Wow, 2020 is almost over. The never-ending year is coming to a close. And oh, yeah, holidays are still happening. They may look different, but what hasn’t changed is that everyone loves gifts. Especially surprise gifts that they get in the mail and they’re like, “Wow, did I order something online late at night after too many glasses of wine?” and then it’s actually a nice present from their best friend.
I didn’t want to make some big blowout gift guide, so I narrowed it down to mostly edible holiday gifts or food-themed things that I found on the internet. They can all be mailed directly to your friends and family, no matter how far apart you live. Think of this guide like a quiz you’d find in CosmoGirl magazine back in the day. Pick the personality of your giftee—or yourself, if you’re in a treat yo self mood—and buy them something from these themed packages.
Most of these are from smaller businesses, so keep in mind they may take longer to ship because they’re handmade. It’ll be worth it though, I swear. And plus, none of them are super tied to the holidays, so you can keep this guide around for anytime-of-year gifting inspo.
‘Tis the season for so many Christmas movies, so queue one up for a virtual movie night with a friend. You can both get comfy in your Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Throw Blanket ($147) or Kassatex Waffle Weave Robes ($120) and eat Momofuku pork and shiitake mushroom buns ($189 at Goldbelly) while ugly-crying over the predictable happy ending. Looking for kid-friendly cozies? Try a Barefoot Dreams hooded striped robe ($88).
If Pepper could, she’d come to all of your houses and teach you how to make her famous Pad Thai. But she can’t, so we put together a selection of some of her favorite Thai ingredients. The winner of our Pad Thai taste test, the Pad Thai Korat ($30 for a four-pack on Amazon), will get you close to Yai’s version. You can cook that or maybe some larb with Omsom’s Thai Larb Starter ($12 for a three-pack) in the Cravings Stainless Steel Wok ($60 at Target). Or send a gift basket of Pepper’s go-to pantry staples to a friend who wants to try cooking Thai for the first time: Three Ladies Jasmine Rice ($15 for 5 lbs. on Amazon), Lobo Spicy Tom Yum Soup Mix ($6.49 for a five-pack on Amazon), and Red Boat Fish Sauce ($9 for a two-pack of 100ml bottles).
Instead of Kondo-ing the pantry, add more FLAVOR to it. For you or a family member who only seasons chicken breasts with a salt shaker, grab a bottle of Bachan’s The Original Japanese Barbeque Sauce ($14), aka teriyaki sauce. For salt and spice at the same time, try Jacobsen Salt Co. Spicy Salt Bundle ($30) with habanero, chili lime, and ghost chili salts, then cool down with Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen Pandan Kaya ($9). Kaya is a super rich, custardy jam made of coconut milk, eggs, and sugar that is best sandwiched between buttered white toast like they do in Malaysian kopitiams (coffee shops) for breakfast. It’s green from pandan, a tropical leaf that has a slight herbal flavor. For another trip ‘round the world from home, splurge on Diaspora Co.’s Masala Dabba ($200, available for pre-order with engraving), your one-stop shop for seven essential Indian spices. This stunning brass tin is hand-spun in Bangalore, and all of Diaspora’s spices are direct-trade and single-origin with Indian farmers who are compensated fairly. If that’s too big of a splurge, you can get any of the single bottles of spices—Pragati Turmeric, Guntur Sannam Chilli Powder, Aranya Pepper, Nandini Coriander, Nagauri Cumin, Baraka Cardamom, and Kandhamal Black Mustard—on Diaspora’s site, too.
Without getting on a plane, anyone can be transported to somewhere warm and beachy after lighting Isle of Wax’s Jamaican Me Crazy Candle ($23), which is described as “an explosion of tropical fruits and rum blended into an irresistible summer drink.” It has seashells INSIDE it and the candle is poured into a repurposed coconut shell! Pair it with The Cocktail Box Co.’s Classic Mai Tai Kit ($21) and some Nathalie Lete Tropical Juice Glasses ($12 each at Anthropologie) for a full vacation in a box.
Obviously I had to include John’s wine somewhere. LVE French Sparkling Rosé ($20) is best when sipped in the bathtub, preferably with a Sushi Bath Bomb ($7.50 for three at PixieDustGrotto’s Etsy shop). They don’t actually smell like sushi—they are pineapple, mango tango, and strawberry kiwi, which actually could go really well with the tropical vacay package. We drink wine at the house in Cravings Double Old-Fashioned Glasses ($26 at Macy’s), usually not filled all the way up. But sometimes filled all the way up. They also work for old-fashioneds, other cocktails, or water, I guess!
When I saw this Casey Taylor Ceramics Eggplant Mug ($125), I could not stop laughing. IT IS SO GOOD! One of the best emojis has come to life!!!! It could be filled with something delicious like Harlem Chocolate Factory’s HFC Hot Cocoa ($14.99), or if you want to go really decadent, just melt a full Compartes Birthday Cake Chocolate Bar ($9.95) into some milk. It will look like a unicorn in there and make any day feel like a birthday for you or whomever you’re gifting it to. Or eat it on its own as a side dish of chocolate to your hot cocoa. It’s the holidays, so the more sweets, the merrier.