It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Are you stressed about coming up with great presents? Here are some unique holiday gift ideas to make your shopping a little easier for everyone that's been nice on your list -- and a few naughty ones too. I've included a variety of price ranges so you can find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Happy Holidays.
Fruitcake from Casa Linda Bakery
Let me just say that I am not a fan of fruitcake. HOWEVER, when I sampled a fruitcake bar at Casa Linda Bakery in Dallas last week, they made a believer out of me. I took the piece back to my car and my friend tasted it, ran back into the store and bought some for herself! It was that good. If you're looking for a fruitcake, look no further than Dallas' own Casa Linda Bakery. Get this: cookies are .40 cents apiece. Seriously. I pay almost twice the price for most cookies in the suburbs.
Everything is made from scratch and you can tell these recipes have been handed down from some serious bakers. Amazingly fresh. The iced clown cookie is TDF good. (That's to-die-for good, by the way).
In a word, the fruitcake is amazing. And that's coming from a non-fruitcake fan who is willing to give anything a chance.
Casa Linda Bakery, 10819 Garland Rd. Dallas, TX 75218 (Near Centerville). 214-321-0551.Hours: Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Great Guy Gift or Hostess Gift: Nightlife impresario Rande Gerber launched his signature Midnight Bar Collection at Crate and Barrel. Premium natural ingredients make it easy to shake or stir up a batch of Whiskey Bar's most popular libations. Simply add some adult spirits and ice for hip cocktail-lounge results. All-natural ingredients include fruit and vegetable juices, triple-filtered water, cane sugar, spices and seasonings. I've been to the Whiskey Bar in New York and I approve of this message.
Cost: $12.95. On sale now for $6.95 with free shipping for orders over $100.
For the Music Lover: Give the gift of music this season with one of DFW's greatest guitarists: Quinten Hope. And yes, some of us still prefer CDs to iPods and other techno gadgets. Quinten's fingers perform some rocking guitar magic on this CD. When I play "Roll the Dice," I have to look at the speedometer because it tends to make me drive a lot faster. It's my absolute favorite song and if you play air guitar, you will find yourself jamming to these rockin' tunes. If "Hey, Hey" sounds familiar, it's because you heard it on the Late Show with David Letterman. Late Show Orchestra's bassist Will Lee played on Quinten's last two CDs. Order or download your gift now. Download the digital album for only $8.99. The CD is $15.
Perfect $10 gift for adults: If you're trying to find a gift in the $10 range, this is dead-on perfect. First it's only $10.95. And then it's chocolate! I don't know anyone who isn't a fan of chocolate. This tasty grownup treat will melt in your mouth and give you a little kick of flavor. It's made up of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, coconut oil, chocolate liquor, sea salt, dried chiles de arbol and jalapeño. Certified kosher. I certify it delicious and unique.
Jalapeño Meltaways are $10.95 at Crate and Barrel. As of December 20, 2011 they are on sale for $7.95.
Update: These are sold out (as of December 20, 2011) at the Knox location in Dallas. There are 26 left at the Shops at Willow Bend.
Perfect for Gift Baskets: One of the things that warms me up on a cold day is a bowl of La Madeline's Tomato Basil Soupe and a slice of French bread. The signature soup is made from juicy, ripe, crushed tomatoes blended with fresh cream and sweet, aromatic basil. It's all natural, gluten free and delicious. La Madeline has a three-pack of Tomato Basil Soupe in 15.5 ounce jars for only $12.99. It's an absolute must-have item if there's a ice or snow storm in DFW. Better yet, stop in for lunch while you're out shopping. You can finish up in La Madeline and enjoy a sweet treat too.
Tomato Basil Soupe Trio is $12.99 at La Madeline.
Perfect $10 gift: This spice blend is perfect for mulling apple cider or red wine. Personally, I just add some water to the spices and gently simmer some in on my stove and enjoy the smells of the season. It makes my house smell so warm and inviting. Maybe this year I'll actually prepare a beverage with it.
Update: The Mulling Spice Blend, which is normally $10.95, is on sale December 20, 2011 for only $7.99 at Williams Sonoma.
My neighbor introduced me to this delicious dessert beverage during a recent Book Club gathering. It was smooth and rich. ChocoVine is a delicious blend of dutch chocolate and fine red wine. This adult beverage is perfect as a unique hostess gift or to be served with dessert or just for fun. I found ChocoVine at Target but it's probably available at your favorite adult beverage store.
Christmas Cookie by Yankee Candle
Perfect for Pet Owners: Candles are a great gift for everyone. I tested several of the season's scents and decided that "Christmas Cookie" ranked above "Mistletoe" or "Red Apple Wreath." It had a very vanilla scent. It would also be the perfect candle to burn if you're trying to sell a home. Realtors have told me to burn a vanilla-scented candle to enhance a home's features. It's also the perfect $25 gift -- although many places, like Bed, Bath and Beyond have them on sale currently.
Christmas Cookie by Yankee Candle is $25 or less.
Perfect for Cookie Monsters: Everyone loves an edible gift. This cookie wreath is $65 (stand not included) and it includes 18 custom-decorated cookies. Cookies for every December celebration - Christmas trees, Hanukkah and more. $30 for one dozen custom cookies. Logos, names, holiday wishes, December birthdays and more.
Amy's Cookies. 972-712-9343.
Spread some holiday cheer this season by sharing your love for the Texas Rangers. Let everyone know that we made it to back-to-back World Series. Do you have a coworker that happens to be an obnoxious NY Yankees fan? Welcome them to the Republic of Texas and let your Secret Santa gift be the gift of "The Claw." Stores should be well-stocked with Rangers attire for the entire family. Let's Go Rangers! Does that chant ever get old?