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Presence and Presents: Solstice and Gift Ideas

Happy Solstice! Today we switch to the other side of darkness—more daylight daily here in the Northern Hemisphere. This week Christians observe the birth of the Light of the World, and Jews just finished celebrating their Festival of Light. No matter your religious beliefs, we can all rejoice in the rebirth of light during December darkness. Yippee!

Sunrise in Los Barriles Presence and Presents

I read an article recently about family and friends no-gift agreements, and how some folks are choosing to spend their holiday energy on being present with those they love, instead of exchanging gifts. Bah humbug validated, right?

We keep Christmas simple around here, that’s for sure. It’s a different December saying no to the stress, expense and waste that often comes along with the holidaze. No presents please, just your presence.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to give and receive gifts. I just want it so there isn’t a should attached. I should bake cookies, I should give something to my cousin, I should move the elf to another shelf and then decorate the tree. I should post a holiday recipe on the blog. Do it because we want to, not because we should.

That all said, below is a list with 10 kitchen-y gift ideas. I should have posted this list 2 weeks ago. 😉 But hey, I’ve got Baja beach sunrises to witness.

Sunrise in Los Barriles Presence and Presents

You know what? Everything on this list will be welcome any time of year, as a gift to yourself, or to someone who loves to cook. Give because it feels good. Bookmark this page so you have it for later.

Disclosure: Each of these gift ideas is a link to Amazon with my affiliate code. When you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps defray the costs of Letty’s Kitchen blog. Thank you for supporting Letty’s Kitchen.

Five cookbooks–three I own and love and use all the time, plus two I covet and will be cooking from this next year.

gift cookbook ideas for Presence and Presents

Four kitchen essentials I own, use, and recommend, plus one that would be a blast for playing with veggies.

kitchen tool gift ideas for Presence and Presents

  • Robbie and I don’t know how we ever lived without this electric tea kettle. We have 2—one lives in our trailer in the Gorge, the other we haul into hotel rooms when we travel!
  • Immersion blenders are time and mess savers, and in my mind indispensible kitchen tools. Here’s my review of the new OXO On Bright.
  • We wash a lot of lettuce and greens in our house and our old lettuce spinner is getting close to its last spin. Robbie already picked out the one he wants—this one by OXO.
  • A kitchen scale is not indispensible, but certainly handy. If mine disappeared, I’d get another ASAP. You don’t need anything fancy—I’ve had one like this for years.
  • Oodles of veggie noodles—a spiralizer would be so much fun and is on my wish list. My blogger friend Kalyn recommends this one.

Sunrise in Los Barriles Presence and Presents

Wishing you a Happy Solstice. Today, take a moment to breathe and be present. And this week be sure to cook something delicious.

Did I mention I’m hooked on Instagram? I post travel, food, nature and photos of #carlosdog. Are you following me on Facebook?

Presence and Presents: Solstice and Gift Ideas. Thanks for reading. Get my latest recipe posts by email—subscribe here.


  • shirley smith

    Hi Letty, Thank you for the wonderful photos, the great gift ideas, sharing your special things and for being you.
    Happy, happy holidays to you and Robbie in your beach paradise and we miss and love you!
    Shirley Reply · 22 December, 2015

    • Aww thanks for the note Shirley. Loving the biber pepper-Aleppo to me–that you brought us from Turkey. Delish on avocado toast. Reply · 22 December, 2015

  • Michelle

    Trying to make us jealous with those beautiful photos are you? We got 6″ of bea utiful powder last night and it’s still snowing. winter Solstice is my favorite day. Reply · 22 December, 2015

    • Thanks Michelle. There is a reflective spirit at winter solstice I always try to honor. Reply · 22 December, 2015

  • Virginia

    Lovely post, Letty! You’ve got it going on. xox Virginia. And John says hi! Reply · 22 December, 2015

    • Merry Christmas to you both! Enjoy the white Christmas! Reply · 23 December, 2015

  • Sarah

    Hi, Letty. I am Patti’s sister-in-law and am visiting the snow-covered winter wonderland of Park City. The Polsters say Happy Holidays!!! We so enjoy your posts all year long. Enjoy the season! Reply · 23 December, 2015

    • Thanks Sarah and all the Polsters! Enjoy the snow and cook something delicious! Reply · 23 December, 2015

  • You’re on the sunrise side of Baja! I’ve never been to that coast. That sunrise alone is enough to make me plan a trip. Happy New Year. GREG Reply · 27 December, 2015

    • It’s a fun pueblo–because of windsurfing and kite-surfing it’s got a surf-town feel. Lots of gringos–which has advantages and drawbacks imho. Reply · 30 December, 2015

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