Our 2020 Holiday Gift Guides are here! Find our top recommendations for cookbooks, gifts for friends who love cooking, gifts for working at home, and more – ALL from small and independent businesses!
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Our 2020 gift guide is finally here, and WE. ARE. PUMPED. to share it with you (*happy dance*)
Before we start, a gentle reminder: It’s easy to get caught in a consumerism spiral of “more more more” during the holidays. And yes, these guides involve a bit of shopping.
But mostly? Mostly these gift guides are about celebrating the people you love.
Because the holidays FOR SURE DO NOT have to be about spending money, racking up debt, or buying a bunch of junk that none of us really need.
So while we love each one of these products, please don’t feel like you need to run out and buy the latest new, shiny thing. Thrifting, DIY, and nonprofit donations (see a full list of nonprofits we love on our responsibility page!) are also wonderful ways to give to the people you love.
What to know about this gift guide:
We only include products that we deem exceptionally useful.
To make it onto our gift guide, a product must be exceptionally useful, bring joy, and make the world better. We are VERY picky about which products make the cut here: for every product that made the list, there are many more that didn’t.
Brands and authors can’t pay to be on this list.
These are all things we personally use, LOVE, and (in most cases) paid our own hard-earned money for. (Occasionally, we’re gifted a cookbook by the author or a publisher – any books we received for free are marked as such!)
There are NO Amazon links on this list.
Every single link you’ll find here leads to a small, independent business. And yes – that means you might have to pay shipping.
But this year more than ever, small businesses need all the support we can give them. So if you’re able, please buy directly from these creators and artisans instead of Amazon (they have plenty of money already, right?!)
And also: Please be patient with these small businesses. Independent companies (us included!) don’t have the budget or the resources for lighting-fast shipping, or 24/7 support. Allow extra time for shipping, and be kind if you have to email someone. Every time you buy from a small business, a real-life person does a happy dance!
All of the books on this list can be purchased through Bookshop.
Bookshop is an online bookstore (and B corporation!) with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.
A portion of every Bookshop purchase goes to an independent bookstore of your choice, or – if you prefer not to select a specific store – your order contributes to an earnings pool that is evenly distributed among bookstores. To date, Bookshop has raised nearly $8.5 million for local, independent bookstores.
Alright. I’ve talked (written?) at you long enough. LET’S GET GIFTING!
(If you have any questions about how products work, how they hold up, etc. – drop us a comment! We’re here to help!)
Know exactly what you’re looking for? Click a link below to jump right to that section!
Our Favorite New Cookbooks
Our Favorite Baking & Dessert Cookbooks
Best Cookbooks for Easy Weeknight Cooking & Meal Prep
Best cookbooks for someone who’s just starting to build their collection
Cookbooks for the person who loves cookbooks
Gifts for the person who loves cooking
Stocking Stuffers and Gifts Under $27
Gifts to live your best work-at-home life
Our favorite cookbooks of 2020
1. In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen // This gorgeous book from Somali chef Hawa Hassan and veteran cookbook author Julia Turshen features stories and recipes from the eight African countries that touch the Indian Ocean. Stunning photography, recipes that WORK, and exceptionally well-organized so it’s very easy to cook from. The recipes do lean on a couple of new-to-me spice blends, but each blend has its own recipe so you can make it yourself with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. The recipes are rich, flavorful, and unfussy – even picky eaters or cooks who are new to African cuisine will find something to love. I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.
2. Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant Terry // I can’t say enough good things about this cookbook. It focuses on hearty, flavor-packed vegan recipes (even meat-eaters will find something they like!) and Bryant Terry’s gift for storytelling is as much a part of this book as his foolproof recipes. This book is meant to be cooked from, with plenty of room to add your own notes and riffs. If you like extra notes on storage, prep, and substitutions, you’ll also appreciate how thoughtful the recipe headnotes are in this book. Plus, there’s a cooking playlist: each recipe pairs with a song suggestion from the author for a unique touch.
3. New World Sourdough by Bryan Ford // You might already be following @artisanbryan‘s adventures in sourdough on Instagram, and his debut cookbook does NOT disappoint. This book goes beyond the typical, Amercian-ized sourdough boule to explore sourdough breads from around the world, with shapes, flavors, and techniques that will be new and exciting for new and veteran bakers alike. For extra baking pointers, you can buy his online companion course and get step-by-step video trainings for the recipes in the book!
4. Flavor by Yottam Ottolenghi, Ixta Belfrage, and Tara Wigley // This is Yottam Ottolenghi’s newest book (you might recognize his other titles like Jerusalem and Plenty) and it’s another home run for this powerhouse team. This isn’t a book that you just pick up and cook from on a busy weeknight – the recipes are a little more involved, and the ingredient lists are a little longer – but for the friend or family member who loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen, this is a great choice. All vegetarian, but still hearty! I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.
5. Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley // This book focuses on traditional Palestinian cuisine, and it’s easily one of my favorite cookbooks of the year. Beautiful enough to be a coffee table book (the photography is STUNNING) but unfussy enough that I’m not afraid to take notes in it, cover it in post-its, and use it while I’m in the kitchen. I’m someone who reads cookbooks like novels, so I really loved the stories and profiles woven throughout. But if you’re more of a “get straight to the recipes” person, you can do that, too – the book is well-organized so you can kind of choose your own adventure as you work through it. Almost every recipe has a photo so you can see what it’s all supposed to look like. I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.
6. The Flavor Equation by Nik Sharma // Nik dives into the science of what makes food taste good – and he does an incredible job of breaking down big ideas into easy, accessible recipes. A follow-up to his popular debut cookbook Season, this book leans on Nik’s exceptional photography as well as his talent for making readers feel like they can cook just about anything.
Our favorite baking & dessert cookbooks
1. New World Sourdough by Bryan Ford // One of our favorite cookbooks of 2020! This book goes beyond the typical, Amercian-ized sourdough boule to explore sourdough breads from around the world, with shapes, flavors, and techniques that will be new and exciting for new and veteran bakers alike. For extra baking pointers, you can buy his online companion course and get step-by-step video trainings for the recipes in the book!
2. Hot Bread Kitchen by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen // This is one of my FAVORITE cookbooks, and easily in the top five I cook from most frequently. Delicious, well-written recipes and stories from the ladies of the incredible Hot Bread Kitchen – a social enterprise that helps immigrant women succeed in the culinary industry. (Also, great gift alert: You can buy more gifts and baking kits from their website!)
3. Milk & Cardamom by Hetal Vasavada // This book is PERFECT for the friend or family member who loves baking but might have the classics down (chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, etc.) and is ready to level up and get even more creative in the kitchen. Hetal (you might recognize her from the hit show MasterChef!) pulls inspiration from her Indian-American upbringing to give us new, ultra-flavorful twists on classic recipes from scones to cheesecake to cinnamon rolls.
4. The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum // Anytime someone wants to bake better cakes, I send them this book. Not photo-heavy, but incredibly detailed with plenty of notes about the why of a recipe in addition to the recipes themselves. A must-have for any baker.
5. Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish // This book is on my gift guide AGAIN this year, because it’s just that good. If you like baking or want to level up your bread/pizza dough game, this is required reading. Beautiful photos and in-depth technique training for the home baker.
6. Weeknight Baking by Michelle Lopez // My new favorite cookbook for quick and easy desserts during busy weeks! You might recognize Michelle from her popular blog Hummingbird High, where she shares simple and delicious dessert recipes. This book is built for people who have busy lives and often decide to bake on a whim: there are easy-to-use baking timelines, time-saving shortcuts, and brand-new recipe ideas in addition to classic recipes that Michelle has tested and tweaked to make them work for your schedule.
The best cookbooks for easy weeknight cooking and meal prep
1. Damn Delicious Meal Prep by Chungah Rhee // This book is focused entirely on meal prep, and Chungah has done alllll the heavy lifting for you so you can eat delicious, full meals all week long with minimal effort! This is easily one of my favorite meal prep cookbooks, and it’s well-organized and easy to use. Perfect for anyone with kids or a busy schedule who still loves eating healthy, flavorful food!
2. Vietnamese Food Any Day by Andrea Nguyen // This book is beautiful, but it’s still sturdy enough to cook from in a busy, sometimes-messy kitchen without worrying about ruining it. The pages lay quite flat, the recipe notes are exceptionally helpful (riffs, substitutions, repurposing leftovers, and meal planning are all covered!) and most recipes come with a photo so you can see exactly what the dishes are supposed to look like. There are also a ton of step-by-step photos that show you how to fold and form things like dumplings, wontons, etc., which can be intimidating on the first try. I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.
3. Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten // This book is written in Ina’s signature, encouraging, “pull-up-a-chair-and-stay-awhile” voice and has plenty of notes and stories sprinkled throughout. Also, her recipes WORK. This book would be excellent for a cook who’s just starting out, learning to cook, or may not have an arsenal of simple weeknight recipes yet; if you’re an experienced home cook with years of experience under your belt, you’ll likely already have your own favorite versions of staples like tomato soup or roasted carrots, and these recipes won’t feel as groundbreaking. I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.
4. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman // This book isn’t photo-driven, but DANG is it handy. Easily the most-used cookbook in our house, with an easy-to-navigate index and detailed recipes – and it does, in fact, teach you how to cook just about everything.
5. Cook Once, Eat All Week by Cassy Joy Garcia // An excellent meal-prep guide for anyone who wants healthy, delicious food without spending all day in the kitchen! This book is organized SO well: it’s split into weekly meal plans, each of which rely on a few specific ingredients that you’ll prep a couple different ways. This book is the epitome of done-for-you: just pick your meal prep day, grab the ingredients on that week’s shopping list, and follow the prep-day checklist and you’re ready to go!
6. The Ultimate Instant Pot by Coco Morante // Instant Pot fans will LOVE this cookbook – it covers a ton of different dishes and cuisines and has plenty of technique notes to help you get the most out of your pressure cooker. We tested quite a few Instant Pot cookbooks for this gift guide; this one was easily the best.
Best cookbooks for someone who’s just starting to build their collection
1. Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat // I don’t think it’s overdramatic to call this book a triumph. Painstakingly detailed (but easy to read and understand!) with beautiful illustrations and plenty of recipes that focus on the WHY and HOW of cooking. (PS – Read this book, and then watch the show on Netflix! The show, like the book, is incredible).
2. The Flavor Equation by Nik Sharma // Nik dives into the science of what makes food taste good – and he does an incredible job of breaking down big ideas into easy, accessible recipes. A follow-up to his popular debut cookbook Season, this book leans on Nik’s exceptional photography as well as his talent for making readers feel like they can cook just about anything.
3. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman // This book isn’t photo-driven, but DANG is it handy. Easily the most-used cookbook in our house, with an easy-to-navigate index and detailed recipes – and it does, in fact, teach you how to cook just about everything.
4. Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore and Amanda Hesser of Food52 // After three years in a row on our gift guide, we’re moving this cookbook to “must-have” territory. The recipes are, in fact, genius – and the beautiful photos make it a great coffee table book when you’re not cooking from it.
5. The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt // This isn’t just a cookbook: it’s THE cookbook. Kenji focuses on the science – and the why – of our favorite classic recipes. An incredibly thoughtful and detailed cookbook that will quickly become your go-to reference in the kitchen. It’s also won basically every cookbook award there is – with good reason.
6. Small Victories by Julia Turshen // This is the cookbook equivalent of a warm, cozy hug. The recipes WORK, and the notes are especially helpful – cooking from this book feels like you have a BFF in the kitchen, cheering you on. Includes a great mix of classic and out-of-the-box recipes with ideas for reusing leftovers, recipe substitutions, and “how-to-cook” lists at the back (like “Seven things to do with a Can of Chickpeas!”)
Cookbooks for the person who really loves cookbooks
1. The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley // This 2018 James Beard Award-Winning book is a fascinating (and important!) exploration of Indigenous American food. The recipes focus on seasonal ingredients, local and forage-able components, and wild game. This is a perfect gift for the friend who reads cookbooks like novels, loves experimenting and trying new recipes, and is passionate about equity and sustainability in food.
2. Soul by Todd Richards // With 150 recipes and gorgeous photography, this 2018 cookbook is still a staple in my kitchen. Influenced by classic soul food, Chef Richards’ recipes have incredible, unique spins that honor their roots while pushing you outside of your own comfort zone in the kitchen. Perfect for the friend who loves reading restaurant menus, eating comfort food, and pushing the envelope a little.
3. The Indian Cooking Course by Monisha Bharadwaj // By far one of my favorite single-subject cookbooks, and a perfect, robust introduction to classic Indian recipes. There are how-to photos for more complicated techniques, as well as a fascinating overview of the nuances of Indian cuisine – you’ll learn which regions favor which flavors and spices, the history of classic (well, classic-to-Americans) recipes, and more.
4. Cooking Scrappy by Joel Gamoran // A great addition to any kitchen – especially if you want to save money and waste less food! Joel’s inventive, delicious recipes take food scraps we might ordinarily throw away and turn them into delicious, beautiful food. This is an excellent, creative cookbook with a ton of energy.
5. Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen by Gonzalo Guzman with Stacy Adimando // This book is a wonderful foray into regional Mexican cooking from the team at San Francisco restaurant Nopalito. It does a great job of breaking down traditional dishes and flavors and offers plenty of step-by-step photos. This is less of a “grab it and cook on a busy weeknight” book; it’s perfect for someone who loves spending a lazy Saturday in the kitchen making tortillas and sauces from scratch. Also, it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful – the photos alone are reason enough to recommend this book (but we’re recommending it for the stellar recipes, too!)
6. Tasting Rome by Kristina Gill // A perfect gift for the friend who loves Italian food, history, and a relaxing day in the kitchen. Written by American expats who live and work in Italy, this book is a love letter to Rome and its melting pot of culinary traditions. Kristina’s photography is beautiful, and you’ll find a nice mix of classic recipes alongside some new and exciting dishes influenced by the myriad of people and cultures who call Rome home.
Gifts for the person who loves cooking
Quick Guide: (1) Hedley & Bennett Crossback Apron in Bordeaux (2) Jacobsen Salt Sampler (3) Everyday Artisan Bread (4) Omsom Sauce Sampler (5) Finex Cast Iron Skillet (6) Diaspora Co. Turmeric (7) East Fork Pottery Everyday Bowl (8) Diaspora Co. Single Origin Aranya Pepper (9) Challenger Bread Pan (10) Wild for Salmon Sustainable Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
1. Hedley & Bennett All Day Crossback Apron // Hedley & Bennett makes THE. BEST. APRONS. Full stop. No contest. My oldest H&B apron is three or four years old now, and it still looks almost new (even after daily wear plus hundreds of photo shoots, recipe tests, spills, and washes). They have a ton of styles and everything is made in their LA production space. This All-Day Crossback Apron is SO comfortable – of the several H&B aprons I have now, it’s easily my favorite. I love this Bordeaux color, but it comes in a bunch of different shades and fabrics!
2. Jacobsen Sea Salt Gift Set // One of my FAVORITE artisan products, this sea salt is harvested in the Pacific Northwest and has the most beautiful texture and clean, pure flavor. Use it as finishing salt (texturally, I find it’s somewhere between classic kosher salt and large-flaked Maldon salt). This gift set is a great introduction to their products: buy it with or without the wooden display base (when the salt is gone, it makes for beautiful countertop spice storage!) or, if flavored salts aren’t your thing, buy a bag of their pure flake finishing salt. I also highly recommend their excellent local honey line.
3. Everyday Artisan Bread Online Course // Alright, SHAMELESS PLUG: We think our bread-baking online course, Everyday Artisan Bread, is pretty great. The perfect gift for a friend or family member who is ready to level up their homemade bread game! Includes exclusive recipes, video tutorials, and regular updates for excellent artisan bread at home.
4. Omsom Sauce Sampler // These incredible sauce starters are the perfect dinner shortcut on busy weeknights. Just pour a sauce packet into a quick stir fry, brush it over some fish or meat, or add it to a salad or noodle dish for an instantly more delicious dinner. Grab the Omsom Bundle (pictured above) for a taste of every sauce they make, or choose a smaller collection of their East Asian or Southeast Asian sauce lines. The samplers come in stunning, bright packaging that’s perfect for gifting.
5. Finex Cast Iron Skillet // Another Oregon-based company (and the subject of a past edition of at the table!) Finex makes some of my favorite cast iron skillets. Handcrafted at their Portland factory (see photos here!) this cookware is stunning and useful – and properly cared for, it will last forever.
6. Diaspora Co. Turmeric // Diaspora Co. is on a mission to decolonize spices and build a better spice trade. They’re sourcing some of the best, most flavorful spices on the market while building an equitable supply chain that pays their farmers fairly. Grab their signature Pragati Turmeric or build a trio of their best spices (perfect for gifting!)
7. East Fork Pottery Everyday Bowl // I’m in love with this company and everything they make. Their hand-thrown pottery is made in North Carolina, and this Everyday Bowl is one of my favorite pieces. Everything is dishwasher and microwave safe and made for daily use; I’ve had some of my pieces for a year or so and they still look brand new. The pieces are an investment, so we’re building our collection a little at a time. Be prepared for a long lead time – many pieces are made to order!
8. Diaspora Co. Single Origin Aranya Pepper // I know: We’re adding Diaspora Co. to this list twice. But I promise it’s worth it! This single-origin Aranya Pepper is EXCELLENT, and a wonderful gift for the home cook who appreciates flavorful spices (and equitable, values-driven companies!) Grab a single jar or a big bag of peppercorns, or add it to your build-your-own spice trio.
9. Challenger Bread Pan // I’ll tell you upfront: This heavy-duty bread pan is an investment, and it’s not really multi-purpose. It’s for bread, and that’s about it. That said, this pan is a GAMECHANGER. If you’re a serious home baker who is already baking frequent artisan, crusty, or sourdough loaves, you’ll love this pan. It gets unbelievable oven spring (even when your dough is a little overproofed!) and the thinnest, crispiest crust I’ve ever had outside a bakery with a professional steam oven. The shallow base means you can tip bread dough onto the hot surface without needing parchment paper (hip hooray for low-waste baking!) and with less risk of burning yourself.
10. Wild For Salmon wild, sustainable Alaskan salmon // WFS is a dock-to-doorstep delivery service for Wild Alaskan Sockeye (and other delicious seafood!) Owned and operated by a family of fishermen, you can order wild, sustainable Alaskan Salmon caught aboard the Ava Jane. I personally know and love this team of fishermen – we even served their wild sockeye at our wedding! Their delivery area is limited; if you’re outside their delivery zone, check out Sitka Salmon Shares (Midwest) or Vital Choice (Nationwide) for wild, sustainable salmon delivered in your area!
Stocking stuffers and gifts under $27
Quick Guide: (1) Jacobsen Pure Flake Finishing Sea Salt (2) Shaquanda Will Feed You Hot Sauces (3) Hedley & Bennett Face Masks (4) Trade Street Jam (5) Stasher Bag (6) Fun Greeting Cards from illustrators/artists like Emily McDowell and Chez Gagne (7) “You Tried” Pin (8) Wool Dryer Balls photo credit: Package Free Shop (9) Bee’s Wrap Sustainable Food Wraps
1. Jacobsen Finishing Sea Salt // One of my FAVORITE artisan products, this sea salt is harvested in the Pacific Northwest and has the most beautiful texture and clean, pure flavor. Use it as finishing salt (texturally, I find it’s somewhere between classic kosher salt and large-flaked Maldon salt). I also highly recommend their excellent local honey line.
2. Shaquanda Will Feed You Hot Sauces // Alright. These hot sauces are SO. GOOD. My current favorites are the classic hot pepper sauce (it’s perfect with scrambled eggs or mixed with some mayo on a sandwich!) and this green sauce (I’ve been mixing some into my mac and cheese lately, and OMG), but honestly, they’re all excellent.
3. Hedley & Bennett Wake Up & Fight Face Mask // When the world turned upside down in March, our favorite apron company flipped their entire factory in just a few days to start making face masks (developed in collaboration with Dr. Robert Cho, a local pediatric orthopedic surgeon). For every mask they sell, they donate one to an essential worker: more than 350,000 masks have been donated to first responders and front-line workers so far. Like everything H&B makes, these masks fit and feel great: adjustable ear straps, an inner pocket for a filter, and an adjustable metal nose insert help them form perfectly to your face with no slipping or chafing.
4. Trade Street Jams // These delicious, small-batch jams are packed with flavor from unique combinations like Smoked Yellow Peach and Sour Cherry Ginger. No pectin or preservatives here, and very little sugar, so the jams are a bit thinner – perfect for stirring into marinades or adding to a favorite cocktail in addition to slathering them on your morning toast! My current favorite flavors: Strawberry Chipotle & Fig and Blackberry Mulled Merlot (both pictured above). You can also pre-order mixed sets perfect for gifting!
5. Stasher Bag // A dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, sous-vide-safe alternative to plastic zip-top bags. Airtight, freezer-safe, easy to store. These might be my favorite of all our gift guide products – I buy them for EVERYBODY and they’re a great way to reduce plastic use. Start with their bestselling sandwich bag (I also love their stand-up bags and half-gallon sizes!)
6. Fun Greeting Cards // This year especially, I’ve been much more committed to sending snail-mail notes to friends and family. For the friend who loves writing and supporting independent artists (or for the family member who needs a *hint hint* to call or write you more often) blank cards from illustrators and artists like Emily McDowell (“you’re the best” card, pictured above), Chez Gagne (“You put the champ in champagne” card, pictured above) are a great choice. Other artists, illustrators, and stationers I love (check out their cards, prints, and other novelty items!): Brenna Doodles, Swellpress, Lionheart Prints, Ann Shen, Ladyfingers Letterpress, Neighborly Paper.
7. “You Tried” Pin // This pin from artist @adamjk is one of my very favorite things (especially this year, THANKS 2020). It’s small – pin it onto a purse, a jacket, or stick it in a cork board in your office – but sometimes, you just need a pick-me-up reminder that you tried your best (and that’s awesome). As Adam says: “Here is a gold star. You deserve it.”
8. Natural Wool Dryer Balls // We switched to wool dryer balls a little over a year ago, and I am IN LOVE. These wool balls replace disposable dryer sheets for a waste-free laundry routine, but I’ve also been impressed by how much they reduce wrinkles and actually help our laundry dry faster so we use less energy, too. I’m buying these for EVERYONE this year. Photo credit: Package Free Shop.
9. Bee’s Wrap // A sustainable alternative to plastic wrap or saran wrap in your kitchen – use your hands to warm the beeswax-coated sheets and they’ll stick to just about anything! Easy to clean and use – mine are just over two years old and still going strong. Handmade in Vermont and a certified B Corporation!
Quick Guide: (1) Ponzi Vineyards Together Pinot Noir (2) Hedley & Bennett Striped Socks (3) “No Thanks” T-Shirt (4) Matriarchy Poster Print (5) Things Are Looking Up Card Deck (6) “You Tried” Trophy (7) Steven Smith Lord Bergamot Tea (8) Breakfast Wine Mug
1. Ponzi “Together” Pinot Noir // Honestly, I could recommend ANY of Ponzi Vineyard’s wines to you – currently owned and operated by two sisters in the Pacific Northwest, Ponzi is easily one of my favorite wineries. But their limited-edition Together Pinot 3 Pack is especially great for gifting: These half-size bottles are perfect for enjoying solo or with a partner while we’re all stuck at home, the wine is excellent, and the bottles are beautiful. The labels were designed by the talented Sheree Brand, and 100% of the profits go to a collection of nonprofits working to pass anti-discrimination legislation and protect human rights, especially for women of color. If you’re looking for a lower price point, their Tavola Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and 2018 Pinot Blanc are also excellent. For more top-notch Pacific Northwest wines perfect for gifting, check out Cooper Mountain Vineyards (and their past at the table feature!), Maison Noir Wines and De Ponte Cellars.
2. Hedley & Bennett “Wake Up And Fight” Socks // THESE. SOCKS. Colorful? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. Inspiring hidden message (“Wake up and fight!”) on the soles? Check. But friends: These are the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn. EVER. They’re soft, hold up great over time, and have incredible support. I’m ordering another one million pairs because I legitimately get SAD when these are dirty and I have to wear regular socks. They have three different colors to choose from!
3. “No Thanks” Embroidered T-Shirt // This tee from artist Adam J. Kurtz is my new favorite shirt. It’s incredibly soft and cozy, true to size, and has a small “no thanks” embroidery design that just brings me SO. MUCH. JOY. Wear it under a sweater or sweatshirt while you’re on a long, boring work meeting and have a nice chuckle every time someone asks you to do something. Available in five colors (and check out the rest of his site for more great gift ideas!)
4. Matriarchy Poster by George McCalman, McCalman.Co // I was first introduced to artist and Creative Director George McCalman’s work by his gorgeous cover designs for the former Good Company Magazine from Design*Sponge. You’ll find his one-of-a-kind work in publications like Whetstone Magazine (another wonderful gift idea!) and the SF Chronicle in addition to his many branding and collaboration projects. George’s work is grounded in storytelling, equity, and honesty – even (and especially) when the truth is uncomfortable. This Matriarchy print hangs in our studio and is one of my favorite pieces. Find this and other available prints at shopmccalman.co/store, and make sure you’re following @mccalmanco on Instagram!
5. Things Are Looking Up Card Deck // Working from home can be, well, KIND OF A BUMMER SOMETIMES. This tarot-sized 52-card deck is my favorite pick-me-up on long, lonely work days. Designed by optimism expert Dr. Deepika Chopra, each card in this deck features a science-based prompt to cheer you up, snap out of a funk, or just have a laugh. I keep my deck on my desk and pull a card whenever I need an energy boost!
6. “You Tried” Trophy // Another favorite from artist @adamjk, this desktop ceramic trophy is the size of an egg cup and definitely falls into the “novelty” category, but it’s impossible to look at this teeny, adorable trophy and not feel just a little bit better. 2020 has been rough – we all deserve three cheers for any effort, no matter how small!
7. Smith Teamaker Lord Bergamot // This artisan tea is really something special. Founded in Portland by Steven Smith (who also co-founded Stash and made tea for Tazo!) Smith teamakers put so much thought and care into these teas. Grab this loose-leaf tin, or order their sachets (the string and tags are all biodegradable!) A higher price point than generic grocery-store tea, but well worth the splurge for a special occasion. Their Lord Bergamot (like an elevated Earl Grey) is one of my favorites, and one loose-leaf tin lasts us 4-5 months even with daily use. Other standouts: Kandy (black tea) and Meadow (Chamomile blend).
8. “Breakfast Wine” Mug // You need a festive mug for your tea (and, um, wine), yes? This stackable mug (check out their other mugs and drinkware glasses, too!) has been my go-to lately. It’s comfortable to hold and easy to clean (it says hand wash only, but I’ve put it in the dishwasher a LOT and it’s been totally fine). Plus, I get to chuckle to myself every morning while I sit at my desk and sip my “breakfast wine.”
EDIBLE GIFTS THAT BUILD A BETTER FOOD SYSTEM.
JENI’S ICE CREAM. Order the BEST ice cream online from Jeni’s Ice Cream! Ships in a freezer box. Jeni’s uses no synthetic flavors or dyes, buys ingredients directly from a community of partner-producers, and is a Certified B Corporation. Their Darkest Chocolate flavor is the only ice cream I’ve ever fought my family for (don’t worry, I won).
SEEMORE SAUSAGES. We’ve been loving these new part-plant sausages from fourth-generation butcher Cara Nicoletti! These colorful sausages are here to help you eat less meat by mixing sausage staples like humanely-raised pork and chicken with bright vegetables. Meat-eaters won’t even notice these sausages are part veggie – they taste GREAT and are shipped frozen to your door. Order a variety pack of their four flavors (Broccoli Melt, Chicken Soup, Baked Potato, and Beet) or snag some of their hilarious merch (like a sausage pin-up calendar or these “sausage party” socks)
SUSTAINABLE WILD ALASKAN SALMON. Caught by Captain Steve & the Wild For Salmon aboard the Ava Jane each summer in Alaska, flash frozen within hours of being caught, and shipped to your doorstep (we even served it at our wedding!) If you’re in the midwest, check out Sitka Salmon Shares as well.
GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK.
KIVA MICROLOAN GIFT CARDS. When you buy a Kiva gift card, the recipient can lend its balance to one of thousands of global entrepreneurs. When the initial loan is repaid, you get the money back, and can invest it back into a whole new business! Kiva has a 98% repayment rate and has helped over 1.8 million borrowers worldwide start and sustain their own businesses. Lend as little as $25 to make a huge difference. Buy one gift card for each family member and spend an afternoon together choosing some incredible global entrepreneurs to support! You can also support the organization by shopping gifts made by Kiva artisans.
DONATE AN ANIMAL. Heifer International works to end hunger and poverty worldwide, and their unique giving program lets you choose an actual animal (Goats! Water Buffalo! Alpacas!) to send to a community in need for eggs, milk, wool, and more. Families who receive donated animals in Heifer’s areas of work pay the investment forward by becoming community donors themselves. You can browse Heifer’s gift catalog to find a meaningful gift in one of their many areas of work, including animal donation, sustainable farming, and clean water support. You can also donate an animal to a rural community through Oxfam, which has a similar gift program!
ADOPT AN ANIMAL THROUGH WORLD WILDLIFE FUND. When you buy a gift through World Wildlife Fund, your purchase supports WWF’s global conservation efforts. Choose an animal (or several) to adopt and receive an adoption kit with a certificate and a corresponding stuffed animal, or choose from a variety of animal-themed gifts (coloring books, mugs, bags, and much more!) whose proceeds support their work.
HEY! I HEART YOU.
Thank you so much for reading Life As A Strawberry – whether it’s your first time here or you’ve been following from the beginning. Wishing you health, safety, and the happiest of holidays.
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