Five years ago, I gave my mother the perfect (for her) Christmas gift. It was a German cookie jar that featured a rosy Santa feeding doey-eyed woodland creatures. My mother—who is notoriously difficult to shop for—happens to collect German-made Christmas décor, woodland creatures, and Santas. It was as if God placed this cookie jar in my life purely to give to her. She loved it.

The BEST holiday and Christmas gift ideas for everyone on your list! Includes cheap gifts, gifts for guys, secret santa gifts, gifts for girls, and more!

Every year since that successful day, my mom has asked me for a gift receipt within hours of opening my gift. This year, I’m requesting a wish list.

Although I derive great pleasure in finding just the right gift for the people nearest to me, finding said gifts is time consuming and can leave me scrambling—and purchasing Starbucks gift cards on Christmas Eve.

In case you find yourself in a similar situation, I though I’d share a few of my favorite holiday gift ideas. This mini gift-guide is loosely broken into sections by price and interest, and it includes both items I’ve used and loved for years and fresh finds that caught my eye. Not surprisingly, this guide guide is heavy on the kitchen gear, so if you have an aspiring chef, ardent home cook, or college student in desperate need of culinary equipment in your life, it may be especially useful.


For food lovers, travel enthusiasts, girly girls, and manly men

 Fun, Girly Gifts Under $35

Volcano CandleCreative and affordable Christmas gift ideas—Luxury Candle. This pretty candle will make your entire house smell like Anthropologie within a few moments of being lit. It’s pricey, but you only need to burn it a few minutes at a time for full, scented effect.

Aveda Dry Remedy Oil: Perfect for ladies who straighten their hair. A few drops keep the ends looking glossy and healthy. A single bottle will last for months and months.

Aveda Thickening Tonic. No root volume? No problem. I think of this as a hair miracle in a bottle.

Creative and cheap Christmas Gift idea: Custom coffee mugs from EtsyToo-cute-to-be-true Coffee Mugs. I could fill my cupboards with custom coffee mugs from both Printable Wisdom and Sweet Water Décor.

Bare Minerals Moxie Lip Gloss. I received this for a gift and fell in love. It’s light, not goupy with a refreshing bit of mint.

Benefit They’re Real Mascara. For giant, gorgeous lashes.

Manly Gifts Under $30

A Notre Dame grill spatulaGrill “Sportsula Flip burgers and support your favorite college team.

Snazzy Pocket Squares. For the dapper gentleman in your life.

Super Hero Socks. Complete with cape.


Holiday-Gift-Idea-for Guys-College-Team-Pint-GlassesCollege Team Pint Glasses.

Flash Light Grill Tongs. Don’t let darkness interfere with your grill game.

NFL BBQ “Brand.” For those who are serious about showing their NFL spirit.

Outdoor Popcorn Popper.

Fun Gifts for Anyone

Fun Christmas gift idea for anyone: Complete book of New Yorker CartoonsBook of Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker.

The Game of Things. My favorite game to play with friends. And wine.

Catchphrase. Never gets old.


Gifts for the Booze Enthusiast

Fantastic Christmas gift ideas for everyone on your list, including this electric wine openerElectric Wine Bottle Opener. I made fun of this initially and am now obsessed.

iPhone Case Bottle Opener. Even better than a pocket knife.

Whiskey Stones. Keep your cocktails cold without watering them down.

The Little Black Book of Cocktails.

DIY Wine Cork Trivet KitThis one is pretty too.

Practical Gifts for Travel Buffs

Fantastic, cheap holiday gift ideas, including this portable cell phone battery charger. Mini Pocket Cell Phone Battery Charger. The best $12 I ever spent. This mini cord connector to go with it was the best $6.

Packing Cubes. For a frequent traveler, these are a lifesaver.

Mini Hair Dryer with Convertible Voltage. Small but mighty and can be used abroad.

 And now…Holiday Gift Ideas for Kitchen Enthusiasts (or college students with empty cupboards)

Kitchen Gifts Under $30

Cheap-Holiday-Gift-Idea-Cookie-ScoopsCookie Scoops. Perfect for cookie dough, ice cream, muffins, and more.

Baker’s Half Sheet. From roasting veggies to baking homemade pizza to making sheet cake, I use these almost every single day.

USA Pans Bakeware. I’ve used almost every brand of bakeware out there, and USA Pans are my favorite. Nothing sticks to them, they’re easy to clean, and my goodies cook evenly and brown beautifully every single time. In addition to this entire set, you can find lots of individual pieces here.

The Brownie Pan for corner lovers.

Creative, affordable Christmas gift ideas for everyone on your list!Olive Oil Drizzler. I keep this on my counter and use it almost every day.

Mandolin. Slice like a boss.

Digital Kitchen Scale. Surprisingly handy and versatile, especially for hard-core bakers or those who may be watching what they eat.

Silpat Mats. A must own for home cooks of all levels. Dishwasher safe, these are perfect for everything from cookies to vegetables, kand they keep food from sticking, cut down on parchment paper waste, and make washing pans a breeze.

Fantastic, cheap Christmas gift ideas for everyone on your list!Magnetic Measuring Spoons. They’re easy to store and two sides means less stopping your cooking to wash dishes.

Nesting Mixing Bowl Set. I love that these come with lids to double for storage and have non-stick bottoms.

Stainless Steel Measuring Cups. No baker can have too many.

Gourmet Ingredients Under $20. Put them together for a baking bundle!

Christmas gift ideas for everyone on your list! For the baker, try pure vanilla extract. This post contains many other gift ideas tooPure Vanilla Extract. Real deal! Here’s a bargain buy option too.

Vanilla Bean Paste.

Good Chocolate. For baking…and eating. I love Ghirardilli and Guittard is a splurge. (I couldn’t find reasonably priced Guittard option online, but many grocery stores carry it.)

Espresso Powder. One of my all time favorite “booster” ingredients. Add a bit to your hot chocolate or brownies to amp up the intensity of their chocolate flavor.

Creative gift ideas for everyone on your list. From Christmas gifts for guys, to secret santa ideas, to cheap Christmas gifts, this list has it all!Espresso Powder + Vientnamese Cinnamon Combo Pack. Two of my favorite splurge ingredients—great quality and flavor!


Cookbooks and Magazines

Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide. Perfect Christmas gifts for anyone on your list, like this fantastic cookbook by Ina GartenAny cookbook by Ina Garten. Make it Ahead is on my wish list, and Back to Basics and Foolproof are two of my go-tos.

Cook’s Illustrated. Some of the best tested recipes on the planet, plus the science behind them.

Martha Stewart Living. Classic.

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. This is the book I cook from more than any other. Every recipe is spot-on.

How To Cook Everything and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. Excellent, attainable recipes, plus dozens of ways to customize each to suit your pantry and preferences.

King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking and Baker’s Companion. Two of the most trusted cookbooks in my baking arsenal.

This list of Christmas gift ideas was a total lifesaver! Holiday gifts for everyone on your listDessert for Two. Perfected small batch baking, for those of us who love our dessert but need some quantity control.

Food52’s Genius Recipes is another on my wish list.

Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan is also on my wishlist. I just love Dorie. Her book Baking is another favorite.

High(er) End Kitchen Items
A list of Christmas gifts for everyone on your list. Ideas range from cheap Christmas gifts to special gifts like this stand mixer

KitchenAid Stand Mixer. The holy grail of baking appliances. I kiss mine good night. Just kidding. But seriously.


Le Creuset Dutch Oven. If our house ever catches fire, I’m ditching my wallet and saving this baby instead.

Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide. Christmas gift ideas for everyone on your list. For the gourmet: This beautiful braiserLe Creuset Braiser
. The other piece I’m saving.

Milk Frother. It might seem silly, but I received one for Christmas last year and  fell in love.

Countertop Oven. One of my all-time favorite appliances. I use this almost as much as my full sized oven. It’s just as accurate as a full size oven, but much faster to preheat and it uses less energy too. It’s perfect for roasting small batches of vegetables, reheating leftovers, or cooking frozen pizza. My pick for anyone who dreams of having a double oven but doesn’t have the space/budget, college students, and those who don’t have an oven at all.

Fantastic Christmas gift ideas like this all-in-one panini press and grill. Converts to a flat top griddle tooPanini Press/Electric Griddle. Once you toast your sammies, there is no going back. We even “panini” our PB&Js. This model has interchangeable flat plates, so you can use it as a flat top griddle too.

Set of 2 Calphalon Non-Stick Pans. NOTHING sticks to these babies. Perfect for sautéing veggies and scrambled eggs (a.k.a. the emergency dinner of champions).

Programmable Slow Cooker. I have and love this model.

Blender Bender

Holiday gift ideas for everyone on your list. For the cook, try this amazing and affordable immersion blenderImmersion Blender. A serious life upgrade, especially if you like making vegetable soups. (Top-of-the-line, cordless version here).

Ninja Blender. The individual smoothie attachment is perfect for small households.

Diamond Blender. An excellent, affordable all-purpose blender.

Cuisinart Food Processor. I purchased mine eight years ago, and it still works as well as the day I bought it. A food processor isn’t an “every day” appliance for everyone, but when you need it, you need it.

And if you are giving a gift to a food blogger…

Nikon D750 cameraCheck out a few ideas on my Photography and Food Blogging Resource Page.

Or just send chocolate.

Any gift go-tos of your own, (particularly for discerning mothers)? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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