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sally-holiday-gift-ideas-1Shopping for family and friends during the December holidays can be either lots of fun or lots of stress. Sometimes we need a little help with coming up with the right gift for each person.

Here are a few of my holiday gift ideas from chocolates (my favorite gift to give and receive), cheeses, animal portraits, cookware and knives. Many times people give what they want to receive so if something appeals to you, it is likely to appeal to the recipient.

Chocolate-Lover Gift: Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

Gail Ambrosius, a mapmaker turned chocolatier, makes gourmet chocolates & truffles in her Madison, Wisconsin shop. Truffles like you’ve never tasted. She blends fruity, spicy Venezuelan chocolate with lemongrass, coconut and ginger. And she creates the mind-blowing sweetness and heat of nutty Colombian chocolate blended with cinnamon and roasted chilies. She is constantly tasting, adjusting, and concocting new signature treats, bringing in fresh seasonal flavors. My favorite is the Dark Caramel with Fleur de Sel. Each chocolate is hand made in small batches.

You can learn more at gailambrosius.com.

Cheese-Lover Gift: Season’s Eatings from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

No matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, you’ll find these all-natural, hand-crafted cheeses from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company are perfect to share with family and friends. All packages include recipes from the farm and a personalized gift note from you. A few of the offerings are Farm Fresh - $35 + Shipping (3 cheeses - offers a great taste of what we do here at Point Reyes) and Complete Cheese Course - $125 + Shipping (this is the perfect gift for a party or for an office to share). Cheeses include: Point Reyes Farmstead Original Blue, Toma, and Gift Packs.

You can reach them at 800.591.6878 or on their website at pointreyescheese.com.

Art-Lover Gift: Companion Animal Portraits Celebrate Your Best Friend 

Got BARKS? Want MEOWS? Here is an elegant keepsake of your treasured animal companion - a custom oil painting or drawing by Susan Becker. Commission original artwork celebrating your companion animal to treasure forever. Susan interprets personality and emotions on canvas, such as joy or sorrow, desire or hope, portraying and celebrating your companion, now and always. The artist supports animal advocacy organizations through her commissioned artwork.

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Enjoy colorful examples at BeckerPaints.com.

Food-Lover Gifts

1. Rachael Ray

This fall Rachael Ray introduced new products in her eponymous line of quality cookware, bakeware, stoneware, teakettles and other kitchenware products. Available at stores this season, just in time for holiday hosting and gift-giving, Rachael's new cookware includes an array of covered casseroles in traditional cast iron with an easy to care for porcelain exterior in her signature orange color, plus four new colors in Rachael Ray Porcelain II nonstick cookware, including Fennel, Purple, Yellow and Green. New oven to table stoneware, which comes in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors, includes many items, such as a versatile 10-inch Veggie Bowl in Orange, Red and Purple, and a 3.5 Quart Covered Casserole in a rectangular shape available in Orange, Red, Purple and Green.

Check out rachaelray.com for more information.

2. Kuhn Rikon Baguette Knife Colori

With a shape reminiscent of a loaf of bread, the Kuhn Rikon Baguette Knife Colori® has a long handle for maximum maneuverability. The 10.25-inch blade with heavy-duty nonstick serrated edge is made of high-quality Japanese carbon steel.  The Colori knife includes a safety sheath for easy storage and transport and is dishwasher safe.

These can be found on kuhnrikon.com.

For more on holiday gifts and foods, check out Sally Bernstein!

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