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Xmas on Your Doorstep

by The Editors
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We asked some of our contributors to tell us their favorite things that come in the mail at Xmas. We always think that one of the nicest things to do, if you can’t be with someone at the holidays, is to send something that can be part of their holiday meal, Xmas dinner, Xmas breakfast. A favorite jam, a basket of muffins, crab cakes, caviar (although this may not be the year for that), an apple pie, candleholders, a smoked ham or turkey, or even barbecued brisket!

panettone01.jpgEvery Christmas, we receive a large Italian Panettone Cake from Dino and Martha De Laurentiis. It looks good in its elaborate wrapping, and tastes good, too, especially as French toast. But the reason we love it so much has more to do with its power to remind us - like a photograph - of the many evenings we’ve spent with this remarkable family - here in LA, in Florence, and, on the eve of the Millennium in, of all places, the South Pacific.
Steven Zaillian


grater.jpgMy sister in law gave me a Microplane Grater as a Christmas present a few years ago, and I use it constantly. It's wand shaped, which makes it really fun to use. Sometimes I like to pretend it's a violin bow while I zest lemons and such. It also has a scabbard, and that's cool. The best thing about it is that your arm doesn't get tired, but your parmesan turns into fluffy, salty snow. It would fit nicely in a stocking, and you should seriously get one if you haven't already.
Agatha French


Besides wine, the best gift we get every year is a 6-pk of petite filets from Omaha Steaks. They are the perfect size for relatively guilt-free meat consumption and are always tender and delicious regardless of how rare or well-done you like yours cooked. They turn a regular steak dinner into something special. 
Lisa Dinsmore


pistachio_nuts.jpgI have a friend who sends me a bag of California Pistachios each year and it has become one of the highlights of the holiday season for me. While others herald the arrival of mail at this time of year, bringing cards and letters from family and friends, I anxiously await the postman's delivery of a package filled with these delicious nuts. I don't know what it is about them (they're a pain in the neck to open and I don't eat them at any other time during the year), but to me the arrival of the pistachios (like the lighting of the tree at Rock Center or the first of a gazillion broadcasts of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE) lets me know that the holidays have truly begun.
Seale Ballenger


macaroons.jpgA beautiful box of Ladurée Macaroons to share with your sweetheart over a pot of Darjeeling tea and great conversation... That is what I would like my FedEx driver to deliver. (Just the Macaroons.)
Brenda Athanus


apron.jpgPretty much every Christmas since the start of the Bush administration, (though I still haven’t figured out the connection), someone gave me a fabulous apron. The blue one with the white polka dots, for example, is from Amy; the sheer, short vintage one with the letter “M” embroidered on the right breast – a gift from my stepdaughter Sal; the white-on-white striped one with the pink rickrack and the yellow, green, purple and rose circles – courtesy of my niece Jennifer. The point is not that I don’t have any; the issue with me and aprons is that I don't put one on til after the barn door is closed. When de Kooning dots of marinara dribble from my tasting spoon onto my best white blouse (the one with the trumpet sleeves, and I still don’t know how that happened because I swear I was holding that spoon right over the pot), after Rorschach blots of dark brown gravy appear on my favorite navy crepe dress, as a constellation of hot caramel from the Tarte Tatin splatters from my cast iron skillet onto my red cashmere cardigan – only then do I decide to tie on an apron. This is not good. This is not why God invented them. If only someone would call and remind me that in a battle between Minestrone and me, the Minestrone will always win – now that would be a perfect Christmas present.
Katherine Reback


loaf_peach_big.jpgThe best peach bread you will ever put in your mouth is from the shop Breadwinner. It is the gift I give all my friends who have everything. It has been featured on the "Today Show," among others. I am lucky I live down the street from the store. Trust me, order it and and you will become addicted. Everything they have is one of a kind but I truly adore their peach bread.
Laura Johnson

trovel.jpgWhat I like to receive during the holiday season is a small shovel that I can use to dig a hole in my backyard and bury all the holiday cakes, candy and long interminable accounts of what the year was like for everyone in their family that are sent our way. 
  Alan Zweibel


mexicancookies.jpgMy college roommate's mother bakes the most delicious Mexican wedding cookies in the world and every Christmas sent us a care package full of cookie tins all carefully labelled in her elegant handwriting. We weren't exactly good little girls in college, but we still managed to earn Mrs. Hinojosa's cookies. I would like to repeat college for a variety of reasons; receiving these cookies every year would be chief among them.
Emily Fox


My husband and I love the Chesapeake Crab package...when it arrives I call my doctor/friend who comes over and both our families drink wine and dine on the crabs.
Susan Dolgen


laburdick.jpgI am like a child when I get food in the mail (to the extent that I have been known to fight with my son over who gets to open the package), and I have to admit that I'm always disappointed when it isn't chocolate. The best food gift I've received was a one-pound box of assorted chocolates from L.A. Burdick's, a superb chocolatier based in New Hampshire. Their handmade bonbons are beautiful to look at and delicious. I savored that box for a long time – and I even shared.
Andrea Pyenson


I love getting bar-yochi, those carob bars because they're the sweetest, most delic treats on earth, bar-none!
David Israel


fairytalebrownies.jpgThe best food thing I've ever gotten in the mail: a delectable assortment of gourmet brownies from Fairytale Brownies, which Random House Films sent me once the contracts were signed. They were rich and decadent, individually packaged little brownies in flavors like toffee crunch, peanut butter, pecan, and caramel, and the lovely sparkling fairytale packaging just added to the magical feel of it. Really, imagine opening a box and being confronted with chocolate and fairies. There is nothing better!!!
Carolyn Turgeon


I think everyone could use cute heart shaped Alessi Coffee & Tea Spoons!
Maia Harari


lecreuset.jpgAlthough it is always a nice surprise to get something edible in the mail during the holiday season I love to give and receive kitchen utensils, equipment, and gadgets as gifts. One year a box from my sister arrived with an Italian espresso maker and to this day every time I make a piping hot cappuccino or espresso shot I am reminded of her generosity. Cookware and electronic or technical equipment are a welcome addition to any home and make a lasting impression in their utility. In my experience, kitchens could always use an upgrade or expansion and the holiday season is a perfect excuse to shop for yourself and others, especially if it means new Le Creuset cookware!
Jackson Malle


zabarsbabka.jpgOne year my best pal in NY sent me a large hunk of Barney Greengrass' whitefish and several chocolate babka muffins to appease my eternal, if lowgrade, homesickness for NY (yes, I am the living cliche after almost thirty years in LA). Then, just when I thought such a gift could not be out done, I received three huge pieces of Zabar's herring with cream and onions, a half-pound of nova, a few H&H bagels and cream cheese, and a Zabar's entire chocolate babka from my step-mother. I was supposed to share with my husband. Not a chance!
Pamela Felcher

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>For other ideas check out our
Holiday Gift Guide.

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