The holidays are upon us, and that means it's time to show your buddies you care by buying them things they probably don't need. But there's no reason to shell out for an expensive ugly Christmas sweater that he'll never wear, or a tchotchke that will sit idly at the back of her closet, when you could give THE gift that everyone loves: food! We've found the best food and food-related items for anyone on your list, from pets and kids to the true gourmand. Many can be purchased in and around Houston, and some are available online and at major retailers. Let's get shopping!
Whether you're attending a dinner party, staying with family over the holidays, or are looking for a gift for a loved one who loves to host, we've got you covered.
Check out these 5 Hostess Gift Ideas; plus, we tell you where you can find them in Houston:
5. A Good Bottle of Olive Oil
Anyone who loves to host will greatly appreciate a quality bottle of olive oil. It's the perfect finish for bread, salads, appetizers and more.
Find it local: Check out Olive & Vine for a fantastic selection of fine quality oils and vinegars. Bottles are just $18 and come in flavors like blood orange, French roasted walnut, smoky chipotle pepper and herbes de Provence. Stop by the store for tastings or shop online.
4. Coffee Shop Sampler
Every sane being loves coffe...and if they don't, at least you can crack open your own gift and enjoy a cup at your host's house. Fill a wooden basket with tissue paper, gourmet coffee grinds and flavored syrups.
Find it local: Katz Coffee is a favorite of restaurants and locals for a reason...and that's because the fair-trade coffee company's blends are fantastic. Shop online for a selection of gourmet coffees -- including sampler packs and the proprietary blends created for the city's best chefs and restaurateurs, or grind it fresh at the downtown Spec's or your local Central Market, H-E-B or Whole Foods.
3. A Potted Rosemary Tree
A rosemary tree is pretty much three gifts in one -- the plant makes wonderful decor, the leaves bring a pleasant winter aroma, and the trimmings can be used to add a fantastic, fresh and woodsy flavor to your cooking for months. A small plant will run you about $10 to $15. Wrap it in fabric and a twine bow for a sweet and delicate touch.
2. Decorative Plate with Gourmet Desserts
Fill a decorative plate or cake stand with some of the city's best sweets, then wrap it in plastic wrap, slap on a bow and call it a day.
Find it local: Buy a dozen fluffernutters, moonpies or snickerdoodles from Fluff Bake Bar. There is no storefront just yet (check out Rebecca Masson's Kickstarter campaign to fund a storefront), but you can place an order online and pick up the goods from Revival Market. You'll find some of the city's best macarons at River Oaks' Macaron by Patisse. They come in holiday flavors like gingerbread and eggnog and are in stock at both the storefront on West Gray and the team's new location in The Galleria. Or head to Petite Sweets for an amazing selection of miniature treats, including cake pops, mini cupcakes, cookies and more.
1. Charcuterie & Cheese Board
Give the gift of meat this holiday. Check out the stock of discounted wooden cutting boards at your local Home Goods, then pick up dried sausages, gourmet cheeses and crackers to complete the gift.
Find it local: Head to Revival Market's butcher shop for a wide range of charcuterie, salumi and terrines. There you'll find everything from spicy Texas sausage to duck prosciutto. Check out the cheese section for Houston Dairymaids' selection of Texas cheeses, sourced from makers like Pure Luck, Pola and Veldhuizen. Newly opened Heights General Store also has a great assortment of fresh cheeses from across the state, as does The Woodlands' Hubbell & Hudson Market.