Food is one the best gifts you can give someone (and not just during the holidays). Think about it: An edible gift won't take up a ton of space (it even disappears eventually once it's been used up!), it's pretty likely to be used, and it might even expand the horizons of whoever receives it.
I'm not even saying you have to make something from scratch for anyone on your list. There are so many groceries and edible treats that make great gifts. I'm talking about cool and unusual condiments, snacks, seasonings, and more.
A lot of these items are things that people either didn't know existed or probably don't think to buy for themselves (meaning, this list goes beyond the standard chocolates or box of baked goods).
1. Maldon Salt Flakes, $29 for 3.3 pounds
I've written before about how I like to give this as a wedding shower gift (usually, along with a salt cellar). The lucky recipient gets a good laugh out of it (a bucket of flaky sea salt! Who knew you could buy such a thing?) and plenty of use (this will last even the most avid home cook a long, long time!). But this gift idea doesn't have to be saved for a shower. In fact, it's a pretty great idea for the holidays.
2. Ultimate Care Package Assortment Gift Box, $60 for 100 bags
I told our Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, that I thought this would be a good gift for a hungry college student and she typed back: "Or anyone who likes snacks!" She has a good point, considering I've been out of college for more than 13 years and I'm hoping someone buys this for me. It comes with 100 snack bags packed inside a decently cute cardboard box.
3. Ippodo Matcha, $27 for 20 grams
Ariel Knutson, our News & Culture editor and resident matcha expert, drinks this stuff every day. She says it has the best flavor, is always fresh, and never clumps up. Get this for anyone you know who's trying to cut back on their $10 splurges.
4. Personalized Dog Treats, $15 for 10 treats at GoodDogTreatBox
Dogs need holiday presents, too! These treats are made of peanut butter and garbanzo bean flour — and they're stamped with Fido's name! Order a custom message up to nine letters per line and two lines total. Because dogs can read, right?
5. Hello Fresh Gift Subscription, from $60
For your friend who wants to cook more but doesn't seem to have the time. This gift subscription cuts out the most time-consuming part of cooking dinner: planning the menu and grocery shopping. Get them a basic subscription to start and, if they like it, consider renewing it for a birthday gift later in the year.
6. Seedlip Garden Non-Alcoholic Spirits, $46 at Terrain
Instead of a generic bottle of booze, consider picking up this trendy, non-alcoholic spirit replacement. It's an herbal mixer (containing peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary, and thyme) that's inspired by the 17th century apothecaries. Put a ribbon around the neck and tell the recipient to pair it with tea, shrubs, or any other mixer.
7. Hey Boo Coconut Jam, $12 for 10 ounces
If this jar looks familiar to you, it may be because we featured it in this list of the 25 best condiments with a cult following. It's like a coconut-y version of lemon curd and would be great on those shortbread cookies that seem to be in abundance this time of year. Actually, if you had time, you could even make some to go with this gift.
8. Sudden Coffee, $24 for eight
Some seriously fun advancements are happening in the world of instant coffee (read: It's actually good now!). This single-origin instant coffee is a favorite among Kitchn staffers, thanks to its fruity notes and total lack of bitterness. Plus, I love the vial packaging because it's cheeky and also easy to pack in an overnight travel bag. Any coffee nerd will be happy to get this for the holidays.
9. Soom Foods Pure Ground Sesame Tahini Paste, $17 for two, 11-ounce jars
I'm not exaggerating when I say this the best tahini you can get in the United States. Unless your friend has been to Israel, it'll be the best she's ever had. (And if she has, well, it'll still rank pretty high on her list.) It's rich and creamy with an incredibly fresh and nutty flavor. Wrap up both jars for one friend or split them up and cross two people off your shopping list.
The meatiest gift of all, this charcuterie box includes chorizo, pork sticks, and two salami-ish options — all from Olympia Provisions, a favorite purveyor of ours here at Kitchn. Bring this to a holiday party when you're trying to impress the host (your boss, maybe?) or wrap it up for your favorite meat-eating friend.
Do you have a go-to food gift that you like to wrap up for the holidays? Tell us about it in the comments below!