Last minute gift ideas for the reader, the writer, the baker, the brewer, and the sewist!
The easiest is the Reader. I sent my littlest sister’s family boxes of books so each could peruse and pick. I know they are ecologically minded (as am I), so had no qualms about getting them at Thrift Books. I also get quite a few at Abe Books and Better World Books, but Thrift had a good sale at the time. Not sure of personal tastes, I got a wide variety – painless as they were inexpensive.
Now the Writer: How about a Lonely Planet Guide to a far-off place? Or a Russian-American dictionary? These are good idea-generators and might come in handy for details. Along a similar line, try a picture book of the Pantanal or the Congo. Pictures open the mind and writers need the aeration. The Audubon Society made a dozen different nature identification books a few years ago; I have birds east, birds west, amphibians, insects, clouds, reptiles and more. I have the Cornell University plush birdies that sing authentic songs. A writer might need a reference, or could be inspired by an oriole call.
The Baker. For the bread baker, try a pound of yeast or Kentucky sorghum molasses. Does the baker load the bread? How about a pound or two of dried cherries or almonds? For the sweets baker, try Mexican vanilla or several bags of different chips, like chocolate chunks, toffee bits, cinnamon chips, the odd stuff. Gee, they might like the cherries and almonds too. Try one of those cookbooks made by a church, the kind with the plastic binding and tons of homey recipes. For a baker who has everything, give a Bulgarian Yule Pastries cookbook or one on home canning in Dutch. Odd cookie cutters are always good!
Any brewer or wine maker can use cool, sealable bottles. Get ’em out of their comfort zone and give a mead kit or a book and six pounds of clover honey. A specialty ale or stout kit or set of ingredients would probable cause a thrill. Could he use a five pound can of boysenberry puree? You could fill a box with a thousand (new) bottle caps – they will be used eventually with fond remembrance of you.
Oh the sewist! A few yards of a beautiful cloth would spark imagination. How about a pickle jar (cleaned) filled with different colors of thread spools? Does she need a better or more cushioned chair? One cannot have too many scissors, and there are many different kinds of pinking shears now – they make scallops, waves, like that. For the budget-minded, fill a cloth sack or wooden box with all of the buttons you could find at the second hand store (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Tina’s Treasures). Perhaps the best gift would be raving about the wonderful thing she made you, and being honest about the fit so she can take care of it for you. That way she will see you wear it!