2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Hello! Get a drink and settle in so we can get right to it. Every year I put together a holiday gift guide, with the aim of featuring quality, interesting items at all price points, for a variety of giftees. From stocking stuffers to big gifts, from grandparent to baby, I hope you'll find a gift idea (or two) for everyone on your list. 

Previous gift guides still have lots of good choices, so don't miss them: 2014, 2014 part 2, 2015, 2016.

(Like a lot of websites, I use affiliate links where possible, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and/or buy something. I still only choose items based on what I think is best, and none of these items are sponsored.) 

1. Let's start with a splurge: this candle smells divine, is beautifully packaged, and will go with any home décor.

Photo from saksfifthavenue.com.

Photo from saksfifthavenue.com.

2. Stuffie bean bag, for the kid with way too many stuffies and not enough furniture.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

3. Solar phone charging case. Clips to a waist, bike, backpack, tent, or wherever else they need it. My friend Sarah says, "My mother-in-law saved the day with this thing, because it charged their Satellite phone on a 12 day hike!".

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

4. An extra non-solar charger is also a great choice. For the traveler, busy bee, forgetful Frank, or otherwise average human who sometimes needs some juice on the go (so, everyone). This will charge your phone something like 10 times (don't quote me on that). There are other versions with dual USB ports so you can charge more than one device at a time, if you wish. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

5. Kiehl's lip balm. My husband got this as a stocking stuffer and loves it. He says his usual Burt's Bees pales in comparison. A nice little upgrade for a daily item.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

6. Cherry Bombe, the cookbook, from Cherry Bombe magazine. More than 100 recipes from 100 female chefs, authors, foodies, and all around interesting people in the food world today.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

7. A cozy cableknit throw in a variety of classic and modern colors. (Cream might still be my favorite.)

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

8. Pop beads for making some seriously cool jewelry, because pop beads are way cooler now that they were when I was a kid. I still adored them, though, and I bet a kid on your list will adore these. 

Photo from walmart.com.

Photo from walmart.com.

9. Photo Ark. National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore's lifelong project to document every species known to man. Conservation and protection begin with knowing. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

10. Cold brew starter kit. Chameleon makes great coffee, and now you can make it yourself at home! Fun and a relatively low price point at around $15.

Photo from chameleoncoldbrew.com.

Photo from chameleoncoldbrew.com.

11. Herschel dopp kit. I love a good travel kit and I'd have a whole closet full of them if that were remotely reasonable on any level. I recently got a Herschel overnight bag, and I really like it. I will definitely consider one of these the next time I need a new dopp kit. Huge range of colors and some fun patterns, including birds and leopard print.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

12. I am digging these pretty, modern ornaments

two-toned metal tree ornaments.png

13. MoviePass! For just $9.95 a month, you, uh, or your giftee, can see one movie a day in participating theaters. No blackout dates and tons of participating theaters (I checked, and the major ones near me are included). This is less than the cost of seeing one movie! If you know someone who goes to the movies often (or wants to), see if major theaters near them participate and then sign them up for a few months. This would also be good for a white elephant gift, or someone you don't know terribly well.

Photo from moviepass.com.

Photo from moviepass.com.

14. This soap smells lovely and the packaging is gorgeous. Go directly through the manufacturer and you can buy a soap of the month club. It would be a great choice for people who like surprises, pretty packaging, fancy every day items, and things that smell luxurious. 

Photo from formulary55.com.

Photo from formulary55.com.

I love fun office supplies and I bet someone on your list does, too. Help them jazz up their desk with (15) pieces of flair:

15. Fun pushpin holders!

Sushi

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 1.06.46 PM.png

16. Kitty Post-It pop up. I have this on my desk and it makes me smile every time I grab a sticky.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

17. This gold stapler sits on my desk, too, and gets loads of compliments. Plus, I feel extremely fancy when I staple my TPS reports.

18. And listen, we all need a hand staying organized. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

19. I apologize for that joke. Owl make it up to you.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

20. I feel like I put a sleep mask on the gift guide every year, but I can't help myself. This one has nearly 9,000 reviews, 4.5 stars, and is $10. If you already have enough eye masks, maybe tuck one away for a White Elephant/Yankee Swap/Secret Santa/what have you.

sleep mask

21. A classic henley with fresh detailing. I really love the burgundy version, too. Layer it up or wear solo.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

22. What if Everybody Did That? Because the world always needs more good citizens.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

23. A portable firepit with folding legs and a carrying bag for easy storage. It's a grill, too! For the camper or campfire lover on your list. At about $50, the price is right. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

24. Throw in some color-coded, rotating marshmallow/hot dog sticks and the ingredients for s'mores.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

25. This camp cookware set would also be a great accompaniment to the fire pit, or stands beautifully on its own.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

26. Codenames. A fun game involving words and mystery and thinking. My family played last Christmas and it was so much fun.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

27. These little tiny baby travel pinch tins of Maldon sea salt (the best sea salt), for the campers, foodies, travelers, and other seasoned seasoners in your life. This 6-pack is reasonably priced and could stuff several stockings.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

28. This book, just because I think it looks cool. 

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 1.47.23 PM.png

29. If your recipient just tosses their watch(es) on the dresser at the end of the day, try this watch box. Makes any watch collection look impressive, even if it's a collection of plastic ones from the vending machine at the grocery store. Variety of colors. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

30. Stuff this julienne peeler (CAREFULLY!) into your favorite home cook's stocking. Maybe ask them to make you a carrot salad with it. Kuhn makes fantastic tools and this one is well-reviewed, and not too much more pricy than the OXO—though that one has nearly 5 stars, too. The Kuhn comes with a safety cover, if that helps you decide.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

31. Speaking of vegetables, get them everything they ever wanted to know about butchering them. A great resource for omnivores, vegans, and everyone in between.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

32. Speaking of cookbooks, Deb Perelman, the genius behind Smitten Kitchen, has a new cookbook out, and it's lovely. Her original cookbook is still a favorite as well.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

33. Maybe round off these cooking gifts with this taco ornament, because taco ornament.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

34. A good sturdy flashlight, perhaps. A good, all-purpose gift. Plus, this one is apparently tactical?

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

35. I'm sure you know someone who needs these socks.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

36. Speaking of wine, this stainless steel electric wine opener has more than 2,000 reviews on Amazon with a 4.5 star rating, and it's about $30. Seems like a great deal for the wine lover in your life. For the wine liker, even. It will tell you the temp, too.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

37. Maybe throw in something for your clumsy friends

Photo from worldmarket.com.

Photo from worldmarket.com.

38. Melissa and Doug make fantastic toys. These Water Wow "coloring" pads are perfect for the budding artist in your life who hasn't quite mastered fine motor skills yet. Fill the "pen" with water and watch as they use it to magically colors the pages. When it dries, repeat! Great for cars, planes, the kitchen table, or using over Gramma's priceless Persian carpet. They come in a variety of themes, from animals to princesses to vehicles, and at about $5 you can easily stock up or stuff several stockings. This 3-pack of animals, alphabet, and numbers is a great deal.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

39. These Melissa & Doug Smartypants cards for preschoolers are also really well reviewed, and come in a various grade levels.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

40. It's hard to see in this picture, but the detail on this platter is beautiful. Pile high with your favorite cookies or slap on your favorite latke recipe or simply wrap in a box.

Photo from potterybarn.com.

Photo from potterybarn.com.

41. Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment. The easiest way to take care of your lips and get a little color on them, too. Or not, if you choose the untinted version. My favorites are Petal, Ruby, and the universally flattering Rosé.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

42. Sugru moldable glue. Fix anything, including a stocking that needs stuffing. Comes in various colors.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

43. An illustrated book of untranslatable words for the word nerd on your list.

lost in translation untranslatable words

44. Bennington Potters makes gorgeous stuff, and I love this platter

bennington potters platter

45. A classic flask in a classic color. Affordable, sturdy, iconic.

Photo from amazon.com. 

Photo from amazon.com. 

46. This card-sized multitool is probably a great stocking stuffer for someone on your list. Open a beer, open a box, measure stuff, screw or unscrew things. They can keep it in their wallet.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

47. This gym bag, for the workout junkie on your list. Highly rated and in a range of colors.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

48. Speaking of exercise, this book, by the guy behind The Oatmeal.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

49. Meats! This salami of the month club is supposed to be great. 

Photo from olympiaprovisions.com.

Photo from olympiaprovisions.com.

50. These delightfully ridiculous macaron pill boxes for carrying medicine, jewelry, or whatever other tiny bits you can stuff in there. At $3 for 6, I think you need these for the stockings of tweens or fun-loving adults in your life.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

51. There's also a macaron earbud holder that's quite a steal.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

52. If you'd like to take a less whimsical route, this plain ole black earbud, USB, sim card carrying case is a great choice. I have one, and it's bigger than I expected, which is nice because it holds more than just earbuds but is still fairly small.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

53. While we're at it, you can never have too many earbuds. These are my favorites. They're affordable, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors. Maybe throw in a splitter for phones without a jack.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

54. Just look at this gorgeous farmhouse pitcher. Can't you just picture it chock-a-block with beautiful peonies, or on a brunch table, full of sangria?

Photo from potterybarn.com.

Photo from potterybarn.com.

55. These are awfully pretty.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

56. This 1000 colors puzzle, for someone you really love or possibly really hate. 

Photo uncommongoods.com.

Photo uncommongoods.com.

57. If you've got a puzzle lover who is also a reader, this slightly hokey-looking "Best Sellers" puzzle tickles me. It looks like something you'd find in your great uncle's lakeside cabin, next to some old candlesticks and paperbacks and a moldering, stuffed moose head.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

58. A ceramic paring knife is a great addition to any bar or kitchen. Include it with the gift of a cookbook, stuff (with caution!) in a stocking, tie it up with a bag of limes and a bottle of gin.

ceramic paring knife.png

59. I want this 5-year Q&A journal. There's a 3-year version for kids, too. Answer one question a day, repeat for five years, watch your answers change. This is a great gift for anyone, but especially someone starting a new chapter in their life. It's quick, fun, and doesn't take much commitment. Think recent grads, 20-somethings, new parents, kids, and anyone even slightly introspective or nostalgic. You can start it any time of the year.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

60. I really like this pretty frame a whole lot. It's modern yet classic, and the clean lines give it a universal appeal for an awful lot of people on your list. Stick in a favorite photo, or leave the quote ("These are your people, this is your year") in there, because it's pretty lovely as is.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

61. Wooden mixing bowl! This brand, Hape, makes such great toys.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

62. You guys. This Die Hard Christmas illustrated book, set to the rhyming cadence of Night Before Christmas. Someone on your list definitely needs this.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

63. Please include this Die Hard ornament in your gift, because nothing says festive like Hans Gruber's face on your Christmas tree.

Photo from CastleMcQuade Etsy shop.

Photo from CastleMcQuade Etsy shop.

64. I mean, you could throw in actual Die Hard too. At about $5, it's a great stocking stuffer. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

65. The very best ice cream scoop

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

66. Which you can pair with the best ice cream bowls (also excellent for anything else you use bowls for).

Photo from anthropologie.com.

Photo from anthropologie.com.

67. Exploding Kittens. Such a fun game. For all ages.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

68. Invisible ink pens! Kids definitely want these.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

69. And the adult version, sort of: an erasable, reusable notebook. Use the app to scan your writing and drawing and send to your various data-storing places (Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, email.etc.), then erase, and start all over. 

everlast reusable notebook.png
Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

71. Pair it with this excellent mid-range bread knife (or a super fancy expensive bread knife, if you have the budget).

Photo from surlatable.com.

Photo from surlatable.com.

72. And for the Great British Bake Off fan, round it out with Paul Hollywood's bread bible. So many cookbooks this year. I'm not sorry! There is one for every occasion.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

73. While we're at here, let's consider Mary Berry's Baking Bible as well.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

74. Consider going all out by throwing in this absurdly twee-lightful and utterly cosy British cottage-esque Union Jack mug. And maybe some Downton Abbey tea?

union jack mug.png

75. And then consider this pricey, cool apron. Alton Brown's favorite! I like the olive canvas version a lot, too. 

Photo from hedleyandbennett.com.

Photo from hedleyandbennett.com.

76. This weird goo that I don't fully understand is supposed to sanitize and clean your keyboard. Hooray for stocking stuffers!

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

77. This sweet lil mouse ornament. Or this one.

Photo from potterybarn.com.

Photo from potterybarn.com.

78. Completely unrelated, obviously, is this book. Bundle 'em up together for your favorite little reader. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

Treat Yo Self gift bags. I did this for two of my cousins last year, and they were a hit. Indulge in buying some fun items they probably wouldn't buy themselves. Go for one main item, a couple medium items, and some smaller ones. You can do this for any budget and lots of items on the guide work but let's look at a $50ish dollar budget. 

79. For a main item, you can hardly go wrong with some Kate Spade earrings. Especially when Nordstrom price matches, or Macy's has them on sale. 

I mean, how cute are these glitter studs? This is what I included in the bags last year.

kate spade glitter studs

80. I wear these black drop earrings to work multiple times a week. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

81. And there's room in every wardrobe for these sweet, classic knots.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

82. For a medium item, I am a big fan of books. Go for the best thing you've read in the last year, or for a classic Christmas book, or straight up fluff. 

I really enjoyed this.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

Maybe a little holiday reading. A Christmas Carol won't steer you wrong, either.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

83. Face masks. Always face masks. There is no shortage of options, but I really like this rose eye mask from Sephora.

Photo from sephora.com.

Photo from sephora.com.

84. Listen, if you're going to do a face mask you're going to want to throw in one of these. Winning the coveted annual Cheapest Item On The Gift Guide prize, this adorable kitty ear headband is sure to put a smile on your giftee's face while keeping their hair off of it. FOR 2 AMERICAN DOLLARS.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

85. Depending on your budget, this Fenty universal lip gloss is supposed to be the bee's knees. From Rihanna's fantastic, inclusive new makeup line, this is designed to look lovely on all skin tones, and I hear that it does. I'd love to get this in my stocking or a gift bag!

Photo from sephora.com.

Photo from sephora.com.

86. Of course, you can always round it out with some of your favorite hot chocolate, or a split of champagne (as pricey or as budget-friendly as you please) that they don't have to share. Picture it: wearing new earrings, curled up reading a book while wearing a face mask and drinking some bubbly. Honestly, this is just a fantasy gift for yourself. 

Photo from totalwine.com.

Photo from totalwine.com.

87. As part of the Treat Yo Self bags or simply for someone who likes to take care of her paws, any or all of the following items make a great package together or separately. 

The very best, my absolute favorite-ever hand cream which is too expensive to justify using every day and thus makes a great gift. (My affordable daily driver is a great choice, too.)

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

88. Essie apricot cuticle oil. Not greasy, absorbs quickly, works beautifully to keep nails and skin looking healthy and fresh, and to prolong a manicure. (Allure loves it, too.)

Photo from allure.com.

Photo from allure.com.

89. Julep oxygen nail treatment. Keep nails healthy, keep nail color from staining. Allure loves this one too.

Photo from ulta.com.

Photo from ulta.com.

90. Listen, I don't know about you, but I can never find a ruler when I need one. And I would have loved this in my stocking as a kid. MY VERY OWN RULER.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

91. Merriam-Webster is one of my favorite accounts to follow on Twitter, and they now have swag. Their simple #WordsMatter mug speaks to me most, but this is also fun.

Photo from teepublic.com.

Photo from teepublic.com.

92. I have it on good authority that this card holder for little hands is a great stocking stuffer. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

93. This Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick combo. I have and use both items regularly and recommend them heartily.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

94. Throw in some smart plugs, so your giftee can control their lights from their phone or their new Dot or Echo.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

95. I have it on good authority that this candle is the best ever. Someone should buy it for me so that I can test out that claim. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

96. The candle would make a great hostess gift, and so would Christmas crackers, which are a British tradition I am quite fond of. You can find them in many different stores at many different prices. Check Marshall's and Homegoods, and maybe even Costco.

Photo from williams-sonoma.com.

Photo from williams-sonoma.com.

97. Presented without comment. (Okay, one comment: this is an absurd price for a burrito ornament, do not buy this.)

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

98. Perhaps I can interest you in a more reasonably-priced avocado ornament?

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

99. I can think of about ten hard-to-shop-for people that this identity theft protection stamp would be good for. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

100. Pocket-sized SOS kit. Don't we all need this?

pocket SOS

101. BILIBO toy. Just add imagination. There are minis, too. 

Photo from thetherapystore.com.

Photo from thetherapystore.com.

102. Tasty Science. Because tasty and science. What makes drinks fizz? Find out!

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

103. Balance board...thing. It reminds me of the Pogoball I had growing up and I feel like it would be good for someone who likes to workout or to keep your kid busy.

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

104. I like these personalized bookmarks for hard-to-shop-for people. Design them with photos of their favorite people or places, an inside joke, or a quote about reading.

Photo from shutterfly.com.

Photo from shutterfly.com.

105. I am very strongly pro trinket tray, and I have one of these that says something else (Queen Bee, if you must know), and I sort of want to buy this teeny trinket tray for every female I know, even if they don't want to be CEO (which I don't). 

Photo from nordstrom.com.

Photo from nordstrom.com.

106. Maybe you want to pair it with this inflatable crown, while you're at it. I bought this for an adult last year, and I think it's safe to say it is a delight for all ages. It's $3, so maybe just get one for everyone on your list. One inflatable crown to rule them all.

inflatable crown
Photo from uncommongoods.com.

Photo from uncommongoods.com.

Photo from uncommongoods.com.

Photo from uncommongoods.com.

Photo from uncommongoods.com

Photo from uncommongoods.com

110. Battery tester. Useful, exciting for a kid, inexpensive. 

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

111. Show me something cuter than a kid in a robe, like a wee baby adult.

kid's robe
Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

113. A beaded NYC taxi ornament. I don't know why this charms me so, it just does. Beep!

Photo from potterybarn.com.

Photo from potterybarn.com.

114. I'll close with my annual commentary. When thinking of gifts, I love the old adage 'something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read'. I think 'need' is the only category I haven't truly covered here. Of course you can do your own research, but causes close to my heart include whatever local charity gives to kids who otherwise might not have a Christmas morning (like your local angel/giving tree), Toys for TotsFeeding America, helping wildlife, your local food bank, and your local blood & plasma bank. Maybe schedule an appointment to donate blood or plasma in January, if you want to give to someone not on your list. If you want to give in someone's name as a gift, you could certainly do that too.

***

Thanks for joining me and humoring me. I hope you've found some inspiration, and even if you haven't, this was a lot of fun for me to put together and I hope you enjoyed the ride as well! Wishing you and yours a truly happy, healthy, fun, delicious, and festive holiday season!

The Trespasser, Tana French

Photo from amazon.com.

Photo from amazon.com.

When I was little, and I'd managed to get my hands on some grape or orange Bubble Yum or Hubba Bubba, I'd have a pep talk with myself: "You can DO IT this time!"

It never worked. 

The flavor was always so concentrated and intense when I put a piece in my mouth that I both loved and couldn't handle it. I'd try and chew through the candy-like texture until it mellowed out and became actual gum. But it invariably overwhelmed me so much that I'd have to swallow it for some relief. 

This is basically the same way I've handled Tana French books—until now. It took all six books in this series, but I've finally cracked the code with The Trespasser:

1. Listen to the audiobooks so it's basically impossible to skip ahead and ruin the ending because it's too intense to handle. This way, your anxiety about the whodunnit can stay at bay while you enjoy the experience.
2. Enjoy the story as much as possible, because French can paint a mood like no other, and the wrap-up never quite lives up to the anticipation and atmosphere of the book. The experience is always better than the ending.
3. Pack your suspension of disbelief for the 20 pages of prose-etry dialogue from an ancillary character that will inevitably crack the case wide open 15% from the end.

With French, it's always worth the ride. 

 

PS - Come find me on Goodreads.

Favorite Apps! (The Kind You Eat.)

I hear there's a football game on this Sunday!

I'm sure there will be a lot of Marketing Monday morning quarterbacking (heh) when it comes to the commercials, but in the meantime, let's do our homework and prepare for the big game. 

Appetizers and snacks! I'm sharing my favorites. Get excited. 

1. For the last several years I have been spreading the gospel of Buffalo Chicken Dip. Make this now and thank me later. If you need a testimonial, ask my friend Miriel. Her oldest child is actually made of 40% buffalo chicken dip thanks to my important work. Serve this with tortilla chips, carrot sticks, and celery sticks. 

Don't judge a recipe by its picture. Just know that if you enjoy wings, you will fall madly in love with this dip. Not to oversell it.

Photo from franksredhot.com.

Photo from franksredhot.com.

2. Pigs in Blankets. One time, many moons ago, my husband and I hosted our first party. He went all out with super fancy cheese plates, duck prosciutto he cured himself, home-brewed beer, etc. etc. I, on the other hand, really wanted to make pigs in blankets for the first time because I had never had them. What's not to like about meat wrapped in pastry? Plus, I'd heard people love them. My husband was less enthused. He didn't think they'd go over that well. 

Guess which was the first party food to disappear, and quick? That's right. It's been nearly a decade and I still enjoy holding this story over his head.

Listen, now is not the time to get fancy. Do the Pillsbury crescent rolls and the Lil' Smokies. Though you can top them with sesame seeds or poppy seed if you wish. Serve with ketchup and mustard for dipping.

Photo from pillsbury.com

Photo from pillsbury.com

3. Homemade hummus. It takes minutes to whip up, and tastes miles better than the store-bought stuff. This is my go-to recipe. Serve with pita chips and all manner of vegetables. My favorites are baby carrots, mini bell peppers, and thick slices of English cucumber.

Photo from epicurious.com.

Photo from epicurious.com.

4. Rosemary roasted nuts. The recipe calls for cashews only, but for years my husband and I made a version of this with a mix of cashews and pecans and gave them out at the holidays. When I left my last job, my boss told me that he wouldn't write my recommendation until I gave him the recipe. 

Photo from foodnetwork.com.

Photo from foodnetwork.com.

5. Since childhood, chips and dip has been one of my favorite indulgences. It was the stuff of sleepover and birthday party legend. I will forever be partial to a packet of dry onion soup mixed dumped into some sour cream, but I can attest that this grown up version, Caramelized Onion Dip, is to die for. Get yourself some good ridged chips and go to town.

Photo from foodnetwork.com.

Photo from foodnetwork.com.

6. And finally, you can't go wrong with baked brie in puff pastry. Put raspberry or fig jam in the pastry with the brie, or serve it on the side with soft slices of baguette. This is a perennial favorite at Thanksgiving.

Photo from thekitchn.com.

Photo from thekitchn.com.

What's your go-to app recipe?