There are two important things to remember about gifts: 1. They are most loved when they are things that people think are too extravagant to purchase for themselves. 2. They always look more expensive when nicely wrapped. So this holiday season, when you’re stumped about what to give someone at work who you’ve said less than 5 words to or are conned into attending your boyfriend’s-sister’s-friend’s holiday dinner party, keep in mind these fabulous gift options. Each one is easy to locate, available in every price range, and somehow, looks incredibly thoughtful when gifted.
There’s a reason why bakeries stay in business. With gifting sweets, you’ve got your selection of artisan truffles, cupcakes, selections of gourmet chocolate bars – anything goes. And really, they will go. Fast.
Fact: everyone eats food. So, try and find gourmet options to bring to the table (literally). Look for authentic olive oils, imported balsamic vinegar, and top-shelf honeys. And don’t be afraid to fill a basket with an assortment of teas, coffee, and possibly a mug. It’s cute, simple, and a great gift.
Coffee Table Books
Oversized books are great gifts because they make any subject intriguing. So while you may not know your recipient well – if at all – it’ll seem like you do. Check out this list to get a few good ideas of which page turners to schlep to the gathering.
We understand that people like different things. After all, that’s why there’s such a variety of cuisines in the world (for which we are grateful). But there’s a plethora of recipes that, for one reason or another, appall the masses – many of them for Thanksgiving turkeys. So this November, give your guests something to be extra thankful for by not serving any of these birds.
The More the Merrier
Hope you’ve brought your appetite! The extravagant True Love Roast is comprised of 12 different birds – turkey, goose, chicken, pheasant, partridge, pigeon squab, Aylesbury duck, Barbary duck, poussin, guinea fowl, mallard, and quail – along with an array of different stuffing mixes. At 50,000 calories and 50-ish pounds, this impressive arrangement of protein serves 125 people. Take that, Turducken.
What’s scares us more than ghouls, goblins, and ghosts? Awful Halloween costumes. I mean, sure, we all are pressed for time, but it’s possible to still whip up something great for trick-or-treating. So, spare your kids the black trash bag witch ensemble and enjoy your white sheets without the custom eye holes – a completely clever and oh-so-original costume can be ready in a snap.
Up, Up, and Away!
Shazam! So they seek to transform into a defender of goodness who can turn fire into water, have superhuman strength, and fly around the globe at lightning speed? Perfect – because you can whip up a superhero costume that easily tops Batman’s. Colorful leggings are perfect for out-of-this-world bottoms. Just add a long-sleeved t-shirt, shiny fabric for a quick cape, and felt for belts and headpieces and you’ve got yourself a topnotch hero.
What little lady doesn’t dream of being a mermaid or a fairy or a ballerina? And luckily for you, it’s easy to make their dream come true with barely any sewing (phew). Take a leotard of whatever color you desire (pink for ballerina, purple for mermaid, green for fairy, or whatever) for your base. The skirt couldn’t be any simpler. Take a piece of wide elastic that’s 8-10% shorter than the measurement needed (so it stays put) and sew it into a belt. Purchase a few different colors of tulle. For example, if she’s opting for life under the sea, try to pick up not just green tulle, but light blue, aqua, etc, to make her costume more interesting. Cut the fabric into 6-inch thick strips and use a lark’s knot to secure the pieces around the elastic. For the mermaid, make the strips very long so that they reach the floor and give her fins by tying a piece of tulle around the bottom of the skirt by her ankles. Ballerinas and fairies don’t need long skirts, so make theirs short and cute – like a tutu. And don’t forget to add some flowers, seashells, and ribbons to her skirt and hair.
The last day of October has always been filled with a sort of spookily magical aura of alluring mystery and superstition. But not always quite like it is today. Actually, it wasn’t until about 80 years ago that the customs we now associate with Halloween came into fruition, though their roots can be followed back thousands of years.
Historians trace Halloween’s beginnings to a pagan Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The event was held on the eve of October 31st, lasting until November 1st, which is the date of their new year, and signified the need to stock up on food items in preparation for the winter months. They thought that this night was a time when the dead were among the living, so they dressed in scary animal costumes to ward off the evil spirits, danced around a special fire, told stories, practiced divination – the whole shebang.
During the 8th century, Catholicism began to make its way into Ireland and Samhain became integrated with the religious celebrations of All-Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. These holidays take place November 1st and 2nd, and are meant for honoring saints and those who have recently passed. All Saints’ Day is also known as Hallowmas, All Hallows, and Hallowtide (so you can guess where the current name for October 31st stems from). And the whole dressing up thing didn’t disappear, as you may have guessed. It was believed that All Souls’ Day was the spirits’ last time to get revenge on their enemies, so the Christians did what anyone smart would do: they made masks and costumes to disguise themselves. (Pretty sneaky, guys.)
Trick-or-treating also has roots in these Catholic holidays. For All Saints’ Day, people would make special breads called soul cakes that the poor would go door to door collecting in return for prayers. Thus, trick-or-treating was created. But this act of collecting didn’t gain popularity in North America until fairly recently.