Gift Guide 2020
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
The theme of this year’s gift guide is Home: where we all, once again, likely will be spending lots of time. Here are a few ideas for making your home a little brighter, a little greener, a little cozier, and a little more delicious.
As always, my perennial favorites can be found in The Shop, and I’ll be updating this post if I discover any more gems.
Virtual Cooking Class
Some of you have may taken one of my virtual cooking classes, which I have been holding twice a month since June of this year. Thank you! For me, they’ve been the highlight of the quarantine, a chance to peek into so many of your kitchens and to connect on a level the format of a blog doesn’t allow.
We’ve made stone-fruit galettes, homemade tortillas, enchiladas, focaccia, and stuffed bell peppers, to name a few. And we’ve raised over $13K for various charities in the process. I’ve just added 12 new class dates.
**Also** You can now subscribe to The Cooking & Baking Club, which includes 2 live classes a month, all of which will be recorded, so you can take the classes on your own time. Every month we’ll bake something — from brioche to pizza to sourdough bread — and every month we’ll cook something, too — from butternut squash lasagna to spatchcock roast chicken to a whole Valentine’s Day dinner. For a limited time only, the subscription rate is $29/month.
Here are a few ways to gift a class:
- Gift a Class: Click on any of the classes in the schedule; then click on the “Gift this class” link.
- Gift a Class + a copy of my cookbook: Under the “Ways to Save” tab, click on “Packages.”
- Gift a Subscription: Under the “Ways to Save” tab, click on “Memberships.”
You know I love my cookbooks. Here are a few new-ish releases as well as one old one:
Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking. I am late to discover Laurie Colwin, but oh my goodness is her writing a gift, and is this book a treasure. Note: This is not a cookbook, though there are recipes peppered throughout.
For the baker in your life, any of these five cookbooks would be wonderful. Read more about each of these books here.
- Erin Jeanne McDowell’s The Book on Pie
- Sarah Kieffer’s 100 Cookies
- Yossy Arefi’s Snacking Cakes
- Melissa Weller’s A Good Bake
- Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person
My mother recently sent me David Lebovitz’s Drinking French, and it not only is filling me with wanderlust but also providing some much-needed inspiration in the drinks department. Maybe pair it with a Yeti Tumbler, which can double as cocktail shaker?
Two other ideas: Instant Family Meals. Sarah Copeland, author of Every Day is Saturday, has a new Instant Pot cookbook out, and I’ve made several things I love, including the turmeric-coconut rice and the double-duty chicken stock. More on this soon.
For your vegan friend or your friend trying to eat more plant-based meals: Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows For Dinner.
Of course, for the bread baker in your life, there’s Bread Toast Crumbs or …
… a peasant bread kit. This one, the Blue Edition, includes my book, a GIR spatula, a digital scale, two 1-quart Pyrex bowls, a cloth bowl cover, and a Julia Child notecard. This one includes the same items but the cloth bowl cover is pink and the Julia Child notecard reads: “I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”
This one includes the same items with the exception of the two bowls.
For the Home
Are you familiar with Bloomscape? Bloomscape delivers healthy, ready-to-go plants to your door and gives you the tips to help your plants thrive. Pictured above is the Dracaena Marginata and pictured below is the large watering can. I love all of their pots, this Loop Wall Hanger, and, of course, their plants.
Blueland Foaming Hand Soap Starter Kit
Earlier this year, I gave Blueland’s foaming hand soap starter kit a go, and I have since replaced all of the other hand soap dispensers in our bathrooms with the Blueland dispenser. I also have this Clean-Up Kit, which I love.
A Laundry Basket
If laundry is something you find yourself doing all day long, you may find this Danish laundry basket to be a welcomed accessory for your living room.
A Compost Bin
I love this Compost Bin: It’s nice to look at for one, and it’s just the right size to keep me on my toes about transporting vegetable scraps out to our compost tumbler.
Upton Wall Print: If your home office needs a little brightening, Upton has beautiful, fun, bright prints.
A New Mousepad
I bought Ben a new mousepad for Father’s Day this year, and wow did it transform our desk! 😂😂😂 I kid I kid, but I do think a simple, sleek mousepad helps keep the work space feeling uncluttered.
A New Light Fixture
I love this U/2 Sconce from Schoolhouse Electric. We replaced an old light fixture in our bathroom with this one, and it makes me happy every time I flick on the switch. I also love this towel holder.
For the Kitchen
I’ve mentioned Burlap & Barrel before, but to refresh: B&B partners directly with smallholder farmers to source spices that have never been available in the US before and, in doing so, helps improve the livelihoods of their partner farmers. A few of my favorites are below.
- Silk Chili (We sprinkled this on corn on the cob and tomato salads all summer long, and most recently I’ve been loving it on roasted squash. Had to buy the pound container in my most recent order because I love it so much.)
- Royal Cinnamon
- Purple Stripe Garlic
- Smoked Pimenton Paprika
- Flowering Hyssop Thyme
- Turkish Oregano Buds
- New Harvest Turmeric
- Cobanero Chili
Calabrian Chili Paste: As I noted in a recent blog post, this is chef Missy Robbins’s favorite brand of Calabrian chili paste. At her restaurant Lilia, she uses the chili paste in a vinaigrette, which she spoons over grilled clams and toasted bread crumbs as well as other fish and vegetable dishes. I love using it along with capers and garlic to infuse oil, which is great poured over roasted vegetables.
A Bread Box
I love this bread box. It opens from the front (as opposed to on top) so it doubles as a shelf. Normally the top is loaded with apples and bananas. Note: I store my bread in airtight bags or containers, which I believe keeps them the freshest the longest. The crust of day-old bread in one of these bags will turn soft, which is why I always recommend re-heating day-old bread before serving. I love the look of this bread box, and I love that it hides all of my various bags/containers.
The Aeropress: My friend Gena of The Full Helping introduced me to the Aeropress, which makes an incredible cup of coffee. If you are someone who likes only one cup of coffee a day or dislikes throwing out half a pot of coffee every day, the Aeropress might be a nice option for you. I am so looking forward to taking it camping with us next summer.
A New Pot
A good wok is hard to find. I’ve had this Kuhn Rikon one for about 6 months now, and I’m really loving it: It has a lid for one, but also it sears well and cleans well, and thus far it has weathered well. Find more of my favorite pots and pans in The Shop.
A New Gravy Boat
How pretty is this gravy boat? Can’t wait to break her out for our very teensy TG feast.
Gifts for Her
A pretty mask + chain. I found this one plus the mask chain at Palmer & Purchase. They might not have this exact mask and chain in stock, but they have lots of other options.
A pretty pair of earrings. Lots of nice options here.
An RBG, Julia Child, or Schitt’s Creek family ornament. I found these at the Vischer Ferry General Store — they’ll ship to you. Call them: 518-579-0195
Glerup Slippers: Last year, I discovered the Glerup shoe. This year, I’ve upgraded to the booty. I love these slippers so much, both the leather sole version and the rubber sole version.
Beauty Counter: I am mostly a chapstick girl, but I buy my sister a Beauty Counter “beyond gloss” every year, and she always raves. I personally love the Beauty Counter dew skin moisturizer.
A pretty sweater. I love this one: Keely Cable-Knit Sweater and…
… this one: Oversized Alpaca Crew.
Outdoor Voices shorts: I’ve had these (in navy, not available anymore) for a few years now, and I love them.
Gifts for Him
A New Backpack
We have one of these backpacks, and I wish we had another — it’s so great for camping and hiking.
My husband is mostly as happy as I am with all of the vegetables we eat, but every so often he asks for a steak. For Father’s Day, I cooked Chapel Hill Farm New York Strip Steaks, Ben’s favorite cut, and we started the meal with a few slices of the Ararat Salami, which we loved.
High West Whiskey Double Rye: I know nothing about whiskey, but Ben likes this one and tells me it is a good value:
A New Water Bottle
I am a terrible water drinker, but for some reason, this water bottle helps me drink more water throughout the day — I think it’s the wide opening? I think Ben could use one, too.
For the heat lover in your life: A bottle of Red Clay hot sauce or Red Clay’s The Whole Shebang would make a great gift. Or …
… a jar of Vietnamese Saté chili sauce. This stuff is seriously spicy. A little goes a long way. It’s great over roasted vegetables, noodles, and eggs.
Gifts for Kids
A Jaanuu mask: This summer, my children returned from a few weeks at my parents’ house each with a Jannuu mask. They fit well, are so soft, and my children love them.
IQ Link: Last Christmas, my mom bought my 9- and 10-year-old children each one of these sets, and they both continue to play with them more often than I would have imagined.
A sewing kit: My seven-year-old loved this Sew Mini Animals kit and was able to do it with very little adult supervision.
- My 10-year-old loves the Percy Jackson Series as well as The Trials of Apollo and The Heroes of Olympus.
- My 9-year-old loves the Hatchet Series
If you have any book recommendations for 5-, 7-, 9-, or 10-year-olds, I would LOVE to hear your recommendations. Or if you have any other gift ideas in general, let me know!
Wishing you the happiest holiday season. Here’s to next year’s gift guide theme being: Travel + Adventure? With that in mind, after a hike up Mount Marcy this summer in a pair of ancient running shoes, I immediately ordered hiking boots. I love them:
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
37 Comments on “Gift Guide 2020”
I LOVE your gift guides! I’ll send you my list of books for 7-9 year olds. We’ve had the Aeropress for years, and it gets a ton of mileage when my family goes camping –
Sally, thank you!! I’m going to add the books you emailed me to the list above once I compile everyone’s suggestions. So grateful for all of these ideas. Happy Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!! xoxo
HAPPY HAPPY Thanksgiving to you! You provide so much joy to others, and I hope that you feel the joy as well.
I LOVE 100 Cookies and Dessert Person (note that the brownie recipe has an error – it should be 1/4 cup of water or 2 oz). My favorite recipe from 100 Cookies is the white chocolate, apricot, and rosemary cookie. We’ve also made the sugar cookies, brown sugar cookies, pan-banging chocolate chip cookies, and two other chocolate chip cookies.
Thank you Sally 🙂 🙂 🙂 You are too sweet. Thank you for the heads up about the brownie recipe, and thanks for your recs from 100 Cookies. I made the brown sugar cookies a few days ago, and I’m making another batch tomorrow 🙂
My 8 year old loves the Upside down Magic series, the How to Train your Dragon series (the novels), the Templeton Twins, anything by Kate DiCamillo.
Thank you so much for this, Rebecca! I am going to add all of these to my Xmas list. Thanks for sharing!
I’d love to see an updated book list whenever you have a chance! Thank you. Happy to use your affiliated links.
Will do! Trying to get this done today in fact!
Thank you! I appreciate you and LOVE your website. Will recommend your list to others (specifically groups I’m on with lots (like thousands) of other mom in the Cambridge, MA area. I did go through and write down all the book names so no rush on this.
Such a good set of gift ideas. I love Laurie Colwin’s books. She’s one of my favs. Thanks for other ideas. Happy Thanksgiving!
Dana, where has she been all my life?? I am loving Home Cooking so much. Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo
I’m so appreciative of your lists every year, Ali! I have cooked like 20 things from the Instant Family Meals cookbook so far and the brown sugar cookies from 101 Cookies are to die for. For kids’ book suggestions: have your kids read The Vanderbeekers books? My 4th grade twin boys (who are also obsessed with Percy Jackson, et al) love them. They’re sweet, fun books filled with love and community and life lessons and have meant a lot to our family during this chaotic time. They’re really lovely books.
Thank you, Jess! So great to hear all of this! Also, last night, you inspired me to make the brown sugar cookies from 100 Cookies — SO good! I have also made the brown butter chocolate chip cookies, and they were heavenly as well. I have not read The Vanderbeekers books, but am so, so excited to get them. Thank you!!
Just started reading the Zoe and Sassafras books and Ada Lace books with my newly 5-year-old and she loves them!
Ruth, thank you for this! I am going to get these. I can’t wait to have new books to read with my kids, especially the younger ones. Happy Thanksgiving!
I am new to your website and just love it! I just bought “The Book on Pie” by Erin Jeanne McDowell and will be curious what you think about parbaking. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you, Jean! And Welcome 🙂 I am overwhelmed by ALL of the information on The Book on Pie. So good. Parbaking my crusts today … will give the full report soon!
Your gift guides are always my favorite! Thank you for making them!
My favorite favorite young adult book is From the Mixed Up Tales of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I also loved A Wrinkle in Time. Holes is another good one. Really any Newberry Award winner is usually a good place to start.
Thank you, Andrea! That means a lot 🙂 And thank you for these suggestions. I am getting so many great ideas from all of these comments. Sending lots of love to you! Happy Thanksgiving xoxo
Ali, I now have, like, 20 tabs open of things to buy. THANK YOU! I’m determined to get most of my shopping done early this year given shipping delays that I keep hearing about.
For books – Blythe loves the following series: Sophie Mouse, Tumtum & Nutmeg, Heartwood Hotel, Ellie Engineer, and the Anna & Elsa chapter books by Erica David (if kiddo likes Frozen).
Darcy, us, too! I hate the last-minute scramble… our goal is to be done with shopping by the first week in December. Fingers crossed. Thank YOU for these suggestions! I’ve been struggling to find books for Wren and Tig but also books I enjoy reading to them. They love Frozen. Thanks, and big hugs to you xoxo
Sophie Mouse has been a huge hit with everyone to whom we’ve recommended them. Hope Wren and Tig love them (I like reading them, too). Same with Tumtum & Nutmeg. I ordered myself a mouse pad and ordered several copies of 100 Cookies (which is now sold out on Amazon — driven single-handedly by you, I assume!). Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas, Darcy! I cannot wait for these books to arrive. Wren and Tig will love them. Thanks so much for the suggestions. Sending lots of love to all of you xoxo
I love your gift guides! Thank you! We have had great success with the felt sewing projects from purlnyc.com (which I used to live down the street from waaaay back in the day). Ok my favorite topic! Book! Here are some house faves for ages 8+ (in addition to everything Rick Riordan)
– Wingfeather Saga – I read all 4 books aloud to our kids and want to read them again this year. The best.
– Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz who writes for Foyles War, Miss Marple and other British greats but this is about a kid spy in MI6 -/my older kids devour them
– Five Kingdoms by Brendan Mull
– Penderwicks series
– Mysterious Benedict society series
– Narnia series
– The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings
– Little House on the Prairie series (reading this aloud to our 6 year old – my fave read aloud for this age)
– Chronicles of Prydain (more advanced language but great story)
– Green Ember series
Bates, you’re the best! Thank you. I am definitely going to check out those sewing kits, and I am definitely going to order some of these books. The Alex Rider series sounds perfect, and I cannot wait to read the Wingfeather Saga. Thank YOU!! xoxo
For kids: MindWare Dig it Up
Thank you, Maria!
Wow love this gift guide and the book list I’m getting out of the comments! 🙂 A good friend has recommended Land of Stories to me for my 3rd grader which I’m getting him for Christmas. I have book 5 of Trials of Apollo on my night stand – love those! Hoping my kids will love them eventually. My son has loved the Beast Quest series (there are like 100 of them as far as I can tell) which he started reading in 2nd grade. And I’m excited to check out the Wings of Fire series which I hear are like next level Dragon Masters (those I loved – 1st/2nd grade – from the Branches imprint of Scholastic).
Kate, thank you for all these suggestions! And I know, me too! I’m going to compile all of the suggestions in the comments in the post above in the next couple of ideas. SO helpful! Definitely going to get my third grader Land of Stories. Thank you for this 😍
Thank you for such a well, curated list. It’s so refreshing to see unusual and interesting things featured. Almost every other blogger picks the same things…a nod to a kickback, no doubt.
Thank you, Jen! Means a lot 🙂
Every kid ought to have Beverly Cleary books and my girls loved the Junie B. Jones series as well. Oh and the Little House on the Prairie books and DVDs are great too. What can you recommend in terms of seasonings for home made stir fry? We’re not overly adventurous in terms of spice but need flavor.
I loved Beverly Cleary and all of the Little House books … thank you for all of these ideas.
Honestly, for stir fries, I keep it pretty simple: garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil are staples. Check out this recipe for an easy dinner.
Last year, when my daughter was 8, we read “Scary Stories for Young Foxes” . A beautiful, though sad at times, story of a litter of foxes and their lives . Even though it is a fictional story, some elements might be disturbing for younger kids. Mine is wildling living and breathing for nature with all its faces.
Thank you so much for all of this, Urszula!! Adding it to my list 🙂 🙂 🙂
The BEST EVER book series for your children is Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. It’s about magical creatures that live in a secret zoo– some are good and some are bad. But it has everything from fairies to centaurs, to a witch and dragons. And a gollum. And everything in between. I have met the author at a writing convention and he is the most humble, awesome guy. His books are middle grade genre and best sellers. The Beyonders, the Candy Shop Wars (about magical candy), and the Five Kingdoms were all written by him. Dragon Watch is the sequel series to Fablehaven. I just can’t say enough about these books! Amazing! Thank you for sharing your recommendations. I’m looking forward to trying sourdough! And, I love your recipes and your website! Thanks so much for sharing.
Wende, thank you for this!! It sounds fabulous!! How awesome you met the author and that he’s a great guy. I can’t wait to read it with the children. Thank you for the kind words 🙂 🙂 🙂