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11 Brilliant Gifts for the Kitchen Whiz in Your Life

The next best thing to holiday baking—finding someone who will do it for you. Here are 11 appetizing gifts perfect for your Martha Stewart-loving BFF, your culinarily gifted little bro, or just that coworker you’d like to encourage to bring in some treats.

1. HOMEMADE RAVIOLI KIT; $30

Help your favorite chef expand beyond fettuccine. Stocked with pre-measured flour, porcini mushrooms, and truffle-infused olive oil—and a ravioli recipe, obviously—this box transforms every cook into a culinary artist. Mangia!

Find It: Uncommon Goods

2. ONE HOPE BAKER GIFT BOX; $59

Inspire a little gift giving of your own when you treat the baker in your life to a set of triple chocolate cookie mix, tags, and twine. (The sparkling brut wine is theirs to keep.) And take comfort in knowing your present isn’t purely self-serving: Each purchase provides 25 meals to a child in need.

Find It: One Hope

3. BAD PICKLE TEES; $22

Let them display their love of food—and groan-worthy puns—with these statement tees. (They’re made from a combination of polyester, ring-spun cotton, and rayon.) Choose from such laughers as “Quinoa Getta What What?” and “I’m All That and Dim Sum.”

Find It: Bad Pickle Tees

4. ÄGGCØDDLER STEN; $20

This handy Scandinavian device lets cooks whip up egg-based delicacies in 10 minutes or less. The easy-to-follow process: butter the handheld porcelain cup, add in tasty ingredients, boil, and enjoy!

Find It: Aggcoddler

5. ENGRAVED CUTTING BOARD; $30

Ensure Mom never forgets Great Grandma’s sugar cookie recipe with this thoughtful gift. You simply upload the image and the company engraves the recipe—in the original handwriting!—on a 1.7-pound bamboo slab.

Find It: Kustom Products Inc.

6. DESSERT AND BAKING SALTS; $19

Christmas cookies get a sweet upgrade with this six-piece kit. Budding bakers can dress up classic shortbread with the vanilla lavender salt or amp up their must-try truffles with a sprinkle of espresso salt.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

7. STONEWALL KITCHEN BACON LOVER'S GIFT PACK; $35

Prove that everything really is better with bacon. The pork lovers in your inner circle can pig out on this mix of boozy bacon barbecue sauce, maple bacon aioli, and maple bacon onion jam.

Find It: Amazon

8. PARAGON INDUCTION COOKTOP; $300

A photo posted by FirstBuild (@thefirstbuild) on

Take the guesswork out of cooking (and searing, simmering, and poaching). A wireless sensor ensures the temperature on this 12-inch portable stove never wavers, while the app allows users to watch over their perfect steak from across the room or house.

Find It: First Build

9. NO KID HUNGRY SPATULAS; $13

These spatulas spread more than just cake batter. Thirty percent of proceeds from each tool—designed by the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Jimmy Kimmel, Ayesha Curry, and Trisha Yearwood—benefit childhood hunger charity No Kid Hungry.

Find It: Williams-Sonoma

10. OXGORD PROFESSIONAL CHEF KNIVES; $25

Brighten up a basic kitchen with this colorful stainless steel set. Along with the standard tools (think: a chef’s knife), the affordable kit includes a peeler, a cheese knife, and a pizza slicer—helpfully labeled “pizza”—all coated in a non-stick finish for easy cleaning.

Find It: Amazon

11. STATE-SHAPED TABLEWARE; $55 AND UP

Give them the whole world or, really, just their corner of the United States. Each piece of dishwasher- and over-safe porcelain tableware is designed to resemble a region of the country. Gift them a dish representing their home turf or snap up all five!

Find It: Shapeways

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
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Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

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