The Add to Cart Holiday Gift Guide  – Monica Burton

Various items, including a cocotte, tin of spices, and colorful blanket, on top of an illustrated background.

All the gifts guaranteed to delight during an unquestionably difficult year

Just about every aspect of the winter holidays looks different this year, including the act of giving gifts. In a normal year, many of us would spend hours browsing shops done up for the season, sometimes waiting to be drawn in by the store windows with the most sparkle (either literal or figurative). We’d then bring our finds home to lovingly wrap them as Love Actually or the latest Vanessa Hudgens Netflix vehicle played in the background. Finally, they’d be put aside until it came time to present them to their recipient, when we could witness the joy our excellent taste would surely bring.

For better or worse, that last part isn’t as likely to happen, if it ever really did. And yet, gift giving seems all the more necessary for getting back some of that usual festive feeling during an unquestionably difficult year. If anything, there’s increased pressure to be thoughtful, to send the things that will bring some light, or at least delight, to what can feel like a relentlessly dark time. I’m hoping that you’ll find some of those things here.

This year, one-stop shops that specialize in sending the perfect item directly to your recipient will be especially useful: You’ll see on this list gift sets that offer the complete package, even if they’re arriving in a nondescript cardboard box. There are gifts here for the enthusiastic home cooks, those who never tired of the switch to home-cooked meals (or at least never showed it). For the restaurant obsessive, there are things to remind them of dining out before quarantine, and ways to support the food businesses that are struggling to make it through the pandemic. For the person who has taken pride in sprucing up their quarantine abode, there are objects that will make time spent at home more pleasant. Plus, you’ll find the most giftable food and drink items, along with the crowd-pleasing kitchen gear that’s no stranger to guides like this one.

Because giving back is important for many in 2020, we’ve also selected options that allocate proceeds to charitable causes. But if giving to others is a bigger part of your agenda this holiday season, Eater’s How to Help guide is an excellent place to start. Whatever your style may be, happy giving.


Janet Sung is a Korean-American illustrator born and raised in New York.

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