Has it happened to you? You forgot about the hostess gift and it is T minus 30 minutes (or whatever countdown/military thing goes here – you know what I mean). Anyway, you are late and frazzled and uninspired and have only time to go to the nearest supermarket. Not to worry!
Almost any supermarket will do – I went to Whole Foods (super score), Roche Brothers and Trader Joe’s – They have gift things year round anyway but even more now. Flowers, plants, greenery, a given. How about a cinnamon broom? The one pictured is from Trader Joe’s but Whole Foods has them, too. You can decorate it on the fly if you have ribbon and an ornament in your car (don’t laugh, sometimes I do).
There were packages of candy (chocolate covered graham crackers, nonpareils – on sale) in Whole Foods that would be great poured into a mug from the kitchen section (you can do this while you are running down the aisle to the checkout, I tried). Add to it package of drinkable chocolate and marshmallows or some divine coffee or tea. Great housewares in Whole Foods in general and also at Roche Brothers which has a nice Stonewall Kitchen section (I almost bought myself a brightly colored bowl, some sweet wooden spoons and pretty dishcloths but then I calmed down and didn’t. Sometimes, I do buy myself gifts like my new Smartwool socks. Sometimes I use my secret cache of gifts for last minute gifts…shhh).
Anyway, it’s also pretty easy to put together a gift basket at any of these markets – they even have baskets. Something edible is always a welcome gift. What to choose? A case of clementines, some pomegranates, some nice cheese and bread, a jug of cider (or wine if your store carries it) and some mulling spices (either sold pre-packaged or head over to the bulk section and mix your own). Don’t forget the health and beauty aisle and my local store even has toys (my standby gift for kids is Melissa and Doug’s triangle crayons and a notepad) and they have CDs and plants (great rosemary trees)
Here are some tips from the Whole Foods blog on greening your holidays.
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 1 small whole nutmeg
- 1/2 cup whole cloves
- 1/2 cup whole allspice
- Grated peel of one whole orange
Chip the cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice with a hammer. Place with other ingredients in a storage container. To use, place two tablespoons of mixture in a small muslin bag and add to four cups of beverage. Simmer. This recipe makes one and one half cups of mulling spice.
Mulling Spice with Cardamom
- 1 tablespoon cardamom pods, slightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon orange rind
- 12 whole cinnamon sticks
Combine first four ingredients. Put two teaspoons of the mixture into a small muslin bag and tie two or three cinnamon sticks to the top. Simmer in four cups of beverage. This makes a beautiful gift. Go to Pragmatic Mom’s site to see what great gifts she found at the gourmet market. She has exceptional taste and I am so looking forward to seeing what goodies she comes up with.
The 12 Days of Shopping
Dec 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?)