The Moscow Food Co-op has gifts for everyone on your list!
A Co-op membership is lovely for someone who’s just moved here.
Gift cards, wine, and beer are the defaults: fine presents, but not especially intimate ones unless you employ some creativity.
Context is important. Although I’d love to receive a jar of Schmidt’s deodorant, you might see it as a judgment on your hygiene. Soap is innocuous—a cousin to scented candles—but shampoo might cause a rift. (Hint: Orchard Farm’s coal soap smells delicious, and is only available at the holidays.)
And presentation is, well, everything when you’re talking about presents. When I lived in Boston, I had to work late one December 24th, and by the time I was free, most of the stores were closed. Only the local grocery was open, so I bought a bunch of stinky cheese, (not stinky) chocolate, fancy teas, and a couple of kitchen implements that I wrapped up nicely. Christmas alchemy transformed them into elegant gifts. So even if it’s the last minute, remember: You can do this. Don’t turn up empty-handed.
So why not wrap up--
A mixed case of wine, with a different bottle to suit each month’s harvest and tradition.
Something to roast (duck, beef, chicken) and “all the fixings”: veggies, dessert, and a perfectly paired beverage.
A special mug for a young person. The MIIR Co-op logo mugs have a cover, which prevents many spills. Teach a kid about insulation by serving hot cocoa in their mug today and ice water tomorrow.
A colorful calendar or planner. Even if you keep your appointments on your smartphone, a paper calendar can help you track accomplishments, log time, or keep your work and personal lives separate. (The cat just asked me for nine calendars. I said no.)
Reusable drinking straws and lunch containers make great gifts for both kids and adults alike.
A 7-year ballpoint pen and a Decomposition Book—perfect for notetaking or doodling.
A piece each of Emmenthaler and Gruyere cheeses and a baguette (for fondue).
A ChicoBags water bag sling.
Cocktail fixings: Fevertree tonic water and fresh lime for G&Ts, or coconut cream and pineapple juice for piña coladas, a Christmas morning tradition of mine.
A kit for making cheese or sauerkraut.
A case of organic canned tomatoes or pasta sauce and another case of imported pasta. The Co-op has lots of beautiful varieties to choose from.
An entire spectrum of chocolate bars, arranged in order of cacao content.
Liberty Lotion. (It really works.)
Bulk goods in beautiful repurposed containers.
Homemade vinaigrette (extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard) in beautiful repurposed containers.
I’d like to hear about your creative Co-op presents. Write to me at email@example.com. And have a holly jolly December!