What Are the Best (and Worst) Food Gifts to Give During the Holidays?

What Are the Best (and Worst) Food Gifts to Give During the Holidays?
Photo: nikkytok, Shutterstock

My husband arrived home from work yesterday with a little white box adorned with a sticker that read “Allie’s Cookie Co.” A colleague, grateful for his help on a recent project, had gifted him a collection of some of the largest, most decadent cookies I’d ever had the pleasure to behold. (For a better experience, please allow for 15 seconds in your microwave, the accompanying information pamphlet advised.) “This,” I told my husband, tapping the box several times for emphasis, “is the proper way to thank a person.”

I am a proponent of gifts of food for basically any occasion. Food can be celebratory during happy times and comforting during difficult times. My grandmother could count on receiving a yearly assortment of festive Cheryl’s Cookies on her birthday, and when my brother-in-law turned 40, I knew the only gift worth giving him was the gift of steaks (crabcakes from Ocean City, Md. would have done in a pinch, though).

Big anniversaries call for Fairytale Brownies. Christmas stockings exist to be stuffed with spicy mustards, beef jerky, pesto-flavored olive oil, and blackberry jam. I once received a sympathy gift of biscotti that was most welcome, and we’ve probably all had our fair share of Edible Arrangements over the years.

A consumable gift is among the most thoughtful of gifts, you see, because:

1. You probably do not need (or even want) more stuff, and

2. It will never go to waste — even if you don’t like the food you’ve been gifted, you can surely find someone else who will enjoy it in your honour.

On the other hand, maybe you’re tired of those Man Crates. Maybe the sight of one more Edible Arrangement is the very thing that will send you over the edge. Maybe you don’t want a box of hot sauce to arrive on your doorstep every month (weird, but OK).

Gift-giving season is upon us, so let’s compile a list, shall we? In the comments, tell me your favourite (or least favourite) food gifts to give or receive, be they from one of the big-name companies, a local place that’s willing to ship both near and far (I’m looking at you, Josh Early), or a store you know you can peruse every year for edible stocking-stuffers (World Market, is the answer).

I may use your answers in a future post.

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