A Gluten-Free Gift Giving Guide
Before we get started: don’t worry. We aren’t suggesting that you get an 8-month jump on your holiday shopping, thank heavens. No, today we’re going to be talking about those everyday occasions for gift giving that have a tendency to pop up every few weeks: birthday presents, hostess gifts, favors for party guests, etc. More importantly, how to give these gifts in a way that is not just celiac-friendly, but specifically caters to people living a gluten-free lifestyle.
After all, it’s that extra little personal touch that’s going to make a gift recipient feel like they just got something really special. And if it’s budget friendly, well, that’s just a great bonus isn’t it? Let’s get started!
For The Birthday Boy/Girl
Birthday gifts are hard enough, but for a person on a fickle gluten-free diet, this can be extra difficult. If you’re on a budget and don’t happen to be a gluten-free baking whiz, ready to whip up a culinary surprise, you need options. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
1) A subscription to a lifestyle magazine like Gluten Free Living, Living Without, or Delight GF Magazine is a gift that keeps on giving.
2) Buy them some cooking classes. This is not only great for someone with special dietary needs who needs to be savvy in the kitchen, but it’s something you could potentially do together. Places like Whole Foods have a number of locations nearly everywhere and each offers a special calendar of culinary seminars.
3) Give them a gift card. Before you take up your pitchforks and form an “impersonal gifts” mob, wait. Gift cards can be great for someone who relies on specialty food items like gluten-free. Giving them a gift card to Amazon, the local grocery store, or a kitchen shop like Sur La Table not only goes toward the purchase of their favorite foods, but it gives them the opportunity to try a new item they’ve had their eye on but may have been hesitant to purchase due to budget restrictions.
4) Give them booze. As you may know, many (nay, most) flavored hard alcohols contain gluten. So why not make your own? Infuse their favorite liquor with a blend of delicious, unique flavors then bottle it up and gift away. There’s a great tutorial on how to infuse spirits at home right here.
5) Not a big drinker? Do the same thing, but with oil. A beautifully bottled selection of DIY infused olive oils makes an absolutely amazing, totally usable gift. There are some great instructions right here.
These last two ideas bring us to our next subject: hostess gifts. Infused alcohols and oils do just as well as thank you gifts for your gracious host or hostess. Particularly for an event you know about far ahead of time. If you don’t have weeks to spare, though, we have some other great suggestions…
For The Hostess
1) A really nice kitchen utensil. The key here is nice. Silicone cupcake molds, an amazing rubber spatula, or some other specialty device that people always want but never seem to have. Order online off Williams-Sonoma’s Gifts For the Hostess page or head to Sur La Table. If you aren’t completely comfortable picking something out on your own, we refer you to number 3 in the list above.
2) Give a gift basket. This one is an oldie but a goodie. While it may seem trite, no one is ever upset about receiving a truly great gift basket. There are a number of companies that specialize in crafting delectable, delightfully packaged selections that cater to a number of special dietary needs. Plus, there’s one for every price point:
- I Can Have That! Themed gift baskets that disclose the allergen status of each set, including gluten, peanuts, dairy, and a number of others.
- Well Baskets: wholesome gift baskets for the health-conscious gourmet
- It’s Only Natural Gifts: themed by occasion, these grab bags aren’t just gluten-free, they’re eco-friendly
For The Party Guests
It’s a time-honored tradition to send guests home after a fancy dinner party, special brunch or cocktail soiree with a personalized treat. More often than not, this tends to be something edible. However, when allergies are in the mix, this gets sticky. But there are still some truly creative ideas that will do the trick (and make you look really, really good):
1) Homemade vanilla extract. Not entirely different from infusing your own alcohol, this project requires a good bourbon (or vodka), whole vanilla beans, and bottles. However, unlike the infused alcohol gift, this idea uses much smaller bottles and less alcohol, thus making it scalable to a larger party. Pair your adorable bottle of DIY extract with a recipe card for your favorite dessert that calls for vanilla. We suggest this recipe for Pumpkin-Bourbon Cheesecake with Spiced Pecan Crust. Instructions for the extract can be found here.
2) Individual potted herbs. It’s décor, it’s delicious, it’s adorherbal. Decorate the pots (optional), add a cute nametag and voila! If it’s a dinner party you’re hosting, these can also double as super-chic place settings. There’s a great example right here.
3) Anything in a mason jar. The possibilities are endless and can be adapted for nearly any occasion. Plus, seriously, this stuff is just too charming not to.
Good luck in all your gift-giving endeavors, gluten-free friends! We’re sure you’ll have just as much fun giving as those receiving. Cheers!