By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Looking for the perfect gift for the people in your life this holiday season? Here’s the Northwest Asian Weekly gift guide to help you shop for even the pickiest people.
Whistles delight kids
What caught my 3-year-old grand nephew’s eyes when he entered my office were whistles on my computer desk.
Those were leftover whistles I bought for the Chinatown elderly just in case they were attacked in the midst of anti-Asian hate crimes.
He and his younger brother wanted them immediately. Earlier, we gave them red envelopes with lucky money and they quickly abandoned them. But the whistles were like new discoveries. They dashed around whistling in the office like a flying band. Wow, whistles which cost less than $1 each, brought them so much joy and fun. What does it tell you about kids? An expensive gift might not be the most appealing gift for them.
For someone who likes to make things from scratch or make things with their own hands, LEGOs are a good choice.
Both kids and adults enjoy LEGOs. Although they are pricey, it develops our patience and enhances our creativity.
Restaurant and grocery gift certificates
Restaurant and grocery gift cards are practical gifts. You not only support the restaurant and grocery industries, your gift helps to create jobs. It’s easy to buy and send. Recently, I bought a gift to donate to a nonprofit agency. Mailing is a headache since the post office is slow and packing is another issue.
If you know your loved ones’ favorite store or restaurant, send them a gift certificate so they can use it at their convenience. If you are a receiver of gift cards, use them as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might forget to use them. I once forgot a grocery store gift card my friend gave me. When I found the card, it was eight years later, and the store’s computer could not read the code. So I wasted a gift.
Deliver Chinatown foods to friends
During COVID, I have delivered food to friends for whom it may not be convenient to drive to Chinatown restaurants for take-out. Just ask your friends or loved ones who won’t be able to cook Christmas or New Year’s dinner, and you can order from a CID restaurant and have it delivered to them. It’s a great gift from the heart.
Expensive gift to impress
Want to impress sake lovers, this gigantic sake bottle (the size of 4-6 regular bottles, see behind the big sake) with its shape like a flower vase, costs $800 at Uwajimaya.
It’s meaningful if you can create a gift. The Northwest Asian Weekly has made plaques containing stories of the sources.
Asian gift baskets
If you’d like to make gift baskets with an Asian theme, include bowls, chopsticks, sake, Asian snacks, Asian wine, Asian spices (more details to follow), and sauces, Asian drinks, instant ramen noodles, seaweed, Asian restaurant and Asian supermarket gift cards, etc. Just take a trip to an Asian store, you can gather your items in less than 10 minutes.
Do you have an aspiring chef in your life, or simply someone who loves to cook?
A gift basket of Asian spices would be a great addition to their culinary repertoire. An informal poll of cooking enthusiasts in my circle stated some of their “must haves”: coriander, turmeric, five-spice powder, ginger powder, star anise powder, curry powder, cumin, and garam masala.
Unless you know what type of tea your receiver likes, Mako—who sources her teas from China and sells them at Serenity Moon Tea in Kent—suggests getting a bag of each kind to put in a gift basket: white, green, black, oolong, red, herbal, and decaf, along with a double walled glass tea cup. It’s a great way to introduce someone to tea, or give the tea lover a little bit of everything. Also include Japanese and Ceylon teas for the basket.
Just released and available nationwide at Nordstrom stores and Nordstrom online, “Starhug, a Journey of Hope, Healing and Hugs” is Cindy Wong’s first children’s book. A heartwarming story about being caring, brave, supporting each other during tough times, and learning to grow together, there are many powerful messages for young hearts. This book makes a wonderful stocking stuffer or holiday present! Kids and adults love the book.
Other book recommendations:
“Eyes That Kiss in the Corner,” by Joanna Ho, with illustrations by Dung Ho
This is a children’s picture book that tells a story about learning to love and celebrate Asian-shaped eyes. The book is about a young Asian girl who, upon realizing that her eyes look different from everyone in her class, learns how to embrace her eyes and those of her mother, grandmother, and other family members.
“Chaat,” by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy
Chaat in Hindi means “to lick” and the term refers to snacks or small bites. In this cookbook, celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan shares recipes and stories inspired by a journey traveling cross-country by rail, snacking on chaat all the way. This cookbook was named “one of the best cookbooks of the year” by multiple publications.
“Homicide and Halo-Halo,” by Mia P. Manansala
Death at a beauty pageant turns Tita Rosie’s Kitchen upside down in the latest entry of this witty and humorous, cozy mystery series by Mia P. Manansala—which is steeped in rich Filipino heritage and stuffed with delicious Filipino food.
Face masks are now necessary items.
There are some fashionable masks which you can buy online and you can give them as gifts. The Asian Weekly was lucky to receive donated masks from International Chinese Christian Church of Tacoma and my friend’s daughter Crystal. Masks belong to the practical gift category. You can’t go wrong with it.
Winter is here. It’s too cold to go shopping for some folks. You may buy dried foods such as nuts, mushrooms, and fruits for your loved ones so they can have emergency foods without going outside.
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.