As a Jew, I must admit that I'm somewhat of a novice when it comes to literal stocking stuffing. But I do spend a lot of time accruing small, affordable food-relevant objects for gifting and/or hoarding, which I figure is close enough. Here are some of my favorite oversize-sock-friendly items (yes, that's how I refer to your so-called "stockings") that any sane food lover would be delighted to own.
Bear Paw Meat Handler Forks
Are meat handler forks an essential kitchen tool? Nope, not one bit. But I can promise you one thing: you'll feel awesome using them. For those unfamiliar with the concept, they're basically slip-on Wolverine claws for picking up big, hot roasts, shredding meats and poultry, or just running around your home making growling sounds and feeling totally badass.
There are few activities that so easily produce the sensation of soul-sucking helplessness and all-around inadequacy as going head to head with a stubborn jar. A quality opener is a major game-changer, guaranteed to pop those lids every time—no dejected pleas, prying, smacking, or self-loathing required. This particular model from Restoration Hardware actually looks nice and has held up to extensive use in my own kitchen.
iMeshi Phone Cases
These aren't the sleekest phone cases out there (they're actually about as far from "sleek" as you can get), but they look so realistic that they're kind of irresistible. The selection is pretty broad, from sushi rice to bacon and eggs.
Jewels Ice Cube Tray
Plain out of diamonds to drop into your loved ones' stockings? Thank goodness for this handy ice cube tray that'll fool 'em every time! (Not really.) Want to up the ante? You can also put a ring on it.
They may not come in the most festive or glamorous packaging, but you can't go wrong with Effie's Oatcakes. Buttery, crumbly, nutty, and salty-sweet, they're insanely addictive. Case in point: I've eaten three while writing this post. My advice? Purchase them in bulk so you can stuff a stocking or two and horde the rest for yourself.
No, these are not candies masquerading as pens. They are, however, pens filled with edible ink, allowing you to write messages or draw pictures and designs on any food with a firm, dry surface. You'll never look at the produce aisle the same way again.
Liquid Courage Flask
This Etsy store has dozens of flask designs, printed on high-quality vinyl. They're customizable, too, so you can add a message or monogram to give it a personal touch. I'm a big fan of the wood prints, but there are enough options to satisfy every aesthetic.
Gourmet Sea Salt From The Meadow
This Portland-based shop carries an array of some 110 artisan salts from around the world. Fancy some Alaea Volcanic Red Salt? No problem! Or perhaps you're in the mood for Amethyst Bamboo, a Korean salt that "smells like something dragons must use to season their victims before eating them." Not in the mood for sprinkling? Good thing you can also imbibe your seasoning from a Himalayan salt goblet ($14). See what catches your fancy; they sell giftable sets or you can start small with a stocking-friendly cork-topper taster jar.
I initially got my hands on a WineYoke to poke fun at a friend who constantly lost track of her wine glass. It certainly served its intended purpose, but they have their practical uses, too. Not only does the yoke literally eliminate the problem of misplacing your glass, but it frees up your hands (and counter space) if you're dining buffet-style, cooking, or just doing some wine-induced gesticulating.
Nouveau Tart Server
LEIF sells a lot of good looking tableware, from runners, coasters, and dishes, to a wide array of acrylic serving utensils. The tart servers are my personal favorite, a clever pairing of a classic baroque silhouette with a contemporary color palette, so your utensils can match the festive atmosphere that doubtless accompanies the pies and tarts they service. Poke around on the site for glitter and confetti versions, too!
Perfect for anyone who likes to play with their food, regardless of age (...right?). Just pop in a hard-boiled egg, close up the box, and submerge it in cold water for about 10 minutes. You can also use the molds on sushi rice or pretty much any other shapeable food.
Still shopping? See all of our holiday gift guides »
About the author: Niki Achitoff-Gray is the associate editor of Serious Eats and a recent graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into oysters, offal, and most edible things. You can follow her on Twitter at @eatandcry.