Christmas gifts don't have to break the bank. Here are some useful but budget-friendly Christmas gifts for the relative or friend who loves to cook.
With the Christmas season approaching, it is best to start thinking early about the best gifts for loved ones. For gift-givers who have a friend or relative who loves to cook, here are some great ideas for Christmas gifts for the aspiring chef. In today's economy, the prices for these items will bring a smile to many shoppers' faces. In addition to helping home chefs in their cooking, these gifts will not add a lot of clutter to a small apartment-sized kitchen.
Budget Gift Ideas for the Chef – Christmas Presents That Won't Break the Bank
A set of ramekins – Ramekins are individual-sized ovenproof dishes that are useful for anything from single-serving pot pies, to desserts. They are also useful as prep bowls to hold ingredients while cooking. Ramekins are not expensive and come in a variety of fun patterns and sophisticated designs. The average cook may not yet have a set, but a set of ramekins will always come in useful.
A set of wooden spoons – Wrapped up with a pretty ribbon, a set of wooden spoons is far from being prosaic but can be a charming and useful gift. Every cook has a beat-up old wooden spoon that could be replaced with a new one, and they are always useful in the kitchen. Throw a wire whisk into the mix and you’ve got an even more useful Christmas present. And of course, they are affordably priced as well. This set is really unique, I love the grain!
A beautiful corkscrew: Sure, a bottle of wine might scream “hostess gift”, but the addition of a sophisticated, stainless steel corkscrew will pump up your gift’s chic factor and be used for years. A shiny new winged corkscrew can be purchased for $10 to $20 and will appeal to the receiver’s inner foodie. This cool electric wine bottle opener is under $25!
A cast-iron skillet – Sure, some gift-givers may not be able to afford the $200 Le Creuset enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, but a simple pre-seasoned cast-iron skillet by a budget-friendly manufacturer such as Lodge is a good budget alternative. Buying a pre-seasoned cast-iron skillet is essential – it will drastically cut down on the maintenance your gift recipient will have to do on it. A good cast-iron skillet will last a lifetime. Or, if you're recipient already has cast iron in the cabinets this rack might be a good idea.
An immersion hand blender – This is a tool not all cooks may have in the kitchen (many people will have a standard blender and will not buy an additional blender), but for around $30, an immersion hand blender is incredibly practical. Cooks can blend soups in the pot, make smoothies, and whip ingredients quickly and painlessly. Its small size makes it easy to store.
Hand Butter Churn – Flavored butter is a wonderful complement to a nice meal. A butter churn is a fun tool to have for special occasions. Plus, a hand butter churn is a great social activity for the family. Taking turns working toward getting the butter done is a fun activity for kids and adults.
Avoid: Cheap “Gourmet” Foods – They are packaged so cute and they do look delicious but the cheap gourmet food items you find at department stores during the holiday season might not be the best gift. Many home chefs have brands of ingredients they know produce consistent results. Keep these gifts for the White Elephant exchange or the kiddo who just LOVES hot cocoa.
Wrap Your Christmas Gift Nicely
Even a budget gift can be useful and chic, especially if wrapped up nicely. Spend a little extra time putting a ribbon on the package, and the end result will be much more impressive. Many department stores and malls offer free or cheap gift-wrapping services during the holiday season – be sure to take advantage of these services. If you're crafty, a personalized touch on the gift or the package will make your gift more special.
Armed with some useful gift ideas, shopping during the holiday season will not only be more focused and fun but will also be easier on the wallet.