"Have yourself a merry little christmas, let your heart be light"... you know that song lyric? It keeps replaying in my head as I'm already starting to feel stressy about a few more gifts I need, how expensive this season is, the full calendar to keep straight. I can keep my heart from feeling light, when indeed it very well should be as we surround ourselves with cards in the mail, giving, service, parties, family, friends visiting and lights. I'm taking a break from work, heading out to walk near the sea to calm the chaos and noise in my head. Hope you find your peace this month too - to stop and feel it cover you.
I venture to guess you've seen your fair share of gift guides by now, but I still wanted to throw one out there for the last minute shopper. I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, but I am not so great at thinking of ideas. I go for practical, which only speaks to a certain person (read: me). Looking through other peoples' favorite things gives me better ideas. This is a mash up of tools I love, things I want and fun gift ideas, and a couple picks from Hugh at the end. We'll chime in with another edible item next week, but until then, may your heart be light.
1. Benriner Mandoline - I have owned four mandolines. Three have been donated to friends, this is the one I'll keep forever. The negative reviews are that it's sharp and can take a finger off. Sold.
2. Stone Cold Fox Robes - So much classysexiness. That's a word. I have the white. I love the rose print and black.
3. Marge Granola - There are so many sweets going around, this top-notch granola makes a perfect edible gift. I would get the three pack because you will want to keep a box for yourself.
4. Pallares Kitchen Shears - I've had my eye on these scissors for months (maybe a year now?) since Heidi opened her beautiful shop. I don't know if I can swallow the price tag for a pair scissors I likely won't treat as gingerly as they deserve, but I still dream of them.
5. Real Deal Vanilla - Quality vanilla, adorable packaging, and the perfect stocking stuffer for any level cook. Everyone needs vanilla. The good kind.
6. Tiny Beautiful Things - Forever and always a Cheryl Strayed fan, this book is beautiful, with stories that can reach nearly anyone. It has been referred to and gifted often.
7. Quince and Apple Syrups - For cocktail making or spritzing up pregnant-lady-sparkle-water on the rocks. I like the Tart Cherry and Rhubarb Hops.
8. Baggu Dipped Tote - I wanted to order one for my sister, seems the perfect farmers' market bag. They are out of stock for a little but the right person may be alright with an IOU. Baggu makes an excellent quality bag.
9. Aeropress - This little press is what initially perked my interest in coffee a few years back (beyond it being a hot, caffienated beverage). It's quick, easy to clean, travel friendly, and can yield a great little cup of coffee.
10. Porlex Mini Hand Mill - If you don't have one, a decent grinder is a great first step towards better coffee. This isn't the best mill money can buy, but it's affordable, works well, and bonus: fits snugly inside the Aeropress for modular travel packing!
11. Shantaram - This is, arguably, the best book I have ever read. Click the "Look Inside" link on the Amazon page and read the first page.
12. The Problem of Pain - This is the other book that's involved in the above-mentioned argument. Incredibly powerful and deeply relatable.