The Ardent Cook Holiday Gift Guide

You all know I love Halloween, Fall, and all things cozy like no other. But, the next best thing in my mind is the holidays. We’re all going to be celebrating a little bit differently this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still gift thoughtful items to friends and family. These are my picks for each gift recipient you might come across, and I hope you find joy in giving this holiday season as much as I do.

I have to begin with a disclaimer that there are affiliate links in this post. One of the ways I can monetize my efforts in this space is by sharing affiliate links with you all. The kick-backs from these links are small, and all of the gift ideas featured in this post are ones I either use and love myself, or that I’ve done extensive research into and feel comfortable recommending to you. Your support of The Ardent Cook is so meaningful to me, and I am thankful for such a wonderful audience!

Let’s get to the giving, eh?

for The Home Cook (that has it all)

Le Creuset 10¼” Cast-Iron Skillet

Most home cooks have a cast-iron skillet in their arsenal, so why not give them an upgrade? This is a more affordable option out of Le Creuset’s line of enameled cookware. It’s timeless and lasts forever when taken care of, and they have a ton of colors to match any kitchen. I have the meringue color!

Farm Share Subscription

Having a farm share completely forced me to think and cook outside of my comfort zone. I love the surprises that come with having a farm share, like trying new ingredients, attempting a new preparation of an ingredient, etc. Plus, I feel so much more inspired to cook seasonally (since these items we’re literally pulled from the ground for my box that week). This is a great gift for a home cook looking for inspiration in the kitchen! I get mine through Just Farmed, but check out local options in your area to find the best fit.

Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I idolize Ina Garten of The Barefoot Contessa. Her approach to cooking is everything I hope to embody. She keeps an emphasis on classic techniques that work every time, she honors the ingredients she uses, she cooks seasonally, and she loves to entertain. Better yet? She loves butter. Her newest book, Modern Comfort Food, is arguably the best cook book she’s ever written. It’s relatable and very well-suited to a home cook.

Cooking Class with The Ardent Cook (ME!)

That’s right! This holiday season, I’m offering up my expertise in the kitchen to anyone on your holiday shopping list. The suggested rate for a private video call is $30 per person, but I am happy to work with you to find a price that fits your budget this year as I continue to work out the kinks and grow my business. This would be a great option for a date night, or a fun gift for anyone on your list from the novice cook to the seasoned chef. Recipes are decided ahead of time (and can be selected by the attendee), then a grocery list and suggested wine pairing are provided. For more information, email me at theardentcookblog@gmail.com and I’d be happy to answer all of your questions and get your class on the schedule! Keep an eye out on Instagram, as I periodically offer group sessions that are less expensive but just as fun and informative.

for The Artsy

Leslie Tyler Designs Art Box Subscription

Reagan Leslie of Leslie Tyler Designs (Instagram @blackhouseseven) is a light in the design space. She’s a lover of old homes and making design work for you, and her company recently started an Art Box subscription. You complete an intake quiz that helps her design team understand your own personal style, then you receive curated items like artist prints, vintage wares, and small batch handmade home goods each month. This is such a cool idea to spread Christmas cheer all throughout the year, as your recipient will be reminded of this awesome gift every month when they get their box! Order here.

Black Lab Ceramics

Ben Bunting of Black Lab Ceramics is a local-to-me ceramist and I’m obsessed with his work. From pet bowls, to mugs, to trinket dishes, he has a plethora of beautiful pieces to choose from for the artsy one on your list. Here’s the link to his Etsy shop, but you can also follow him on Instagram (@black.lab.ceramics) for information about where to purchase in-person if you’re local.

The Craftery Workshop Gift Card

Jess of The Craftery (@thecrafterypa) is a local entrepreneur who has been a part of the Dublin Revitalization Project for a while now. Owner of Makers Vintage + Handmade (and a new store, Wheat and Vine Provisions, coming 11/28/20), Jess is a joy to follow along with. The Craftery hosts craft workshops with local makers that would be the perfect event for your artsy giftee. With loads of options that change with the seasons, like eucalyptus wreath making or floral centerpiece arranging, you can rest assured your crafty friend, aunt, or mother-in-law will have fun choosing which workshop to attend. Pick up a gift card on their website, linked here.

Hand-Blown Bud Vases

These handblown bud vases are so stinking cute. Perfect for someone with an eclectic, artsy style, these would fit inside a stocking or tiny little box under the tree. Grab them on Food52 here!

for The Man

Philips Hue Light Bulbs

My boyfriend learned about these and almost lost it. He loves all-things automation, and these light bulbs can change to over 16 million different colors using just your phone. They’re on the pricier side, but a great gift to build upon. With quarantine continuing through the winter months, adding a little ambience to any room of your home should be at the top of the list for your man!

Wireless Device Charging Mat

This is a no-brainer for a type-A guy who likes to minimize cords and maximize efficiency. The sleek leather looks great on a nightstand or kitchen counter for charging everything from phones to smart watches. I’ll be scooping this up for my boyfriend this holiday season!

Washers

This is an oldie but a goodie, and perfect for an indoor activity that isn’t a board game or Netflix binge. It’s small enough to be played in your living room with just two people, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get extremely competitive. It’s also a game I don’t mind playing with my boyfriend, which is rare. Grab one for the guy on your list here!

Geometric Whiskey Stones

These beautiful whiskey stones can be used to chill more than just the dark stuff, and they guarantee that your drink stays stiff rather than watered down by melting ice. I love the look and weight of these, plus they make any drink look way more elevated. Any man in your life would be lucky to open these on Christmas day!

for The Traveler (who can’t travel)

Steuber Travel Group “The Endeavor” Gift Card

My friend Madeline and her mom Kristen started their own travel business in the midst of a travel-free global pandemic. They have persevered through the challenges of both entrepreneurship and COVID-19 to offer excellent travel consulting complete with perks and discounts that you can’t get by booking a trip yourself. My boyfriend and I plan to use their services to book a European tour once COVID restrictions lift. Madi has kindly offered my readers 20% off their Endeavor package for Small Business Saturday, which is normally priced at $300. Visit their website here and use the code ‘WinterWonderland’ to give the gift of future travel!

Home Again Studios Candle

Home Again Studios is a local-to-me small business crafting handmade soy candles and other home decor. The scents are incredible, my favorite being the Winter Woods, and come in a classic glass jar or handmade clay pot. A cozy candle is a great way to make home feel special when your traveling giftee can’t go on their dream excursion. Little tip? Sign up for their email list to get an extra 15% off your first order!

Modern Bento Box

If there’s one thing you can do to get away during COVID, it’s a socially distanced road trip. I love the idea of these bento-style lunch boxes to pack road trip snacks galore. See my post here about my favorite items to pack on a road trip, and grab the bento boxes here! These would be perfect to gift alongside an already-booked weekend stay for your partner, parents, or in-laws as a fun way to signal “Road Trip!”

Internationally-inspired Food Items

What better way to make the traveler on your list smile than to gift them a little piece of their favorite place. I love the idea of these little Parisian candy tins for the Paris-lover, or a delivery of LoRe fresh pasta (PA/NJ locals only, sorry!) for the person who swears they’ll only eat pasta from Italy. Get creative and make it feel personalized, as every awesome gift should!

for The Foodie

Wheat and Vine Provisions Gift Card

Jess, owner of The Craftery (mentioned above), is opening a new food provisions shop 11/28/20. I cannot wait for this grand opening, and let me tell you why. She’ll be sourcing delicious specialty foods and kitchen goods from local producers that are perfect for the Foodie on your list. Gift cards aren’t yet available on their website, but watch this link to purchase once the shop opens up. Wheat and Vine Provisions is sure to be a stunner of a shop.

Cast-Iron Spice Grinder

The Foodie on your list will feel extra special when your gift them this cast-iron spice grinder. Grinding your own spices adds an element of sophistication and immense flavor that you can’t get from dried, pre-ground spices. Their home-cooking efforts will be taken to the next level (since their efforts to eat out may be stifled by winter pandemic woes). Grab it here!

Slow Up Fresh Food Bars

This one is for tri-state area locals only (sorry)! Slow Up bars are made with whole food ingredients that are perishable, making them one of the freshest bars on the market. They have delicious savory and sweet flavors (my favorites are the Coconut Curry and Peanut Cacao) and they are made fresh just for you right before shipping. They were generous enough to give you all a discount code for 40% off your first order using ‘TheArdentCook’. Go get them for your foodie friends and family alike!

Forthave Spirits

I’m lumping the craft cocktail-lover in with the foodie category, but for good reason. Forthave Spirits is a Brooklyn-based distillery with phenomenal small batch spirits. My personal favorite is the “Red,” an aperitivo that goes really well in cocktails such as a Negroni or Manhattan (I replace the sweet vermouth with the Red) or in an Aperol spritz (sub the aperol for the Red). It’s so unique and comes in a pretty cool bottle. Use this link to purchase, or ask your local liquor store to order it for you!

for The Self-Improver

Esteem Wellness “QuaranCleanup”

Erika of Esteem Wellness is a holistic health counselor specializing in a bio-individualized approach to mind and body wellness. Someone in your life need a little reset after the downward spiral that was 2020? Gift them a session with Erika. She has generously offered a “pay what you can” rate for her QuaranCleanup service, but feel free to check out her entire menu of services here! Disclaimer: she’s my boyfriend’s older sister, which means she’s basically my older sister. I really look up to her and hope that her services can benefit my audience as we all continue to navigate this rocky pandemic.

Acupuncture Mat

This acupuncture mat has been a game changer for work-from-home life. After hours of staring down at my laptop (which is inevitably on my lap, with me on the couch, forcing me to look down at it and strain my neck), this mat is a wonderful release. It looks a lot scarier than it is, and after 10 minutes laying on that thing you’ll feel completely rejuvenated. I’m obsessed with it. Here’s the one I have, which I think would make a great gift for the wellness fiend in your life.

Breville Juicer

Getting a juicer has been one of the biggest joys of my quarantine. My boyfriend and I use it a few times per week to up our nutrient intake. It’s also great for making fresh squeezed juices to use in cocktails or to enjoy with your Sunday breakfast. I absolutely love it. It’s on sale for the holidays at the link here and absolutely perfect for the health-nut on your list.

Glass Storage Containers

I’m all about finding “clean” alternatives in the kitchen, and many people forget that “clean” extends beyond just our food. One of the easiest changes you can make to remove toxins from your kitchen is by transitioning to glass storage containers and ditching your plastic ones. I love these glass containers by Ello. They don’t leach toxic plastic-born chemicals when you heat them, and they are perfect and durable for all your meal prep needs. These are a great option for anyone on your list, not just your health conscious friends.

Bonus Category: Things I’m shamelessly eyeing for myself

Crate and Barrel “Tour” Wine Glasses

Oh man, I’ve wanted these for a while. At $14 per glass, they are harder to justify for an every day purchase. But, they are a shape that Jeff and I both really love and are made with durable “Tritan glass” which makes them less prone to shattering if bumped or dropped. They are a nice investment piece for a young couple transitioning to living together, or maybe your parents who haven’t updated their stemware since they got married in the early 90s.

Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick 11′

I’ve been in the market for a large non-stick pan for a while, and rather than buying a $40 pan that will last a year at best, I figured it might be time to invest in a nicer one. This Le Creuset option sits large at 11 inches and has a deeper volume than most frying pans, making it great for large curries or stir-fries. It’s also 30% off right now, so maybe I’ll bite the bullet?

Apron Dress

An apron is such an overlooked kitchen essential. I’ve ruined so many shirts in the kitchen and it’s time I get myself an apron. I love the whimsical feel of this apron dress, and I like that it would cover a majority of my clothing. It’s made by a small Etsy shop, so I also love the small-business aspect.

For questions or concerns regarding any item on this gift guide, please direct them to theardentcookblog@gmail.com or send me a DM (@theardentcook) on Instagram! Thank you for your support of The Ardent Cook.

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