Things for the kitchen always seem like safe gifts for anyone who at least dabbles around in the kitchen. But no one really wants yet another Christmas-themed platter, or a set of mugs that completely clashes with the rest of the serveware they already own. So if you are looking for a good gift, go for the novelty factor. People are less likely to buy things for their own kitchen if they only serve one function, as these items do. That doesn't mean they aren't really awesome things to own.
| 1. SodaStream Pure Soda Maker ($150) | This is the big trendy kitchen gadget right now. You know this is the case when Sur la Table has a big display dedicated to it right next to the register. It's a nifty home carbonator that lets you make your own carbonated water at home, for which you can customize the level of fizz. As Pellegrino addicts, this was intriguing for me and Nick but we learned that it doesn't filter the water, it just carbonates whatever liquid you put in it. This would make a great gift for someone who already has a Brita filter or a filtering faucet attachment and wants to save the environment by cutting down on their bottle consumption. Learn more here.
| 2. Polka Dot Ceramic Cup ($13) | This is an adorable take on the "I am not a paper cup" cup—a ceramic cup shaped like a paper cup with a silicone lid molded to look like a Starbucks lid. I have a plain one and it doesn't keep my coffee warm any more than a paper cup would but it does give me a sense of comfort as I am walking out the door on a cold day.
| 3. Trudeau Grapefruit Knife ($6) | This is a knife made specifically for cutting grapefruits but I have never used it for that purpose. I use it to cut holes into cherry tomatoes so I can fill them with avocado and bacon.
| 4. Chef'n SleekSlice Collapsible Hand-Held Mandoline ($20) | I bought one of these because I have been seeing a lot of chefs on Food Network and Cooking Channel use them lately. I haven't tested it out yet, but it is supposed to slice vegetables into paper-thin slices in a flash.
| 5. Perfect Cube Ice Cube Trays ($13 for 2) | One night, Nick and I were having drinks as Gitane and we noticed that the ice cubes there were perfectly cube-shaped. Suddenly we had to be able to make perfectly cube-shaped ice cubes at home too, so we went out and got these silicone trays. It's a little hard to pop out the huge cubes of ice they produce but once you do, they really make all of your iced beverages look ultra cool. Ha!