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! Eating...Our Words writers have found some of the best food and food-related items for everyone on your list, from pets and kids to the true gourmand, and are sharing some of their favorites with you this holiday season. Let's get shopping!
Whether for a friendly gift exchange, a white elephant party or a stocking stuffer for your family and friends, these local gifts that can be had for less than $15 will hit the spot:
5. Duo of Hot Sauces from Bravado Spice
Bravado Spice Co. started with two friends and a simple goal: to bring real flavor to America's hot-sauce market. One successful Kickstarter campaign, two more additions to the team and a season of Masterchef later (Team James!), the Houston-based company is well on its way to hot-sauce domination -- they even have plans to expand to international markets.
The reason behind their success? The incredible hot sauce, of course. Pick up a bottle of the sweet, spicy and bold Pineapple Habanero sauce ($7), the green apple and jalapeño San Patricio sauce ($7), or both at merchants like Phoenicia, Ruggles Green, Local Foods and more.
4. Whiskey Stones from Biscuit Home
Know someone who loves golf and whiskey (i.e., every guy you've ever dated)? Pick up this set of three golf-themed whiskey stones from Houston's own Biscuit Home. At just $14, they make the perfect stocking stuffer.
3. Locally Made Jam & Marmalade
You can find Garden Dreams Houston's homemade jams, salsas and marmalade ($6 to $9) on weekends at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market. Pick up a jar of kumquat marmalade, blueberry vanilla jam, or cranberry and jalapeño jelly from the market, or order a couple online.
For something a bit naughtier, try BRC Gastropub's famous sweet and spicy pork-filled Chile Bacon Jam ($15 for a pint).
2. Texas Frito Brittle
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The Chocolate Bar takes Texas's obsession with Fritos to the next level with this crunchy, salty and sweet treat made with a mix of pretzels, Texas pecans, milk chocolate and, of course, Fritos. It's a must-try, and at $8.95 for a pack, you'll be loved by both your wallet and the recipient.
1. Giftly Card + A Local Restaurant Tip
Not every local restaurant or shop offers gift cards. Enter Giftly, the 2013 way of gifting money. Sign up online to buy your loved one a brisket sandwich from Corkscrew BBQ, a pint of beer at The Petrol Station or a drip coffee at Bungalow with just the click of a button.
Just choose the dollar amount, suggest where the money should be spent (choose his or her favorite or share your bar and restaurant knowledge), and print out a custom card and envelope or send the gift through email, text message, facebook post or USPS. Once everyone registers, the gifted amount will go directly to your recipient's credit card so that person can use it as he or she pleases.