December 2006

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Book & Housebook News

Great Gifts at Your Co-op

by Matthew Fure, Assistant Wellness Manager

We all know the Co-op is a great place to get groceries, but did you know we are also a great place to buy gifts for your family and friends? You might be surprised just how much of your holiday shopping can be accomplished while getting your groceries. We’ve brought in a nice selection of gift items from our various distributors in hopes of making this holiday season as easy as possible for all who shop our store.

Stocking stuffers

When I was a little kid, my stocking was one of my favorite parts of holidays. I always managed to wake up long before my parents; I was way too excited to sleep. My stocking was always full of all kinds of little treats and trinkets, which kept me entertained until the rest of the family joined me. We have several stocking stuffers for kids such as: little wooden animals, soft dough, small handmade stuffed animals, hand-woven palm leaf coin purses and hacky sacks. Just add a few of the recipient’s favorite treats and the stocking is complete.

Theme gifts

We also carry several items for the grown-ups on your list. One great way to put together a very thoughtful gift is to pick a theme and buy a selection of items that go along with it. Here are a few ideas to get you started, but the possibilities are almost endless.

For the baker

You could start with a stainless steel mixing bowl and fill it with things such as an apron, wooden spoons, a whisk, measuring cups and spoons, a rolling pin or any other utensil that person may need. Finish it off with one of the several baking mixes we carry, or you could even make your own mixes. This is actually easier than you may think. Just buy a container big enough to hold the dry ingredients in your favorite recipe and attach the rest of the recipe. It’s best to choose recipes where the ingredients aren’t added in steps, but you could include small bags of each step’s ingredients. Just be sure you give clear instructions on how to properly combine them. Another option would be to include one of our several cookbooks.

For the cook

If your loved one isn’t much of a baker, but does love to cook, try starting with a wok. Fill it with items such as chopsticks, coconut wood or bamboo utensils, a bamboo steamer, and a selection of sauces and rice or noodles. They might even invite you over for a home-cooked meal to show their appreciation.

The gift of relaxation

One of my favorite ways to get rid of the day’s tensions is a nice soak in the tub. Try putting together a selection of loofah and bath brushes, bath salts or bubble bath, a relaxing CD, and some candles or incense. A good book would also be a nice addition to this gift. Or, you could easily turn this into a meditation kit for those who aren’t as fond of baths. Your loved ones will surely enjoy this every time they just need to get away.

Yoga, anyone?

Yes, we have yoga mats and yoga books at the Co-op. This would be a great way to get your friends into yoga. Add a gift certificate to their neighborhood yoga studio and you have a very nice gift. You could even set it up so you could go with them. This way you are showing just how much you enjoy spending time with them. Although, you may want to include some tiger balm in case they overdo it.

For the sushi lover

Nori rolls are really easier to make than you may think. Just put together a package with a sushi roller, some soy dishes and chop sticks, nori sheets, sticky rice, soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger. You could even add the ingredients for miso soup to finish it off.

To pamper that special someone

Show the one you love just how much you care by giving them breakfast in bed. Get a nice serving tray, a flower, a new coffee or teacup, a placemat, and finish it off with their favorite breakfast. You could even put together a little package with massage oils for later. There is really no better way I can think of to start off the day.

The coffee or tea lover on your list

We carry lots of options in this category. I’m sure you’ve noticed our recently expanded coffee selection and we also carry a wide array of teas. A mug filled with coffee beans or tea is a nice little gift to give someone. We also carry a selection of French presses and teapots, which would also make perfect gifts. Some other items you could include are tea balls, hemp coffee filters, honey sticks or stevia. They will think of you every morning while enjoying that first cup of the day.

Other gift ideas

There are also several other items throughout the Co-op which you may just pass by not realizing their great gift-giving potential. I’m sure lots of people would love getting a Champion juicer as a gift. We also have a selection of bamboo kitchen products from the Bambu Company. Our bookshelves are full of lots of interesting titles and journals for the reader or writer. Our ever-changing selection of plants would be well received by those with green thumbs you know and love. Get one of our locally made pots to put it in and you’ve got a gift they’ll enjoy for years to come.

So, the next time you grab your grocery list and head to the Co-op, bring along a list of those you wish to give gifts to this holiday season. Not only will you be saving time, but you can also feel good about your purchases as we strive to bring in products from businesses that are either local, or support fair-trade and earth friendly business practices. One of these wonderful businesses is Bali and Soul. Read all about them in this month’s Producer Profile on pages 22-23. Take care and happy holidays!