The Gifts We're Sending to the People We Miss Most This Holiday
Send a heartfelt gift to someone you love this holiday season.
Normally, we love swapping gifts with our loved ones during the holidays, but it pretty much goes without question at this point that things will look different this year. Thankfully, tons of online retailers have nationwide shipping options available, so adequately spoiling everyone from your best friend in LA. to your grandparents in Ohio has never been easier. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift to show off just how much you care, check out this festive list from the staffers at Food Network. Thoughtful, creative and affordable, they’ll make everyone’s holiday just a little brighter.
I found a collection of vintage 1950s Santa mugs at an online estate sale earlier this year, and am using them as the base of a gift to send to my 10 nearest and dearest. Instead of hosting a holiday party with spiked cocoa, I am going to surprise friends and loved ones with a cocoa care package ahead of a virtual sweater party. I am tucking a hot chocolate packet into each vintage mug (possibly with a bottle of something to spice it up) and sending them out in time for our date. These mugs are similar to the ones I found, in more adorable styles. Cheers!
— Erin Hartigan, Senior Managing Editor
This woman-founded, award-winning olive oil company is all about small batch bottles that are farmed using hyper-local philosophies. The Turkish olive oil is perfect for dipping bread, spreading on fish or lean meats and even grilling veggies. The set of Premium Everyday and Primary Select bottles make great gifts for friends who have quality pantries. Plus, it’s super affordable. At just $21, it’s a thoughtful gift that won’t break the bank.
— T.K. Brady, Senior Editor
My twin nieces are three and they like cooking and baking with their mom. My sister-in-law loves Milk Bar, so I sent them a Milk Bar cake for their family, and the new Milk Bar Kids cookbook so they can all bake together.
— Michelle Buffardi, VP Digital Programming
I’ve written about this knife sharpener before, and I’ll say it again: it’s the best knife sharpener out there. It’s simple and incredibly effective. I know a lot of people who have fancy knives, but no tools to sharpen them. That’s why this knife sharpener is the perfect practical gift for people who love cooking. This year I’m sending one to my best friend who lives in LA.
— Heath Goldman, Culinary Editor
Cookie tins from Milk Bar make for a great gift around the holidays, particularly because they do all the baking and shipping for you! I plan to send The Milk Bar Sampler to my aunt and uncle this year. I think they’ll love the variety of freshly baked treats in this box, including two kinds of cake truffles, six assorted cookies and a slice of pie.
— Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer
This year my grandma turns 98 and since we won’t be able to celebrate her birthday or holidays together, I am sending her insulated Champagne flutes. Grandma likes her bubbly (and why not, she’s almost 100!) and these clever thermoses will keep her Prosecco nice and cold. Plus they’re made from stainless steel which means they’ll bounce back from falls and come with tight-fitting lids so she can sip and not worry about spilling. Cheers!
— Leah Brickley, Senior Editor, Culinary
My mother is one of those people who knows what she likes and usually purchases it for herself — meaning she is impossible to surprise with a good present. That’s why I decided to send her an improbable splurge she would never indulge in for herself — a box of Pecan and Salted Caramel Blondies from Blondery.com. Made with butterscotch and Guittard chocolate chips, the treats are the brainchild of Brooklyn-based Auzerais Bellamy (who also happens to be the former pastry sous chef at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery as well as a recent Food Network culinary fellow). The treats come in perfectly portioned bites not much bigger than a quarter, which should appeal to my mother’s moderation-in-all-things aesthetic. But I think just as meaningful will be the thought we are helping support a super-talented woman building her own business.
— Lygeia Grace, Culinary Editorial Director, Food Network
This year I’m going to send a few family members this Persian Spice Set, from Persian chef Louisa Shafia. It’s the perfect amount of everything you need to make delicious Persian foods or add Persian flavors to your own recipes. The packaging is really cute too!
— Michelle N. Warner, Food Stylist, Digital Culinary
My best friend Lisa and I have known each other for 18 years. Yes, you read that correctly. Though she now lives permanently in LA, she usually comes back to New York for the holidays and we always schedule a friend-date where she, my twin sister, Nicole, and I catch up on all our life happenings. Though Lisa won’t be coming home this Christmas that isn’t stopping us from holding our annual catchup virtually. In the past, we’ve usually spent this time huddled together in a cozy booth at a teahouse or coffee shop, downing cups of piping tea and eating way too many desserts. In that spirit, Nicole and I have decided to tag team Lisa’s gift and send her all the fixings for a Zoom tea party. Nicole’s handling the "tea portion" and is sending Lisa this adorable collection of loose holiday blends and this beautiful iridescent teacup from David’s Tea, while I’m handing the "dessert portion," and am getting her a few of these almost-too-cute-to-eat chocolate penguins from Lift Chocolates. With bits of milk, dark and white chocolate in each one, they’ll be the perfect decadent snack to end our night on.
— Michelle Baricevic, Online Coordinator, Food Network Magazine
There are lots of kids in my blended extended family, so we try to keep the adult gifts to a minimum, and do it by family. Last year I gave bottles of an olive oil I love to all the grandpas and grandmas, aunts and uncles. This year I’m sending wonderful aged balsamic vinegar as gifts, so they can dress up their strawberries, vanilla ice cream or steaks with a little something special.
— Alexis Pisciotta, Purchasing and Event Manager, Digital Culinary
My whole family and I are obsessed with hot pot. We love all the different noodles, meats and veggies you can cook up right in front of you, plus a variety of broths to choose from to make your meal extra tasty. Since this year eating out at restaurants wasn’t really an option for us, we’ve missed out on our hot pot dinners together. My brother who’s away in college right now misses them especially and I thought it would be a cool idea to bring the hot pot to him! So, when I found this portable set that includes space to cook the broth and grill the food I had to get it for him. Now he and his roommates can have their own little hot pot party right in their apartment whenever they want.
— Lauren Tom, Associate Content Producer
I was looking for a gift that could please both parents and kids, and this Harry Potter basket did the trick! It’s full of fun trinkets and candies for any Potterhead (chocolate coins, please!) and includes a personalized Hogwarts letter! I feel pretty confident anyone who receives this will have a magical holiday.
— Leah Scalzadonna, Associate Programming Editor
The only hot beverage that I’ve ever seen my mom drink is cocoa. She loves it so much that anytime I mention coffee or tea she lets out a dreamy little sigh and says, "or hot chocolate" with a smile. We’re celebrating Christmas virtually this year (and we won’t be able to share a cup of my super-rich-and-creamy homemade cocoa, made with lots and lots of melted chocolate) so I’m sending her the next-best thing: a set of festive Hot Chocolate Bombs!
— Kristie Collado, Digital Programming Manager
You haven’t tasted good honey until you’ve tried Zach & Zoe’s raw, unfiltered honey. It’s harvested right in the family-owned business’ backyard, so every drop is given plenty of attention, love and care. There’s no funny business with fake honey here. The wildflower honeys come in their original form, but are also offered in an array of superfood-infused flavors. My favorite is the lavender, and you can tell the buds are fresh. Honey pretty much lasts forever (as true honey does), so this an edible gift that will never go bad on the shelf. Though I doubt this sweet stuff is going to last very long once my friends dig in. It’s great in teas and on desserts, but I highly recommend just getting a good piece of freshly baked bread and dipping it into a little dish of the honey. That way, you can really taste all of that beautiful, full-bodied flavor!
— Maggie Wong, Editor
If your culinary burnout is anything like mine, baking cookies for loved ones sounds nigh impossible this holiday season. So instead of firing up the oven, I’ll be sending friends near and far a dozen of Té Company’s finest. Each box includes six of the NYC tea shop’s signature pineapple linzers (these Taiwanese pineapple cake-inspired beauties are filled with pineapple jam and finished with lime zest and flaky salt) and six of their just-launched shortbread cookies. Not only are the cookies delicious, but they also somehow manage to evoke the cozy, restorative energy of the shop itself — talk about Christmas magic!
— Frances Kim, Digital Programming Manager
Since I can’t actually hug my friends this holiday season, I’ll be sending them the next best thing: a virtual hug in the form of cake! These adorable Mug Hug greeting cards from the women-owned company Poppikit include a personalized message and an indulgent double chocolate mug cake mix that can be made in the microwave in just 90 seconds. Each card is only $10 (which isn’t all that much more expensive that sending a plain Christmas card on its own), and best of all, the ingredients are all organic, all-natural and non-GMO.
— Drew Anne Salvatore, Recipe Editor
Since I can’t hug all my family members in person this year, I’m sending the (most delicious) next best thing – chocolate mug cakes. Each mix (made with quality, organic ingredients) is tucked into a cute greeting card. Your gift recipient just has to add oil and milk and microwave for 90 seconds. Plus, there is the option to send the kits directly to multiple addresses, so you don’t have to deal with going to the post office. If your family is craftier, this company sells beyond-adorable cookie and cake decorating kits. You can send one to each member of the family and coordinate a Zoom baking/decorating session.
— Trish Clasen, Digital Programming Manager
One of my best friends had a baby the other day, so her holiday care package will look a little different this year. These cookies are the perfect one-handed breakfast or snack for new moms, but I know she’ll also love the homemade gelt (pictured above) at the end of a long day.
— Julie Hines, Managing Editor, Food Network Kitchen App