes in a festive shade for the holidays: “broccoli.” $35

Cosori smart Wi-Fi air fryer

The air fryer is the cooking appliance of the moment. Send this one, which comes highly recommended by Eater social media manager and resident eater James Park, to the person looking for new ways to make fried chicken or even a Basque cheesecake. $120

The Original Baking Steel

In the pizza stone versus steel debate, much of the Eater staff votes steel for its durability and ability to retain heat, leading to a crispier crust. $89

Equal Parts essential pan

The direct-to-consumer brand makes cookware attractive enough to live on the stovetop, and the essential pan is so versatile that your recipient will want to keep it there. $95

Tilit x Une Femme host kit

Chef-endorsed apron brand Tilit is partnering with wine brand Une Femme for a hostess gift that works even if the host in question is welcoming guests via Zoom: a limited-edition apron paired with a piquette from the brand that celebrates female winemakers. A portion of proceeds will go to TreeSisters, an organization helping accelerate tropical reforestation. From $95

"Good Drinks" by Julia Bainbridge

For the person who knows there’s more to nonalcoholic drinks than the latest canned brand, or who is at least is open to exploring, Julia Bainbridge’s book of recipes can provide ample inspiration. $21

Devocion x Jono Pandolfi set

You’d be hard pressed to find the coffee lover who doesn’t appreciate a good mug. This year, ceramicist Jono Pandolfi is partnering with Devoción coffee for a set that includes two ombre mugs and a limited-edition coffee blend. $125

Bubble tea kit

This bubble tea kit from Bar Pa Tea has everything you need to make the hugely popular drink at home — wide, tapioca-accommodating straws included. $35

Haus aperitif sampler

Haus makes beautifully bottled aperitifs in botanical flavors. For the holidays, consider a sampler that includes citrus flower, rose rosé, bitter clove, and lemon lavender. $40

Virtual wine classes and tastings

During a time when our activities seem so limited, virtual wine classes and tastings allow you to give an experience outside of the ordinary. Eater Wine Club membership includes monthly virtual tastings (club membership starts at $70 a month). At Mysa, you can opt for self-guided or sommelier-led natural wine tastings (from $50). And Eater Young Gun Kae Whalen is offering a few different services for the aspiring wine connoisseur, including a tailored-to-you wine club and personalized wine tutoring (starting at $50). From $50

Elemental Beverage Co. cold coffee

There are people who shun hot beverages, whatever the season. For those people, there’s Elemental Beverage Co., which prides itself on pushing cold-beverage technology, and its Snapchill collaboration sampler, a six-pack of cold coffee from a few of the brand’s partner roasters. $30

Cru drinking chocolate

Cru Chocolate specializes in drinking chocolate, with a focus on raising awareness of the influence of Mesoamerican heritage on the chocolate industry. Send a three-pack sampler of flavors like purple corn pinol or spiced chai to the drinking-chocolate novice, or a set of 12 to the person who’s ready to make it a habit. From $15

Blondery blondies and brownies

Auzerais Bellamy’s Blondery has always been a virtual bakery, so you can be sure the decadent bite-sized squares will arrive intact and beautifully packaged like the luxury products they are. $65

Cowgirl Creamery Good Neighbors Victory Cheese box

With every purchase of this selection of four cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery and friends, the California cheese manufacturer donates $10 to the California Artisan Cheese Guild, a nonprofit that supports California cheesemakers. $100

The Goods Mart snack boxes

When in doubt, send snacks. The Goods Mart curates themed boxes based on dietary preferences (vegan, gluten free) or the type of brands someone’s looking to support (women- or Black-owned small businesses). $20

Té Company pineapple linzer cookies

If you don’t have time to bake cookies this year, send these (which are probably better than anything you could make anyway). Pair them with a Té company oolong to give the gift of a complete afternoon tea. $20

Real Oyster Cult oysters

This is one edible gift that can’t be enjoyed straight from the box, but the Real Oyster Cult gift bundle has everything your recipient will need for an oyster feast, including between 20 and 60 oysters harvested from around North America, a shucking knife, and gloves. $67

Trade Street Jam signature trio

The preserved fruit of summer makes a great gift any time of year, but especially now. Trade Street Jam’s signature trio includes strawberry chipotle and fig, smoked peach, and blueberry lemon basil. $38

Culinary Backstreets boxes

Culinary Backstreets has put together boxes of goods from the businesses that it used to frequent on its food tours, making for a thoughtful gift for those who put trips to Barcelona, Mexico City, Naples, Marseille, and more indefinitely on hold. From $55

With Warm Welcome restaurant posters

Podcast With Warm Welcome is selling prints depicting the hosts’ favorite New York City restaurants, including food illustrations by Nancy Pappas (pictured) and Seohui Chi and drawings of restaurant exteriors by Max Kho. Half of all sales will be donated to organizations chosen by the artist. $30

Staple x Atonae sweatshirt

The people behind New York City restaurants Atoboy and Atomix put together an enviable merch shop at the beginning of the pandemic. Proceeds from this sweatshirt go to Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants (ROAR), which is raising money for financial aid for restaurant workers. $65

Laundry Room Studios, the Guest Check Collection

Laundry Room Studios began as a one-person quarantine project “born out of a nostalgia for dining out,” Kb, the anonymous person behind the artwork, says. It’s a feeling that all restaurant fans can relate to, and one that is hopefully soothed a bit by art prints of guest checks emblazoned with phrases we likely haven’t heard since our days of regular restaurant dining. $100

Justice of the Pies "Cutie Pie" earrings

These ’80s-style door-knocker earrings don’t look like restaurant merch, but lucky for the person who wants to support food businesses while looking cute, they come from Chicago pie shop Justice of the Pies. $45

"Snacky Tunes" by Darin Bresnitz and Greg Bresnitz

The Snacky Tunes podcast, hosted by Darin and Greg Bresnitz, brings together chefs and musicians to talk about food and music — and now, it’s gotten the Phaidon coffee-table book treatment so that you can give it to the person who used to frequent restaurants for the vibes as much as for the food. $23

Woon noodle socks

Socks are a classic holiday gift for good reason. These, from LA restaurant Woon Kitchen, have a subtle noodle motif fit for even the most discerning noodle fan. $18

"Xi'an Famous Foods" by Jason Wang with Jessica K. Chou

The Xi’an Famous Foods cookbook offers a look at the inner workings at the popular New York City mini-chain, making it an appropriate gift for the person fascinated by restaurant operations, even if they have no intention of cooking the noodle shop’s famously spicy dishes. But if recreating restaurant food is what your gift recipient is after, it’s good for that too, as are these 13 restaurant cookbooks with totally doable dishes. $32

The Yakamein Lady tee

New Orleans store Saint Claude Social Club collaborated with artist Cora Nimtz to create a T-shirt in honor of Ms. Linda’s yakamein, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to Linda Green, better known as the Yakamein Lady. $50

Janet Sung is a Korean-American illustrator born and raised in New York.

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