Food and Drink 

Easy to get and easier to give

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What? You still don’t have your Christmas shopping done? Well, that’s a good thing because it just might force you to use the old noggin to finish up your seasonal gift-buying.

Christmas shopping does not have to be a hazard to your blood pressure, mental stability and credit rating. It’s easy to make it yours and make it thoughtful, especially at Whistler.

First, it’s great if you can come up with gift ideas that support concepts you believe in. One Christmas all the presents I gave came from women who owned their own businesses. Another year they were all from local artists; another it was gifts from international initiatives like Ten Thousand Villages that support people in developing countries.

But given this is a food column, here are a few local, food-based ideas that will no doubt delight their recipients, and let you give the most magical gift of all — gifts that are much appreciated and, other than maybe an expanding waistline, pretty much sustainable.

In our busy world, one of the most generous things you can give someone is the gift of your own time, which can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Sure, you can make up a little hand-made certificate proclaiming your offer of free baby-sitting or driveway cleaning.

But if baking or cooking is something you do well and joyfully, then bake or cook up a storm for presents. Maybe it’s the brownies a pal drools over every time you serve them (bake them in a new pan and leave it with him as part of the gift). Or maybe your friends love granola, so whip up a batch and “bottle” it in litre-size canning jars for giving.

If you’re feeling really generous (or pressed for time right now), offer them a “gift certificate” they can redeem for a dozen homemade cookies once a month in the coming year.

A friend once commented that she felt chintzy offering such humble gifts, I guess because they don’t have a big dollar figure attached. But have you priced a gourmet bag of granola lately? Besides, from my experience, if you consider the recipient carefully, a home-baked gift can be more personal and delightful than 90 per cent of the consumer gift ideas out there.

Then there’s the perennial favourite of taking a lucky friend or loved one for lunch or dinner or, depending on how deep your pockets are, an entire night out on the town. But instead of jamming it into the Christmas season, maybe think post-festivities when we’re all twiddling our thumbs for something to do on those endless winter nights.

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