My Recommended Gift for the 2023 Holiday Season

When I reflected on what item I wanted to push as my gift of the year, I wanted to choose something that made me feel happy and warm inside. So, for the first time in six years of doing this, I am going with something a little different. But before I reveal what it is, just a little background info…

For “Brent’s Gift of the Year” I choose a practical and inexpensive gift suggestion that retails in the $10-$15 range. The goal is for it to be versatile in a way that makes it a perfect choice for a Chinese gift exchange, stocking stuffer, or a thoughtful present.

For example, in 2018 I suggested an LED cinema lightbox marquee, in 2019 I championed a blanket, in 2020 I pushed a framed photo, in 2021 I recommended a book of stamps, and in 2022 I invited my readers to pick out a tasty six-pack of beer that the recipient would appreciate. 

For my 2023 pick, we have to go back to the year this tradition actually started—2018. In December of that year, I went into my office at Coastal Carolina University and waiting for me at my desk was a glass jar. The contents inside the jar were aesthetically pleasing and layered.

Do you know what it contained?

The jar was filled with layers that included sugar, flour, brown sugar, and M&Ms. Attached to the jar was a fancy ribbon and tag that included baking instructions to transform the contents of the jar into a batch of cookies. Yes, I had been gifted cookie mix!

A jar that looked very similar to this was left on my desk in December 2018. It was from Scott Dean, a CCU co-worker.

This present was from one of our photographers, Scott, and I almost skipped the baking process because the jar and its contents were so pretty. But I said almost. Sid baked those cookies and oh man, were they good! The aroma of fresh baked cookies filled our kitchen and incredibly the taste, for once, surpassed that of the smell. The whole gift was a delight to the senses as it contained visual, olfactory, and taste elements.

These were the cookies that we baked from the mix that Scott gifted us.

Bottom line, these sensory charms packed a blast of Christmas spirit when we brought the jar into our kitchen.

This year, I encourage you to gift this unique expression of Christmas cheer. It truly is a multi-faceted experience. It is one of those rare gifts that you get to admire it, work with (bake them), and then enjoy (eat it).

These cookie mixes are a lot of fun!

But the gift doesn’t just bring joy to the recipient. The giver has the gleeful task of putting together the gift with their own hands. You are also able to personalize it with the ribbon you use and how you present the baking directions. For example, Scott had his young daughter write the directions that they photocopied onto the tags they attached to the cookie mixes.

Friends, may your holiday shopping be productive and thoughtful but not stressful and all-time consuming. If you consider any of the gift ideas I have offered over the years, I am humbled. But let us put the energy we exert into gift giving into perspective when it comes to the true reason for Christmas. Don’t Blink.

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