Last-Minute Gift Ideas from a Food Editor

By Rachel Hofstetter

stack of Christmas presentsMy husband is great at dreaming up, picking out, and sending gifts for our family and friends. So am I, except that genius inspiration often strikes me in July—the July that makes me seven months late.

That in mind, I’m quickly stocking up on some presents with seven shopping (and shipping) days left until Christmas. Check out my picks for friends and family members below:

For all of the brothers: Cooking lessons from Whole Foods. The supermarket chain offers one to three hour classes at most of its locations, and they’re decidedly cheap—I’ve been to fantastic demonstrations that cost $20 and included a whole gourmet meal at the end.

For the little cousins: Personalized books have been around for ages, but the new crop is decidedly un-cheesy. Instead, you can get some of the modern classic children’s books (I love Olive the Other Reindeer) with a special name either throughout the text or inscribed in the dedication. I love Amazon, but this is so much classier.

For the host or hostess: Christmas crackers. My British friends always look so goofy in their holiday photos, and now I know why—they pop these goodie-filled “crackers” before the meal and wear the party hats and other trimmings all night long. They guarantee me that the laughter is seriously a gift to remember.

For the cook: My favorite cookbook these days, Plenty. The pictures are gorgeous, the recipe ideas are new, and it makes it easy to cook vegetarian meals without even realizing it. Actually, I might have to grab a few more copies…

For the 20-somethings: A case of Cameron Hughes wine. I’ve been obsessed with this company’s “Lot” series for years—they buy up super-premium excess wine from other producers and sell it under their own, much-cheaper label. Plus, if you buy 6 or 12 bottles, shipping is usually free. Luckily, my sisters live together so I can send a 12-pack straight to their door with a note to wait until Christmas to open!

Photo credit: © iStockphoto/Thinkstock