Take our word for it: You're going to blink and the holidays will be here. (Actually, Hanukkah is already happening!) On account of that, the Kitchn staff is working overtime to ensure that you are extra informed and prepared to shower the people you love with things that they will love.
We recently started chatting about the gifts we've received in our lifetimes that we've cherished most. Some are big, some are small, but they all have a lot of heart behind them. We spoke about these things so passionately that we thought we should share them with you!
These are the best, most thoughtful gifts we've ever received.
1. Mini Cocottes, $75 for three at Le Creuset
"I put these in one of the first gift guides I ever did for Food Network Magazine (many, many years ago). I loved them so much and my boss knew it, so she bought me my own set. It was so thoughtful and I think about her every time I pull them out, which is often because I use them to serve nuts and little candies whenever I have company over." — Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director
2. Mauviel Copper Pan, $175
"My mom gave me used Mauviel copper pans that she bought on eBay and I'm obsessed with them. Of course when I moved across the country, they came along with me." — Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor
3. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, $260
"I'd always coveted my in-laws' perfect minty green KitchenAid stand mixer, but I wasn't a big-enough baker to justify buying my own. One Christmas they got themselves a slightly larger mixer and wrapped up the clean, in-perfect-condition green mixer for me. I was so surprised and excited when I opened it! I use it only occasionally for meringues and whipped cream, but it works like a charm and sits proudly on my countertop every day." — Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor
4. Chef's Choice Five of Hearts WafflePro, $52 at Home Depot
"Growing up, my family was known for our waffles — not for the recipe (we just used a box of Bisquick), but for the fun heart-shaped pattern. My dad made them for my friends after sleepovers, and we loved breaking off the crispy hearts with our hands, then folding them in half to let the butter and syrup pool into the middle before devouring each one. To this day, my friends still ask if we can eat them when we're all back home. Last year, my mom bought my sister and I this very similar waffle maker so we can share the joy with our friends in Brooklyn." — Grace Elkus, Senior Food Editor
5. Vitamix 5200, $400
"My now-husband surprised me with a Vitamix one year for Christmas. I didn't ask for it and we hadn't ever talked about getting one, but for as much time as I spend in the kitchen and how much I love cooking, he knew I'd love it (which was an understatement!). I was so thrilled and surprised and still use it all the time." — Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor
6. Penzeys Spices, from $9
"When I moved into my own apartment, my dad, who is an incredible cook, put together a little spice kit for me including all the essential spices, seasonings, and dried herbs that he uses when he cooks. My family pretty much uses Penzeys spices exclusively, because they're the best! This made it so easy to feel at home in my new kitchen." — Emma Glubiak, Audience Development Associate
7. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, $30
"My aunt gave me a cast iron skillet years ago to be used for one sole purpose: roast beef. It's a family recipe and the skillet is part of the deal — my aunt's was passed down from her parents and it didn't get used for anything else besides a Sunday roast. While I love it for making my family's recipe, I will say I use it for a lot more these days!"— Sheela Prakash, Associate Food Editor
"My dad gifted me a used copy of this book back in 2005, and it is one of the few cookbooks that I still use every week. It has all of the classics — pie crusts, rolls, cookies, and muffins, as well as cake basics — and not a single recipe has failed me, ever. It is about as basic as cookbooks come, with just a few full color photos in the middle, but that I've used it as long as I have and it sits on my desk is a testament to what a useful, thoughtful gift it was." — Meghan Splawn, Associate Food Editor
What's the best gift you ever got during the holidays?