At our house, stockings have always been used to bridge the gap between waking up early on Christmas morning, and breakfast! The kids could attack their stockings, with individually wrapped, thoughtful gifts (mostly matching, of course), while the adults made coffee and stuck a pre-prepared casserole or coffeecake in the oven to heat. Whatever the tradition in your home, stockings can be a lot of fun, particularly if you theme them for the food lovers in your life!
Many of these also make great hostess gifts individually, so fill up a stocking or two and get a delighted friend in return! Most can be purchased on Amazon or directly from the producer.
While artificial extract really does work just fine, sometimes true foodies want to bake with a little extra oomph—and a touch of real vanilla can make a difference. The aroma is great, and you don’t have to let the teaspoon overflow to ensure enough vanilla flavor, either. We like the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract over vanilla beans—scraping feels like work, and Christmas is about making life more flavorful without extra work.
An Unnecessary Kitchen Gadget
Gadgets are just fun, but true foodies know they aren’t really required to cook well. Something like an avocado scoop or a brightly-hued peeler will make them smile. If you prefer practicality, you can’t beat an extra pair of kitchen shears. If they are like some of us, we use them and wash them so often that having a spare set is like gold.
A subscription to Bon Appétit
We read them all—all the food magazines, that is. Among our chefs and food experts, though, Bon Appétit consistently comes in with high marks for accuracy, trend worthiness, and interest. It satisfies the food and travel instincts that are within most foodies and would be a happy surprise if they don’t already subscribe. And, yes, we know a hard copy magazine feels like a luxury in a digital age. The Bon Appétit tablet edition includes the full version of the magazine plus exclusive interactive extras.
Olive or Balsamic Vinegar
Nothing says love to a foodie like a bottle of olive oil, and we are kind of in love with the ones from Temecula Olive Oil Company in California. Get them a membership, try a bottle of one of the oils or balsamic or try the sampler pack. It may not fit in a stocking, but who says you can’t put a gift nearby?
They won’t think you’re nuts if you give these pecans as a gift! We love the fresh, deep flavor of the ones from Providence Ranch in Texas. These were introduced to us as a snack, right out of the bag, or you can use them in baking or add to a salad or your holiday yams. You can also surprise someone with some Pecan Coffee—just the thing to wake them up on Christmas morning!
If you are going to give candy, we know you want something different, so take a look at Ice Chips Candy. It’s sugar-free and comes in decadent flavors like Chocolate Brownie and Salted Caramel. We also love the Toffee-Ettes from See’s and have been known to buy these in enough multiples to fill every stocking in the neighborhood.
Don’t tell anyone, but this year we are gifting candy from Trader Joe’s—their pistachio toffee covered with dark chocolate is a favorite, along with the chocolate dipped cherries. One more: the salt water taffy from Tortuga Rum Cakes. It’s something just a little out of the ordinary that will make your friend melt-in-your-arms if that’s your goal! Candy somehow got taken off the adult list when we all started watching our diets, but, c’mon—it’s Christmas. Cheat a little.
Jerky or Salami
If savory is more your style, you aren’t alone. It’s definitely trending up, as we accepted sweet and salty and now sweet and savory, or just savory as a treat. We used to stick a long salami snack in stockings before it was on trend, and it was always a hit. This year why not try a great Skinny Salami for a snack that’s high in protein, low in calories, and gluten-free. They come in six varieties, including Duroc Pork, Black Angus Beef, and All-Natural Lamb.
It’s not officially Christmas until you step up your hot chocolate game and indulge in sipping chocolate. You can get it from Firefly Chocolate, Askinosie, or make your own. It goes perfectly in a stocking and will bring lots of delayed delight through the winter months.
Wear What You Eat
You may balk at the idea of socks for Christmas, but go ahead—have some fun with it. There are all kinds of socks featuring food, like these Cookies & Milk socks from American Eagle, or these junk food socks from Absolute Socks. Why not stick a sock in the stocking!
Coal for the Naughty
When all else fails, there’s always a little coal for the stocking! We love the cinnamon-flavored candy coal from Hammond’s that packs a little extra surprise. Or, make a batch of our Christmas Coal In Your Stocking Cookies and package them up for some homemade fun.
Stockings are also a place where restaurant gift cards, local jams, hot sauces, and homemade treats all work great. So go ahead, fill the kids’ stockings with those small gifts that get the morning started—but don’t forget the adults have stockings, too.