Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide, 2010


I do believe this may be the first ever A Sweet Spoonful Gift Guide. And I’m excited to share with you a few things that are making me happy right here right now, and that may make a few of your loved ones smile as well. Gift guides are kind of a funny thing, aren’t they? They’re from a very particular point of view and perspective, so you’ll notice that mine are heavy on the treats and books. Shocking, I realize. Before we get started, have you ever stopped to think about what makes a really good gift? Something relatively unique that you don’t necessarily find in every big-box store. Something that will make people smile–that will indulge the senses or the imagination or the mind. I think you’ll find one or all of those things here. Happy gifting!


Blue Chair Fruit’s Jam Club! I first discovered Rachel’s brilliant jam at a festival in Oakland last summer, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Her seasonal jams use the very finest Northern California ingredients, and her jam club allows you to give the gift of morning happiness! The membership, available in 6 or 12 month increments, ships 3 jars of jams and marmalade every 2 months.

Sweet Revolution Caramels This Bay Area company specializes in organic honey maple caramels with sweet, sweet packaging. I’m particularly curious about the Maple Honey Caramel Spread.

Jme Tea: Jaime Oliver does it again with his amazing packaging; these teas run the gamet from classic English breakfast to Mango & Passion fruit. When it comes down to it, I’m just a sucker for that little tin.

Monthly dessert subscription from Tell Tale Preserves. These folks are in my backyard and I’m a big fan of the innovative sweets they’re putting out there, and the fabulous idea of having a monthly dessert bag delivered to your doorstep. Yes, please.

Kitchen & Home

home gifts

Julia’s Genius Throw from Anthropologie: this is the kind of blanket I’d have draped on my couch if I lived in a Berkeley craftsman. But I think, wherever you live, this would be a cozy addition. I love its haphazard patches and muted colors.

Russian doll measuring cups from Seltzer Studios: Russian dolls make me smile. My grandma collected them. These would be a perfect gift for folks who have limited space in the kitchen or for the friend who has everything.

Red Studio Mug Pair from Heath Ceramics: I know, I know. I’m biased seeing that I work at the shop part-time. But from the second I saw these guys, I couldn’t stop staring.

Flour Sack Tea Towels: from the House of Bouton’s Etsy shop. Her designs fluctuate, so check back often–A great way to dress up the table!

Books & Magazines

Canal House Cooking Collection: Does Canal House really need an introduction? In short, these are visually stunning little quarterly cooking tomes organized by the seasons. For the holidays they’ve bundled the first 3 in a sweet little box. If you jumped on the Canal House bandwagon a bit late like I did and don’t yet own the first 3, this is your chance. Order soon–they’ll sell out.

Alice’s Cookbook by Alice Hart: I’ve been hearing quiet rumblings about this book for a few weeks now and for good reason. Quadrille Press is putting out a new series of books focusing on undiscovered talent and Alice Hart is leading the way. She’s actually in her 20’s, so this would make a great gift for someone just starting to get into cooking but really, Alice’s book is lovable in its simplicity and distinct point of view. I’ve fallen for it, and am looking forward to trying her dhal soup, sweet potato samosas, and stickiest gingerbread.

One Big Table by Molly O’Neill: This has been a banner year for cookbooks and there’s so many I could name and recommend for you here. However, I’ve chosen One Big Table for the 2010 Gift Guide because it will appeal to a broad range of folks from more advanced chefs to bakers to occasional dabblers. Molly spent nearly a decade traveling the country and gathering recipes and stories for the book mostly from everyday people like you and I. The result? 600 pages of truly exciting American recipes (and photos), proving, as Molly intended, that cooking is a living art. Standout recipes (for me) include Nora Ephron’s chocolate cream pie and Flo Baker’s yellow cake (book not pictured above).

Lines and Shapes is a great little art and design collective, putting out books and other more impromptu publications with a visual aesthetic that I fall for each time. They’re great. And they’re bundling some of their lovely books together for holiday gift-giving. I recommend Sundays are for Lovers and Brooklyn Diary.

Remedy Quarterly is a great food-ish magazine by stylish blogger and savvy writer, Kelly Carambula of Eat Make Read. For the holidays, Kelly is bringing together the first three issues in a nice little gift bundle. Support small publications this year!


Ecote Canvas and Leather BackPack from Urban Outfitters: Rugged, bookish, and roomy. Sold.

The Pro and Con ring from Sundance: For us type-A worriers this is a great find. One piece of it (the pro side) is raised while the other piece (the con) is recessed in a complimentary divet. Symbolizes tough decisions … but really, just looks pretty great.


giftsPhoto calendars by my blogging friend, Lecia Phinney. If you’re not familiar with Lecia’s blog, A Day That is Dessert, she’s a fantastic photographer and has turned 12 of her favorite images into a charming yearly calendar.

Personalized note cards or stationary from Brooklyn-based letterpress gurus, Sesame Letterpress is sure to impress. You can choose their ready-to-buy modern graphics or have your own stationary printed. Here’s to sending handwritten letters in 2011!

Love this designer portable digital FM radio from Orla Kieley. I think no matter what station it was tuned to, I’d be happy just listening along.

Booze aficionado in the family? Delight them with one of these pretty flasks!


  1. Lecia

    Great gift guide, Megan. I've had my eye on the russian doll measuring cups for a while now - so cute! You've given me some ideas - thank you. And thanks so much for the mention! xoxo

  2. Janet

    Ahh, I love your choices. I want it all! Why can't I be rich and have everything I want, ever? That Orla Kieley radio is so, so cute.

  3. Rachael

    great guide! now i am excited to see what's under the tree for me! x0.

  4. Dmarie

    those Russian stacking doll measuring cups are so clever. if I weren't trying to be more minimalist, they would so be mine! thanks for the great suggestions

  5. Danielle

    I'm with you on the mugs - still thinking about them from our last visit to the factory store ;) Love this guide!

  6. Dana

    What adorable measuring cups!

  7. Mary

    Stellar list, Megan. You've given me some great ideas for gifts. And I can't wait to check out Remedy mag and Sesame Letterpress. Finally, please do my wallet a favor? Maybe do your holiday gift guide every other year.

  8. Anne Zimmerman

    Now if you could just help me out with what to buy for other people. Will Marge have gift sized stuff at the pop-up farmer's market?

    1. megang

      Hi Anne!
      We'll have bags of our Oreos in packs of 3 that'll hold over beautifully until Christmas. And of course, sweet bags of granola :)
      Glad you liked the list!

  9. Allison @ icookedit

    Hi Anne-

    I know just who wants those caramels….me! Should I send my mailing address?

    I think we might have identical taste. Thanks for the great ideas.

  10. Maddie

    This is so lovely, Megan—I've already bookmarked a few items for my loved ones. And I hope that this time next year, we'll be seeing some Marge delicacies making their debut on the list! :)

  11. Sesame matt

    Great guide... Flattered to be included!

  12. El

    Great suggestions. Thanks Megan!

  13. Denise | Chez Danisse

    Fun guide. I'm a big fan of Canal House. They are always so inspiring. I hope you are happily baking this holiday season!

  14. Andrea

    I love these gift ideas. No joke, i bought the red mugs. Unfortunately I then received an email that it would take 4-6 weeks to be delivered. So my best friend might be getting a delayed gift but they're still awesome. I wish those russian doll measuring cups were in stock though!

    1. megang

      Oh no, Andrea! Really...they're out of stock?! Geesh. Must've sold a bunch this week. Give your friend a little photo of them and she'll have something to look forward to in January. Happy holidays!

  15. Cathy Curtis

    Hi Megan,
    Love gift guides and yours is great!
    I didn't know Molly O'Neill had a new cookbook out and love the Sundance ring.

  16. Elizabeth Howes

    What a fun roundup! I'm with you, that green tea tin from Jaime Oliver is too cute for words. And, those caramels! I could probably eat a case on my own. Thanks for the inspiration!

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