Low-Carb Holiday Gifts by Dana Carpender

Low-Carb Holiday Gifts by Dana Carpender

If I posted a Thanksgiving article a couple of weeks ago, it must be the Christmas shopping season! Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanza. Or Yule. Or Saturnalia. Or Festivus. Or “Let’s drink to the days getting longer again.” Whatever you want to celebrate is fine by me, so long as you count me in on the wine.

So let’s talk a little about low carb gift giving. Low carb gift giving? Sure! In a couple of ways: First, most low carbers know other low carbers; we’re a friendly bunch. (Just come on the Low Carb Cruise in May, and you’ll see!) You may well have a low carber on your gift list. How about the carbivores? Chances are you’re fond of a few of them, too.

It’s a long-standing tradition to give gifts of food this time of year. My mom always sent homemade Christmas cookies and bread to all the relatives, not to mention our teachers and assorted friends. I don’t know about you, but I can’t bring myself to send “food” I know is pure poison to people I love, regardless of how much I know they’d enjoy it, and the realization that my offering would be but a drop in an ocean of carbs. So let’s consider festive food gifts for low carbers and carbivores alike. There are so many choices beyond fruitcake and caramel corn!

Low-Carb Holiday Gifts: Food Gifts

  • In the interests of shameless website promotion, I must point out that CarbSmart has an extensive selection of low carb gift baskets. (Thank you Dana! – Andrew) There are baskets of sweets, baskets of low carb side dishes, baskets of kosher low carb products, you name it, and they come in a wide range of prices. Beautiful, too. Take a look!
  • Everyone thinks of cookies, candy and fruitcake for Christmas, but gifts of cheese and sausage are easy to find. I know that every mall near me has a Hickory Farms kiosk this time of year, and plenty of fancy-food gift catalogs have selections of great cheese and sausage, often with some interesting mustard thrown in.
  • For those with more elevated cheese tastes, you could adopt one of my traditions: Every Christmas, I put super-expensive imported cheese in That Nice Boy I Married’s Christmas stocking. He’d rather have a five-year-old aged gouda and a good, winey Stilton than a chocolate Santa any day.
  • One year, my publisher subscribed me to the Bacon-of-the-Month Club: Every month I got a new variety of small-farm artisanal bacon. Wow, did I enjoy that! Turns out there are now several Bacon-of-the-Month Clubs – bacon is deservedly trendy right now, so give it a quick Google.
  • How about some pricey steaks, or a whole smoked turkey? For that matter, one year I found a kiosk at a local mall selling gourmet smoked salmon products. All of these would make welcome gifts for the low carber and carbivore alike.
  • Just as traditional as sweets are gifts of alcohol. Assuming you know your recipient imbibes, a good bottle of dry wine or a fine scotch or bourbon (or, for this girl, a really good tequila) makes a welcome and low carb gift. Skip the sweet wines and liqueurs!
  • For the morning after, you could, of course, give gourmet coffees or teas. You might throw in a couple of bottles of sugar-free syrup for flavoring, too – maybe French vanilla, or hazelnut, or chocolate? Add a nice mug or two, and you’ve got a really wonderful gift.
  • Fancy quality mixed nuts are another item often found in the fancy-food catalogs that seem to grow in my mailbox this time of year. Or you could really splurge, and give a five-pound container of macadamia nuts!
  • Often in those catalogs you can find a mixed package that leaves out the junk. Several times I sent my godmother a package from Harry & David’s that included a couple of blocks of good cheese, a can of mixed nuts, and a few super-good pears.
  • What if you want to make something yourself? Gifts of homemade food are a long-standing Christmas tradition. I have often made roasted and spiced nuts to give away, and they’re always appreciated. Years I’ve been flush I’ve done pecans or cashews, when I’ve been broke I’ve sometimes done peanuts. Easy to do in quantity, too.
  • I’ve also given spice blends – in particular, I’ve sent barbecue rub to my father-in-law, who rarely cooks anything he can’t do on the propane grill. Again, easy to mix up in quantity. (If you don’t want to buy The Low Carb Barbecue Book just for this purpose, I’ll understand if you take it out of the library. If your library doesn’t have it, they can get it for you through interlibrary loan.) You can often buy spice shakers at gourmet or health food stores that carry bulk spices – which, by the way, is a much cheaper way to buy the spices to blend than getting them at the grocery store. Or you can simply package your spice blends in zipper-lock baggies.

Low-Carb Holiday Gifts: How about a few non-food gifts for the special low carber?

  • New clothes, something fitted to their new, slimmer body. I’ve long recommended that people go out and buy something that actually fits for each size they lose, even though they know that new item will be loose in another month or two. Few things are so joyfully encouraging as seeing yourself looking great in the mirror.
  • Again, in the interests of shameless promotion – self-promotion, this time – you could give them a low carb cookbook. Gee, wonder where you could get one of those?
  • If you’re feeling really flush, and you really, really, REALLY like this person, you could give them the gift of this year’s Low Carb Cruise. Up to you and your giftee whether you share a cabin.

So there you go, half your shopping list taken care of! You’re welcome.

© 2011 by Dana Carpender. Used by permission of the author. What do you think? Please send Dana your comments to Dana Carpender.

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