Halloween is over, the costumes are put away and you’ve eaten all the candy. Well, at least the good stuff. So maybe now it is time to look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Maybe even do a little gift buying.
Not that I’m into marathon mall shopping, leaving the family on Thanksgiving to hit the sales or going into debt to buy materialistic crap for people who don’t need it and will probably return or regift it anyway.
No, I don’t pay attention to Christmas creep or watch or read ads that say this is the must have/buy for the holidays. I much prefer to give the gift of good food, good company and holiday cheer.
I wish more people believed in the old ways when a holiday was best celebrated with a feast, a nice wine or homemade gifts.
I might give a bottle of wine or extra virgin olive oil to a dear one but my preferred gift is to schedule a holiday meal with someone so we can celebrate with a feast at somewhere fun and spend time catching up. My treat.
I wish more people believed in the old ways when a holiday was best celebrated with a feast, a nice wine or homemade gifts and not with a generic gift card or some expensive doodad no one really needs. Is there really anything we need but more time with our loved ones?
And what better way to enjoy their company than to bond over food, whether you prepare it for them yourself or you invite them to a favorite restaurant.
If I can’t do that because of geography, then I will send them food to share with those they are around. I start doing that in November so they can share with their local family and friends on Thanksgiving or Hanukkah or whatever holiday or football game they are celebrating at this time of year.
Here are some of my favorite food sites for holiday shopping. No parking problems, no long lines at the post office.
Dean & DeLuca started in 1977, before the current foodie craze, offering New Yorkers edibles from across the globe. The website offers wonderful gift baskets, whole holiday feasts, kitchen gadgets and cookbooks galore. Surely you know someone who would delight at opening a box of specialty caviars and pates?
Even older, dating from 1934, is Harry & David. Known for its Royal Riviera pears and fruit-of-the-month club, this company today features a ton of holiday gift baskets, savory foods, sinful desserts, wines and even flowers and plants. This website has a little something for everyone on your list.
But if your list, like mine, includes Texans, wannabe Texans and ex-pats, there are two Lone Star companies whose websites you’ll want to visit.
First is Houston's Goode Company web store where you’ll not only find their famous mesquite smoked brisket, slow smoked ribs and sausage samplers but also gift boxes with Texas seasonings and cookbooks and, of course, the famous Brazos Bottom pecan pie. This delicious dessert made with Texas pecans and farm eggs comes in a wooden box branded with “Made in Texas.”
What I love are the gift baskets, full meals and simple extras that range in price from easily affordable to huge spreads that will make your recipients think you’re from oil wealth.
Goode Co. BBQ has been baking this from the Goode family recipe since the first store opened in 1977. It makes a great gift.
And then there’s my go-to site: New Braunfels Smokehouse. No, I wasn’t around in 1952 when the family-owned ice house/ former brewery opened its first tasting room in New Braunfels, but as a teen in San Antonio my family regularly ventured north to shop in New Braunfels and stop by the smokehouse for lunch. Since those days the little smokehouse has grown into a major catalogue/web business selling its hickory-smoked meats, cheeses and snacks around the world.
What I love are the gift baskets, full meals and simple extras that range in price from easily affordable to huge spreads that will make your recipients think you’re from oil wealth. Whole smoked turkeys and game hens, serious sausage packages, boxes of jerky, smoked cheeses, bread and butter pickles and jalapeno stuffed olives . . . and more.
Do add on some sweet and spicy mustard and maybe a jar of pickled okra. Oh, and when I order gifts from here, I also order a “celebration in a box” full of multiple Texas treats for my own holiday entertaining.