I think posting this almost too late for it to be of use at all pretty much sums up how I feel about “the holidays.” First, I hate that it’s “the holidays.” It’s one of like, four holidays but we’re too PC to just say which one affects us so instead it’s “the holidays.” I suppose you could use the term to include whichever winter gift-giving holiday you subscribe to (Festivus, anyone?) plus New Year’s. But who gets freaked out about New Year’s? When people talk about stress from “the holidays” they are NOT talking about New Year’s. So there’s that.
Also, I’m a year-round giver, and I resent being forced to think of a bunch of things to give people all at once. In fact, I only exchange gifts with my family. All of my friends know they can give me things if it makes them happy, but I’m not returning the favor on December 25th. Like I said, sooner or later, at some point in the year, all of my friends receive random treats from me. I don’t need some calendar telling me when to be a good friend.
Finally, Christmas (and I’d imagine, other religious holidays) are especially fun if you: 1) believe in Santa, 2) believe in God, or 3) take genuine pleasure in making others happy. I subscribe to none of these ideals, therefore, Christmas, or as we atheists refer to it- x-mas – is just another day when Target isn’t open. When Teno is old enough to threaten with the naughty list Christmas will probably be more fun for me. And then he’ll be a teenager and he’ll hate everything I buy him and I’ll go back to my Grinchy old self.
So, those are my main reasons for not reveling in the season, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a constant list of things I want people to buy me. This year, I would like to share not only things I want personally (that I think you might also want, or that you might want to buy your friends and family) but also things that I have and think everyone else should have too. If I happen to own something I list here, I will review it honestly, although I probably wouldn’t list things that suck. There are lots of sites right now that will show you every product that comes out with a cupcake printed on it, so that’s not what this is all about. If you want something like that, definitely check out All Things Cupcake because they do it best. I’ve broken these things into categories: Baking Things (this includes pans, books, kitchen items, ingredients, etc.), Wearing Things (clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, etc.), Kitchy Things (gifties of all sorts for people who giggle about gnomes), and Crafty Things (handmade things that didn’t fit into the other categories and/or gifts for the crafty bitches you love).
I’ve set the links to open in a new window, so you can look around and not lose your place here.
Julie Hasson’s 125 Best Cupcake Recipes. It’s like my bible. 98% of these recipes are golden, and they leave a lot of room to get creative.
1M decorating tip. People always ask me how I get my frosting to look like soft-serve. This is how.
Americolor Soft Gel Paste. Someone bought these for me for my birthday last year and they’re really vibrant. The black can turn even the whitest buttercream to…well, black.
Kitchenaid Pro Line Espresso Maker. Ok, this might be a stretch for some people, but I got one for my birthday last year and it’s awesome. I use real espresso in recipes all the time not to mention make way better lattes than Starbucks.
Good vanilla. It doesn’t have to be this vanilla, it can be any good vanilla, or vanilla paste, or if you’re really awesome, vanilla beans. Buying a baker really nice vanilla is like buying most girls diamonds.
Good cinnamon. This is the actual cinnamon I always use, it’s cheaper in bulk and the flavor is really outstanding. You’ll never use groccery store cinnamon again.
Baking spices. Actually, while you’re at it… why not just go for it?
Really beautiful baking cups. These are worth the extra money, even chocolate cake doesn’t show through.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Hey, not-vegans. Buy this book, seriously. I’m not vegan and some of my favorite cupcake recipes are in here.
Sur la Table gift certificate. Gift certificates are always safe, but if you know a cooker or caker this is the one you want. Sur la Table has cute sprinkles, pans and all kinds of other fun baking stuff.
*There are a ton of things you can get for a baker’s kitchen. Stand mixers are on a lot of people’s wish lists for x-mas, and I’ll tell you I use mine for bread and for buttercream, but never for cake batter. If I use anything electric at all for batter, it’s my Kitchenaid 7-speed hand held. A stand mixer is going to give you tough cupcakes unless the recipe specifically calls for its use. Bakers can always use aprons (I highlighted some cute ones in Wearing Things), measuring cups and spoons (I have two sets of each, I wish I had three), rubber spatulas, candy thermometers, and of course things we run through like flour, sugar, really nice chocolate chips, baking pieces in all flavors… it never ends.
Modern June Aprons. My cupcake apron is almost too cute to wear, but wear it I do! Handmade, washable and adorable.
Jessie Steele Aprons. These are like, the Cadillac of aprons. When I got my first one I asked my husband if it would be weird just to wear it out like an accessory. He said yes.
Hand Mixer Necklace. I love this. A lot of baking-related jewelry is all cupcakes. This one covers all the bases.
Make your own sweets jewelry. Ok, this might be cutting it close, but a ton of people on Etsy just buy Re-Ment minis (see my Flickr to check out my collection) and glue them to rings or make necklaces out of them. This is where you can buy your own amazing food minis and make your own stuff to give your friends.
Happy Snack Food Purse. This is so cute, if I didn’t watch What Not to Wear religiously I would totally carry this. Not that you shouldn’t, just that… I’m too old.
Johnny Cupcakes Purse. I know it’s pricey for something that isn’t Coach or some other leather company we’ve all heard of, but JC is known for quality and this purse fucking rules.
Irregular Choice Shoes. I love to wear IC shoes and pretend I’m Alice in Wonderland. People go bonkers over them.
Custom Made UK purse. I have the Maxie Tote and I adore it.
*You will note I’ve left out all the cute donut, cupcake and other sweets-covered stuff you can get on Fred Flare, Victoria’s Secrets and even Target (who hasn’t coveted the cupcake boots, c’mon.) That’s not because that stuff isn’t all cute, but it’s because there just isn’t room to write about everything awesome. Just maybe some stuff you haven’t seen yet.
Anything from Retro Redheds. Oh my Godzilla, I’m obsessed with this store.
Cram Cream Mug– I always think I don’t need another coffee mug and then something like this happens.
All things gnome. If it were up to me, my yard would be full of them.
My Paper Crane Plushies. Often imitated, never duplicated. If you haven’t seen this/don’t own any you’re blowing it.
Typhoon Vintage Kitchen accessories. Holy hell are these cute. Choosing a color is the hardest part.
*Honestly, I could go on and on in this category. Check my favorites on Etsy for more kitchy gift ideas.
Circa Ceramics. Beautiful, unusual and Chicago-based!
Artgoodies Block Printed stuff. I heart my cupcake kitchen towel.
Sweet Art from Jenny’s Bake Shop. I would kill for the large bakery signs on her ebay shop.
Skullknockers. The octopus is my god.
Kung Fu Cowgirl Buttons. Holy cuteness. Tiny cookies and breakfast friends.
So Charmed jewelry. I’m not big on jewelry, what, being covered in tattoos and all, but this stuff is an exception.
DIY Buttons. And if you just can’t find the perfect little something for your friends, make buttons. Seriously. Everyone loves buttons.
Bake & Destroy. And of course, there’s always my shop.