When it comes to Sur La Table gifts for the holidays, there are the classics: a great chef’s knife, a set of high-quality cookware, espresso makers that are nicer than my car*. Although any of those would be a big hit coming down the chimney, it’s fun to think outside the box/cappuccino cup sometimes and get creative with gift-giving. Who doesn’t love a present that’s not only perfect, but also unexpected?
Here, then, are 10 not-the-norm gift ideas for your consideration as you create your lists this holiday season (you’ve started those, right?), including a few twists on standard ones:
- Saffron. These tiny glass bottles of the Spanish spice make an excellent surprise stocking stuffer for the home cook. Pure Madagascar vanilla beans are another good choice.
- Raclette Party Grill. Meet fondue’s cool cousin. Melted cheese! GYO meat and veggies! I was first introduced to racletting (not a verb, don’t care) as a kid, when my parents took me to a dinner party. I was enthralled. I got to cook my own dinner in a tiny pan, right at the table? Determine my own meat-to-cheese ratio? Instant chef status! And so much fun! I’m definitely giving one of these to my family this year. Oh hey guys; spoiler alert.
- A pie dish… with a pie in it. Pie dishes are always a nice gift, particularly with all the fun colors available, but giving one with a home-baked pie in it adds an unexpected, personal touch. Add a “The dish is yours to keep!” handwritten note and you’re practically Martha Stewart (ps Martha, call me. I have so many questions). Some pretty ones here and here.
- Fancy olive oil. This one’s for all the holiday party-goers out there. Why show up with a bottle of wine that you panic-bought on the way over, when you can roll in with a bottle of this? Top-shelf olive oil is a real treat and makes a perfect host/hostess gift. If you’d prefer something more budget-friendly, our customer-favorite extra-virgin olive oil tastes amazing and is only $9.95. Tie a seasonal dish towel around the bottle to up the presentation factor and done.
- Movie theater-style popcorn maker. This thing is great, and not what anyone would expect in a home popper gift since it looks like a mini version of what’s used in movie theaters (it’s still larger than the average countertop machine, though, so make sure there’s space for it!). We use one daily at Sur La Table headquarters and it pops the best popcorn. Add some of this to the gift ensemble and you win December.
- Rösle pizza wheel. Nothing says, “You are a person of refined taste, and I celebrate you and your love of pizza” like the gift of a cutter that costs more than the whole pie. I mean, look at this thing! It’s the Tesla of pizza wheels. A real surprise showpiece for any discerning aficionado.
- Ornaments! Our ornaments not only look good on the tree, but they make cute gift flair, too. A few examples: the football ornament tied to a bow around game tickets; the chef’s hat on a gift card for a Sur La Table cooking class; a baguette ornament accompanying a verbal but contractually binding promise of a trip to France (and yes, I am speaking directly to my boyfriend here on that last one. Bonjour, buddy). You get the idea.
- A can opener. Don’t laugh! I’ll bet you lunch that at least one person in your life is struggling to open cans with a rusty old opener they’ve had since college. Go check their kitchen drawers. See? Gross. Stuff their stocking with this (or this super cool new one) to show you care. Take it from me; they won’t expect it, and that first time around the can without jamming will feel like a dream.
- Duck Press. Yes, this costs nearly $3K and is the stuff of French restaurant lore. No, I don’t know anyone who’s ever bought one. But I promised unexpected gifts on this list, so there you go. I dare you to name a single person who would expect to see one of these under the tree. That’s what I thought. Duck Press.
- Your new family heirloom. I know I’m biased, but we have such beautiful cookware at Sur La Table. Even though I’ve worked here for a few years, I’m still wowed every time I visit one of our stores. A special piece like this one is always a winner at the holidays, but if you take the time to add a favorite recipe, grandparent’s well-used wooden spoon, or picture of your family at the dinner table drawn by the kids to it (pro tip: attach with baker’s twine), it instantly takes the gift to a new, unexpected level. It’s not just about the meals they’ll make with it anymore; it’s about the traditions you’re keeping and creating together. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
*With no offense meant to my dream coffee maker, Jura, I’m kidding about the “nicer than my car” thing. Barely.
What are your favorite unexpected gifts, or twists on classic presents? Let us know by leaving a comment below. For more ideas, check out our awesome gift guides on surlatable.com, and this post full of gift picks for the cooks, bakers, families and entertainers in your life. Happy Holidays, everyone!