Options are nice. And experimenting with a taste of something prepared one way and a taste of that same thing prepared in an entirely different way can be an exercise in sensory exploration that’s at once comforting and liberating.
Chefs have caught on: an abundance of acorn squash at the market? Try it two ways: Folded into a rich risotto or roasted and tucked into tacos. Cauliflower going bonkers? Bathe it in a rich coconut curry or slice it through the middle and serve it like a steak.
For my part, I’ve been thinking about holiday gifts as having similar potential for flexibility and creativity. And so, here are my ideas for holiday gifts, presented in two different ways. The rules aren’t steadfast. You could give the gift in both ways of course, or a third way if better.
In hopes that they offer jumping off points for a friend or lover or sibling or parent or perfect stranger on your list, my ideas for holiday gifts with a twist…
Breakfast in Bed, Two Ways
+ A walnut tray for serving fresh-made biscuits and coffee.
+ A pound of coffee beans and a handwritten voucher for the service on a day of the recipient’s choice.
Cabin in the Woods, Two Ways
+ A copy of Cabin Porn for curling up with.
+ A two-night stay at an actual cabin in the woods.
Knife Skills, Two Ways
+ A very special chef’s knife for perfecting your slice.
+ A class at a local kitchen for honing your dice and chop.
Spice Cabinet Redux, Two Ways
+ A 3-Spice set from a specialty purveyor.
Cheese Plate, Two Ways
+ A slate board that’s just right for serving your favorite bleu.
+ A gift-certificate to a nearby cheese shop.
Surf Lessons, Two Ways
+ A subscription to inspire getting out on the waves.
+ A day in the surf.
Night at the Ballet, Two Ways
+ A subscription to Mary Helen Bower’s Ballet Beautiful for practicing in your living room.
+ Tickets to see the professionals on the big stage.
Good Night’s Sleep, Two Ways
+ A new set of organic cotton sheets.
Taste of Spring, Two Ways
Tropical Vacation, Two Ways
+ Plane tickets to someplace warm and dreamy.
+ An afternoon at a more reasonable substitute.
Reading Nook, Two Ways
+ A cozy pillow for snuggling next to.
+ A new book (say, this one), and a plan to give someone a little time alone.
Long Swim, Two Ways
+ A membership to a nearby pool.
Cup of Tea, Two Ways
+ An invitation for an afternoon trip to a local tea salon.
Sourdough Bread, Two Ways
+ The ultimate guide to some of the very best sourdough.
+ A mason jar full of homemade starter and the promise to give a lesson.Candlelit Dinner, Two Ways
+ A set of brass tealights.
Dose of Greenery, Two Ways
+ A potted plant.
+ A trip to a local oasis.
Spring Day Adventure, Two Ways
+ A perfume to transport you to April in January.
+ A backpack and a map and the promise of a ramble once the ground thaws.
Stargazing, Two Ways
+ A trip to a planetarium.
+ A little slice of moonstone.
Healthy Habits, Two Ways
+ The perfect layer for a good stint outside.
+ Membership to a running club.
Sunset Kiss, Two Ways
+ A sunset-inspired bowl.
+ A drive to a secluded spot, a thermos full of cocoa, and a vow to watch the sun go down.
Quiet Afternoon, Two Ways
+ A pair of stay-inside-all-day slippers.
+ A choice of a new knitting project.
Charitable Donation, Two Ways
+ A monetary donation to someone in need.
+ An afternoon spent volunteering at a local soup kitchen.
More gift ideas, RIGHT HERE.