Have you hit the jackpot yet? You know, the perfect gift for the food lover, cook or bartender on your list?
If you are looking for what’s hot this year, our checklist (no need to tell us if you’ve been naughty or nice) will help you narrow down your choices and, in a few cases, save you time, money and the challenge of wrapping your present.
Vintage tablescapes: Stop by your favorite antique or thrift shop. These stores are full of one-of-a-kind, hand-embroidered cocktail napkins, plus vintage dishes and serving trays. (Items pictured start at $2. Blessings Abound, 10325 Metcalf Ave., in Overland Park.)
Cocktail starters: A trip through Original Juan’s Specialty Foods wholesale outlet store at 111 Southwest Blvd. in Kansas City, Kan., offers sauces, rubs and cocktail starters you had no idea you needed to gift. Put together a gift box in the store, or shop from the “clearance” rack. (From 99 cents and up. Cocktail Crate mixers are $5 each.)
Cookbooks, look books: “Cookbooks are becoming look books, acting as coffee-table decor just as much as a catalog of recipes,” according to marketing giant Edelman after surveying 13- to 32-year-olds. The newest releases by Alton Brown and Mario Batali are beautiful additions to any collection.
Sous vide cookers: Anova Precision Cooker Sous Vide Wi-Fi/BlueTooth is one example of this hot, hot foodie gift. The device circulates water, bringing food to a very precise temperature without overcooking. I made the most amazing fried chicken, using my phone to program the Anova Precision Cooker. ($199; Target and Best Buy locations. Shopping tip: Both stores price match, so check on your phone before you get in line to check out.)
Copper pots: The Ruffoni Copper Stock Pot with Tree Finial offers 3 1/2 quarts of cooking magic. It’s old school, yet ooh-la-la. ($199.95, ask and they wrap for you at Williams-Sonoma locations.)
Food ornaments: Brussels sprout glass ornaments are so cute. Don’t like veggies? How about lobster or cupcake? All new this year to use on the tree or to hang in the kitchen all year long. ($10, Sur La Table Country Club Plaza 430 Nichols Road.)
Luxurious linens: Forget the paper towel and go for the proverbial green nirvana. Heirloom-quality linens present you with only one problem: How will you choose? So many beautiful textiles are available nearly everywhere. (From $2.99, Pryde’s Old Westport, Sur La Table, Tuesday Morning, Homegoods.)
Bartending essentials: Rösle Channel Knife and Giant Ice Cube Tray are just the thing for an artisan cocktail fan. Don’t forget to give a penny with the knife. The recipient will need to give the penny back to the gifter as payment for the knife. As legend has it, a knife cannot be a gift, as it will sever the friendship. The penny makes it a purchase, not a gift. (Knife, $26.99; tray, $9, free wrapping a bonus, Pryde’s Old Westport, 115 Westport Road.)
Scratch-off lottery tickets: Your last, last-minute option for a holiday gift, and yet always welcome. If you have never given or received, give them a try. You’re sure to get a laugh, or at least a smile. Buy a few extra and scratch. If you win, hire a personal shopper to do your spending next year. ($1, Quik Trip, 7-Eleven and most Kansas City supermarkets.)
Karen Elizabeth Watts is a caterer and food stylist based in Kansas City and Dallas.