I’ve had a few excellent gift-giving experiences. Once I had a friend ask for nectarines for her birthday. What did she get from me? Nectarines.
However, it’s not always that easy. We’ve waxed poetic about Martha Stewart here – this being the royal we. I’m obsessed with the concept of being a perennially put-together DIY queen who, while she’s already planned every gift imaginable for the next few years, she somehow also has an arsenal of fail-proof last minute gifts to lean on, just in case.
Well, that’s not me. (Yet!) Luckily, that’s just a small problem. We have the internet and Target. Just because we don’t know precisely which thoughtful but low-key gift to give someone doesn’t mean we have to resort to yet another Caribou gift card. Look, there’s that royal we again!
If you’re in the same boat as I am, read onward, because we have some ideas. If you are not, please link me to your Pinterest board.
“FESTIVE” LENTIL SOUP KIT
This one is for your gift recipient that is short on time or hates to cook. Think new parents and college students. This is one that you’ll have the ingredients to make a few of, or you can keep them all for yourself and have easy, hot, delicious soup several times over on cold nights… It’s up to you. And yes, there’s another mason jar.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- • Red lentils and green lentils. There’s the festivity!
- • Dried bay leaves, 4 per kit
- • Bouillon cubes
Combine lentils into a mason jar. Carefully slide bay leaves in along the wall of the mason jar, so they are facing outward, for flavor and decor. Lovingly nestle a bouillon cube or 2 at the top, and seal. Handwrite your go-to lentil recipe on a card. Don’t have one? Alton Brown has an easy one for Food Network that can be simplified. Tie the card around the top – this time the ribbon itself doesn’t have to be festive because these kits last forever and ever (almost) in the cupboard.
ALL-NATURAL DOG TREATS
This one is great for folks with their dog as their Facebook profile picture. If a loved one immediately came to mind, give this one a shot.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- • 2 almost-mushy bananas
- • 1 cup of oats, instant or rolled
- • Enough peanut butter to turn the 2 previous ingredients into a paste. It’ll be a few tablespoons.
Stir until the mixture vaguely resembles cookie dough consistency. Roll into balls appropriately sized for the canine in question. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the treats.
And you know these belong in a mason jar. Maybe with some pawprint stickers on it. Definitely with some pawprints drawn on the tag tied to it with the ingredients – that’s an important part. In case their dog has an allergy or sensitivity to any of these ingredients, they can discreetly pass them along to another dog mom or dad after your gift-giving duties have been fulfilled.
ESSENTIAL OIL SHOWER STEAMERS
Take a long, deep breath through your nose. Wait, you haven’t been able to do that since it dropped below 35 degrees? Good, that means I don’t have to go to the doctor’s office yet.
Let’s give these a shot. The best part is that you probably have all of these ingredients in your kitchen right now. (Unless, like me, you keep your eucalyptus essential oil at Whole Foods when not in use.) These hunks of aromatherapeutic goodness are even easier to use than they are to make. Pop them under the shower stream and let the steam do its thing to diffuse the oils.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- • 1 cup baking soda
- • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- • Eucalyptus essential oil, alongside any others you may love: lavender is the calming mainstay, mint will make it ultra-zingy.
Combine baking soda, starch, and 5-7 drops of eucalyptus essential oil into a glass or metal bowl, and slowly add water until pasty. Fill 2 tablespoons or so into any silicone baking molds, or a muffin tin with liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Then add several more drops of your desired oils to each steamer.As always, the perfect presentation is in a mason jar. Some festive ribbon, a cute to-from card with a description of how to use the steamers, and you’re done!