For most of my life I’ve been told I’m a good gift giver. I am not sure what qualifies a person as an expert to make a gift guide, but I do put a lot of thought and research into my gift giving. Personally, I think the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart (check out these I love you a latke potholders, my best gift of 2020).

Anything handmade or sentimental is far better than store bought. If you are all out of sentiment, I’ve got a gift guide of what I like to give and receive.

I’m a fan of buying things that can be used, rather than that take up space and eventually end up in the landfill. Experiences, edibles (not those kinds), or activities are the way to go for this Wine Oh.

These are a few of my favorite things, most of the items on this non sponsored, no ad links, or kick backs (not that there’s anything wrong with that 😉 ) holiday gift guide, I have already bought or will be buying for myself or someone else.

Holiday Gift Guide: Wine, Food & Beyond Here’s What I’m Buying

Bubbly: I can’t tell you how fun it is to surprise someone with a bottle or several bottles of bubbly! I normally buy from Kogod Wine Merchant or The San Francisco Wine Trading Company.

I confessed to Self Magazine, my  obsession with bubbly boiled over.  Let’s just say in 2021, my love went from Fatal Attraction to An Affair to Remember. Meaning she’s in my life but doesn’t rule it. 🙂 Here are two wine samples this year are from two really well known and well loved Champagne/Sparkling wine houses.

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Brut NV ($60) It’s one of the world’s oldest Champagne Houses and boasts Marie Antoinette as its first brand ambassador, so you know this bottle of bubbly is fit for a Queen. Chief Winemaker Emilien Boutillat crafts the House signature cuvée from sustainably grown Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. The official Champagne of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, Piper-Heidsieck, is well-known to the stars and wine enthusiasts alike. Piper-Heidsieck is also the Champagne partner of the InterContinental 75th anniversary celebrations.

KORBEL 2018 Russian River Natural ($17) Since 1882, KORBEL has remained a versatile and spontaneous sparkler that transforms the everyday. KORBEL Natural’ is a very dry, delicate California champagne – a true representation of KORBEL’s fruit-forward “house” style. It is made from the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in the cool climate of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. It features apple notes complemented by sweet flavors of orange, lime and raspberry.

Gourmet Gift Cards: I’ve always had a practice of giving the gift of good food and an evening out. Now more than ever (an overused expression but it fits in this instance), I believe we need to support local restaurants. I spent the better part of 2021 putting my money where my mouth is and started dining out again. I bought a few gift cards to some of my favorite (ideally local and family owned) restaurants. I also scope out what restaurants my family members like to dine in and buy them cards to their favorites no matter where they live.

Olive Oil: I’ve been gifting EVOO from this Puglian Olive Oil producer ever since I first interviewed him for Wine Oh TV in 2017. Now, I see Frantoio Muraglia made it on Oprah’s Favorite Things List in 2021. He’s been on Mo’s favorite things list for five years and counting. I’m also a big fan of Temecula Olive Oil Company and Colavita!

Multi Use Board: I bought this awesome and very expensive Farmtable Plank for myself because Oprah told me to. I will let you know how it holds up after I gift it to myself. Ha!

Holiday Gift Guide: Here's What I Buy Wine, Food, & BeyondCandy, Candy, Candy, I can’t let you go: I have a confession to make. I don’t like “art candy” that comes with creative flavors like: lavender-infused-cilantro with avocado and turmeric. I like candy that tastes like candy. Omaha’s very own famous old time candies that come from See’s Candy, good for the heart and the soul. This is the To: Me, From: Me, I get me every year. One pound box with half dark chocolate and caramel and half scotchmallow.

Kid’s Crap: So my daughters’ mom is the worst. She routinely gets them socks, underwear, and PJ’s as presents. Their first holiday she got them Aquaphor. She’s cheap and she’s practical. This year, she decided to add the arts to the gift lift essentials. Don’t tell them but they are going IN PERSON to see the Nutcracker, The Grinch, and the Frozen at the symphony, all at the venues listed below.

Supporting the Arts. I’ve always been an advocate of supporting the arts but a year without them showed me how desperately I need them. I bought tickets to my local ballet, theater and symphony.

Games: I just bought a few fun and informative wine education puzzles from Water and Wines beacause Instagram told me to. I’ll let you know how I like them once they arrive. A million years ago I bought Winerd. It’s still one of my favorites, probably because I always win! Ha!

Workout Wear: Local company, great clothes, plus pockets to put everything in! I can’t get enough of Vuori Clothing. The Stride Leggings are my favorite!

Flowers, Fiori, Fleurs, Flores: No matter how you say it, bouquets translate to pure bliss. In my 20’s I used to tell people, “Don’t buy me flowers, they just die!” 30-something and 40-something Monique has totally changed her tune. I LOVE getting and receiving flowers. They fill my heart and my home with happiness. I’ve also come to the conclusion that if you are going to buy someone flowers, don’t send them in a box, where the getter has to do all the work. Send them in a vase that they can place directly on display. Something about fussing with a box, finding a vase, cutting the tips, filling with water and finding a place to dispose of all the waste really steals some of the joy out of the gift. I only recently discovered this. So, if you get flowers from me from now on they will be hand delivered, in a vase from a local florist like Flowers of the Valley. Or if you are in San Diego, Devin Parr recently sent me an amazing arrangement from Societe Fine Flowers.

Photo Books: I love to print out photos from the year and put them in a very cheap Google photo book. This way I have each year to look back on. I started this holiday gift practice in 2017 and once again am very glad I did! We flip through these books almost daily.

Gratitude Journals: I have been actively writing in my gratitude journal ever since Oprah told me too in 2014. I got my late husband on board too. I can’t tell you how much it means to me now having his daily lists of things he was thankful for. It didn’t occur to me then how much our words matter and once they are put down on paper, they can be passed down.

I look back and see times I wrote I was thankful for my daughter saying “Dadda” for the first time. Or I was thankful to my husband washing my car, or the million other mundane things in life we don’t stop to think about. What we are most grateful for often, at the time, seems meaningless, the gift of writing down puts it all into perspective. I bought Mark this Gratitude Journal a few years back.

Happy Holidays and Cheers to a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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