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AFN’s last minute holiday gift ideas (of course they’re about food!)

December 24, 2020

In 2020, you get a pass for not thinking ahead on holiday gift-giving. If you’ve been so head-down focused on just getting to the end that you missed Hanukkah completely, and the Winter Solstice, and are now watching the clock tick down to Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year, fret not! There are still plenty of options to send a token of love and thoughtfulness to family, friends and colleagues before we (finally!) ring in 2021. (And to at least get that gift notification in their inboxes in time.)

The team at AFN gets a lot of food-related fodder in our inboxes, as you can imagine. We’ve pulled together a (very) small sampling of companies filling the holidays with food delivery joy. Wherever your family, friends and colleagues are, there will undoubtedly be many more options nearby, offered by local businesses who would probably really appreciate your quick Google Maps search and visit to their website.

Buy a gift card to a local restaurant

This is a no-brainer. We may all barely remember what it’s like to sit in a restaurant at peak dinner hour, jammed shoulder to shoulder with strangers at the bar or adjacent tables and not feel complete and total anxiety—to delight in it, even. But we did, and we will again. And right now, all of our old favorite haunts need us.

A third of restaurants in the US could shutter permanently because of the pandemic. Those restaurants are often passion businesses for local chefs and owners, and small pillars for their local communities. And they’re all struggling.

A gift card is basically an interest-free loan. It’s also a small physical reminder that we will all get to go to restaurants again with our friends, family and colleagues. Look up your gift recipient’s favorite spots, or just a place nearby that seems like a place they’d like, and buy a gift card. It’s a sure way to send something with a personal touch, and to have a positive impact, no matter where in the world you or they are.

Send a box of meat!

I know we’re all sick of cooking for ourselves at this point, but really—is there a better alternative to spending actual face time with someone than gifting them a giant box of meat? We don’t think so. (If you, your family, friends, colleagues are vegetarian or vegan, the next section is for you!) There are options like Porter Road (read more here) and Moink (more) that send nationwide in the US, and family farms like Moore Brothers Natural that also do online delivery.

If you need options in the UK, there’s… so many! Primal Meats and Farmison. Riverford Organic and Able & Cole, which both offer organic meat boxes and other food items. In the Netherlands, check out De Lekkere Man, which has a sustainability twist and very entertaining website reading (Google translate will help for the non-Dutch speakers).

… Or a box of non-meat!

There are so many online grocers now that offer gift boxes and gift cards, it’s almost hard to know where to start. How about the ones focused on local farms or helping reduce food waste or distributing food to communities in need? Seems like the right angle for a holiday season at the end of a very long and tough year.

“Ugly produce” delivery company Misfits Market offers gift cards and non-perishable foods, serving many parts of the US. A number of locally-focused delivery services now exist, committed to community-supported agriculture (CSA), like Edible Gardens in Los Angeles or Full Circle Farm in Maryland. Most won’t do gift boxes, but there’s always the option to gift a subscription!

There are plenty of options all over Europe too. See, for example, Riverford Organic and Able & Cole in the UK (above). OddBox offers subscription deliveries around London and Wonky Veg Boxes around Leicestershire. In the Netherlands, Farmed Today offers gift cards and one-off specialty gift boxes, with new deliveries available for early in the New Year.

And in Singapore, UglyFood and WhatIF Foods both offer gift and taster box options.

All the comfort stuff

2020 is the year of delivery: Your favorite beer brewery or coffee roaster likely delivers by now. Your friends, family and colleagues’ local coffee roasters, bakeries and specialty shops probably do too, and would no doubt appreciate the business.

If you’re not a coffee or tea drinker but want to send coffee or tea to a coffee or tea drinker, check out Sakari Botanicals and O-Gah-Pah Coffee, both with environmental and social missions. Other choices: Fresh pies (both sweet and savory) delivered anywhere in the US? Carbon neutral vodka? (Stay tuned for molecular coffee gift options.)

Farmer friendly

And for those of you with a hard-to-shop-for farmer in your life, what clamps off 2020 better than Numnuts? (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.)

Let us know what other fun and creative ideas should be on our radar by getting in touch at [email protected].

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