Life

EVERYBODY EATS: Recipe for the perfect gift

Gift giving gets easier with these goodies

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels. Photographed in North Liberty on Friday, November 9, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels. Photographed in North Liberty on Friday, November 9, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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Meredith Hines-Dochterman

It’s that time of year where people ask the dreaded question: What would you like for the holidays?

This was so much easier to answer when I was younger. It was easy to answer as a college student, too. It was even easy to answer in my 20s. But now that I am most certainly not in my 20s, the question that’s asked with great intentions leads to complete and utter blankness. It’s like when someone asks you to name your favorite book and you immediately forget how to string words together to reply.

Alas, I am just as guilty at putting this burden on others. I love giving presents. I am one of those people who shops months in advance, secreting away purchases until the holiday in question. I’m also guilty of giving these presents early, as I am terrible at keeping presents secret.

True story. I gave my husband his birthday presents early this year. Then I had to hustle to find something for him to open on his actual birthday.

Most of the people I know, besides my children, are at that age when they don’t want anything for the holidays. Hooray, we’re officially adults! If we see something that catches our eye, nine times out of 10, we can just buy it ourselves. The things we can’t purchase on a whim, like a new deck or window screens, typically aren’t presents your loved ones want to buy.

Could we all just agree home improvement projects are the new novelty socks?

My husband and I made the decision a few years ago not to get each other anything for the holidays. That lasted one year. Grown up or not, there’s a certain type of joy tearing into a wrapped gift that can’t be replicated, which is why I’m a big believer in food gifts.

Here’s the thing: we all celebrate the holidays differently. We celebrate different holidays. Some people have a birthday before the end of December and others, like me, have one after. We’re so diverse and yet there’s one thing we have in common: we all eat. That, in my opinion, makes food gifts the perfect present. We may not know what kitchen novelties our brother-in-law, great aunt or co-worker whose name we drew in the gift exchange own, but we can give them a cookie mix, yummy snack food, or hot chocolate gift set that will make the dark evenings a little brighter.

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The great thing about food gifts is that they can be as simple or as involved as you choose. For example, for your friend the coffee addict, you can mix up a few batches of homemade creamers and leave it at that. You can also go a step further and include a travel coffee mug or a gift card to their favorite coffeehouse. I love theme presents, so I tend to start with an edible treat and build from there. My siblings and I do a white elephant gift exchange, so for one of my offerings, I made homemade taco seasoning and paired it with dinosaur-shaped taco shell holders.

Personal and quirky; what could be better this holiday season?

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