If 10,000 hours of doing something makes you an expert, then I’m an expert on last minute gift shopping. I always plan on doing my Christmas shopping early, like say, in March, but of course I don’t, and then sometime around December 18th, I see someone’s advent calendar on a social medium and it’s in the single digits and I pass out face forward into my hot cocoa from I-haven’t-even-done-one-minute-of-shopping shock.
Anyway, here is a very quick roundup of gift ideas for the last minute gift giver who likes to buy people things they can eat. It took me 30 minutes to put together, and should take you roughly about the same amount of time to click, buy, and then go make some eggnog punch. I’d love to spend more time on it, but I can’t, because I have to clean up all this spilt hot chocolate and then go shopping and then invent an app that does all your shopping for you, in March, then delivers everything wrapped and ready to go in mid-December, along with a bottle of chilled champagne so you can toast your brilliance, and a smartphone wielding monkey who will send smug pictures of you doing so to all your harried fellow procrastinators. I think that app will be a bestseller for sure.
1. “Of the Month” Clubs
“__ of the month” clubs are the edible gifts that keep on giving, reminding the giftee on a monthly basis that you are a wise and generous person with very discerning taste. Prime picks are Olympic Provisions’ Salami of the Month Club, Miss Zumstein’s Cookie of the Month Club, and The Sugar Cube’s Pastry CSA Program.
Note: This type of gift is not recommended for people who hate regular reminders that time is passing and they are aging, or people you think you might possibly be broken up with around shipment 2 or more.
2. A Bag of Chocolate
The best gift you could ever, give/get, ever, is a bag of chocolate. Not a bag of Hershey’s miniatures from the holiday sale bin at Walgreens, a bag of superb chocolate, like the kind piled all over the place at Cacao, Alma Chocolate, and The Meadow, especially the brand new location on NW 23rd, which has over 500 bars on the wall. Buy an interesting assortment of bars, bon bons, barks, etc, then buy a cute bag, then put the chocolate in the bag. Use glittery red tissue if you feel extra fancy. Done. How can giving people so much happiness be so easy?! I don’t know. For the aforementioned and more cacao sources, check my website’s chocolate section.
3. A Bag of Chocolate And Other Stuff
Okay, I get it, there are people out there who do not embrace The Cacao Diet (the name of my soon-to-be-published new diet book, coming summer 2014!)(just kidding, I wish), which involves eating a diet that’s 90% chocolate-based, and that’s fine (not really). But you can still put together a pretty awesome Christmas Bag for these folks. Just walk into one of our city’s fine one-stop-foodstuffs-shopping purveyors and pick up the following local goods: a stick of salami, a jar of preserves, a wheel of cheese, a bar of chocolate, a bottle of olive oil, a box of tea, a bag of coffee, a tin of salt, a bag of hazelnuts, a bottle of wine/champagne, etc. My favorite specialty sundries meccas are: Cheese Bar, Cyril’s, Pastaworks, Foster & Dobbs, and Woodsman Market. You can also put together an awesome local spread just by shopping at your neighborhood New Seasons Market, which you’re going to have to hit at some point anyway to stock your holiday larder. See? So easy. Use the same bag and glittery red tissue mentioned in the last gift idea, or better yet, use one of Modern Artifacts’ gorgeous woven baskets.
4. Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces, 2nd Edition
Obviously, I think you should buy the food lovers in your life a copy of the brand new edition of Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces. It’s very fresh and updated, comes with a cute Eat Sheet bookmark to check off your facestuffing achievements, and I will even gift wrap it for you. Shipping is free and if you order today, you’ll get them by Monday or Tuesday. Pair the book with a gift certificate to one of the delicious eateries within, and you are done. Other great food related books you should get are the new edition of Cindy Anderson’s Portland Happy Hour Guide and Paul Gerald’s Breakfast in Bridgetown. All can be found at our own beloved Powell’s, who gets five gold stars with extra frankincense and myrrh on top for supporting us local authors.
You might also want to buy the pie, croissant, or pickle-obsessed person in your life one of these delicious Wordcake iPhone cases. Free wrapping and shipping included.
5. Forktown Food Tour
One of Jessica Kleiderman and Heidi Burnette’s delicious, relaxed, knowledgeable and very fun Forktown Food Tours is an excellent gift to give people on Christmas Day, or if they are staying at your house right now and are kind of irritating, pre-Christmas Day.
There are three tour routes, covering downtown and the Pearl, the Alphabet District, and North Mississippi, all very tasty hoods. You can take a pre-ordained Forktown tour or schedule a private one for your loved ones. Maybe even for tomorrow! Maybe even all three for tomorrow! You are so nice.
6. Portland Growler Company Ceramic Growler
I came across these guys at a holiday gift fair, and not only are they pretty much levitating with positivity and happiness, which is always a nice thing in a person, especially in a time of year when the average Portlander is so stressed they resort to such uncharacteristically grinchy behaviours as cutting in the Salt & Straw line and, gasp, honking at other drivers, but they also handmake these sincerely gorgeous ceramic beer growlers, which come in a variety of colors and handles. You can even buy an exquisite wooden carrying crate in the event that you need to transport a bunch of them around. Excellent paired with a handful of gift certificates to a few of Portland’s amazing craft breweries, a best-of list of which can be found here in my website’s beer section.
7. Quin Candy
We’ve all heard the tragic news about Saint Cupcake being no more, but like Celine Dion’s heart, bakeress extraordinaire Jami Curl’s sweet skills go on, and in case you don’t follow her on Instagram and know every single candy move she makes, just go down to the tiny, exquisite Quin Candy Shoppe in downtown’s Union Way and stock up on Dreams Come Chews, maple and cracked black pepper caramels, and Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Black Licorice. The shiny silver bags fit in a stocking, they fit in a gift bag, they fit in your stomach (take the candy out of the bag first).
8. Passport to Tipsytown
As anyone who has used theirs to get to Dublin, the Loire Valley, or the real Oktoberfest knows, passports often lead to drinking too much, but there’s really no need to buy an expensive flight to do that, because here in Portland, we have in-town passports that will show your favorite roving drinker a very good time. There’s the PDX Urban Wineries Passport, the Distillery Row Passport, and the wide-reaching Passport to Sip for wine country lovers. Sober driver not included, so drum one up before using these.
9. Hot Leather Not Involving Karlie Kloss
Maybe Santa is refusing bring you Karlie Kloss in the new Tamara Mellon leather legging boots, but there’s still plenty of hot leather to be had this season. Check out Tanner Goods’ charming “Good For One Drink” coaster collaboration with prolific local design duo OMFG Co., Pendleton’s elegant motor robes with leather carrying case, and Will Leather Goods‘ handsome bridle leather-accented cutting board.
10. Get Some Experience
Studies have shown that people really like experience gifts, sometimes even more than jeweled or wheeled gifts. (!!) So put together a quick three-stop progressive experience for someone you know well, like this: 1)A $10 gift certificate to St. Jack patisserie, 2)a $25 gift certificate to Löyly day spa for a two-hour hangout, 3) a $25 gift certificate to nearby Broder; then make them a little itinerary—9am: Coffee and a warm croissant at St. Jack, 10am: You time + the exceptional house tea at Löyly, 12:30pm: Brunch + hot staff ogling at Broder. You get the idea.
I’m slightly obsessed with tea in general, and while my daily brew is usually Steven Smith‘s Jasmine Silver Tip, or Harney & Sons’ Paris blend (the tin alone is addictive), I love Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants’ Yoga Blend, especially when I want something caffeine free. It’s a very soothing mix of honeybush, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, and nettles, and according to the tin, it aids digestion, which is always nice for a facestuffer. Give your favorite tea enthusiast a tin plus a gift card to one of our many excellent local yoga studios, many of which are running holiday specials right now–beautiful Mandala up on Mt. Tabor is offering 50% off monthly unlimited yoga class cards, CorePower is doing $100 gift cards for $80, and loads of studios are offering cool January workshops and classes.