... really, it's nothing.... I'm just staring at the wall. Absolutely nothing is going on. Feel free to step out....
... Are they gone? Whew. Let's get right down to business. First, if you know a cookie decorator -- you should be commended for putting up with their little - okay - HUGE, out-of-control obsession with cookies. You are practically a saint for going to bed by yourself every night of the week while they stay up for "just another 30 minutes" finishing their cookies. And for not saying anything when they make a "quick run" to the craft store. Again. Even though they went this morning. Twice. And for sacrificing your sock drawer for those extra cutters that came in the mail that they "don't remember ordering." And for that matter... sacrificing your entire dining room table. I mean, when was the last time you SAW that thing? And most of all -- for listening to them talk about cookies over and over again and not letting them know that you would rather eat your own foot instead. We love that the most. Forget chocolate. What a cookie decorator really wants is a good "I would love to know more about that cookie." But since that doesn't fit under the tree, I've come up with a list of things that will.
GIFTS YOU CAN GET EVERY DECORATOR... EVERY YEAR
1. DUSTS -- Disco dust, Petal dust and Luster dust. You can get them in any color and any quantity. And it doesn't matter how many they already have. They will always be happy for another one. (You know, because when they get a second pink, they can actually use the first pink and stop saving it for a time when they'll *really* need it.)
PRICE: $3-5 Get them HERE or HERE. And while you are at it, grab a dust shaker HERE.
2. PME SUPATUBES -- These are the best decorating tips that money can buy. They are made of stainless steal. They don't rust. They do, however, like to lose themselves in garbage disposals and other places where they will never be found. And then there is devastation in the heart of the cookie decorator. No one likes devastation.
PRICE: $4-5 Find them HERE or HERE. You might also be able to find them at a local craft store.
3. ATECO COUPLERS -- When it comes to couplers, there are two kinds. There are Ateco couplers and there are couplers you don't actually want to use, but you do because that's what you bought in the first place because you didn't know better and now that you *do* know better, you can't justify throwing them away and getting the good ones even though they are 67 cents each.
PRICE: $1 Get them HERE.
4. HALF SHEET BAKING PAN -- I have never heard a cookie decorator say, "I just have too many half sheet baking pans. I'm going to toss a few of them out." They can never have too many. They use them to bake cookies on. And to store decorating supplies when they move from room to room. And to transport cookies. And as a flat, secure place on which to place cookies while they dry. And as a sled. They need another one or five. Trust me. The most common baking sheets are 18 gauge aluminum. (And a half sheet is 18" by 13")
PRICE: $6-12 You can buy them HERE or HERE. Most stores that sell any kind of kitchen supplies will also carry them.
5. BEATER BLADES -- If they don't already have one, they want one. If they already have one, they want another one in case that one breaks. Because...sadly... they do break. And since these blades have an uncanny knack for breaking in the middle of the busiest and most frustrating day of your cookie decorator's entire life... they will love you forever when they are able to pull out that back up and keep going at 2am. And you will be glad that they didn't wake you up hysterically crying because they haven't slept in two days and don't actually have any logical reasoning skills left.One warning -- MAKE SURE you know the exact brand and model number of their mixer before purchasing one of these. They aren't one size fits all.
PRICE: $18-35 Click HERE for a whole range of options. Specialty kitchen stores should have many sizes as well.
6. PLATES AND PLATTERS -- Cookie decorators want people to look at their cookies. So they put them on a pretty plate and take a picture and post it online. Or invite all of their friends to come over and look at them. But not every plate matches every cookie collection. Any cookie decorator would welcome new plates and platters for their cookies. Many of them would even be happy with a random assortment from the local thrift store as well. When in doubt - white is always classy.
PRICE: $1- 40 Some great places to look - Most home stores (Home Goods, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel,) Craft stores (Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, Michael's) Specialty Kitchen Stores, Thrift Shops, Department Stores...
7. SKETCHBOOKS -- If they don't have one, they should. I have three. And I kind of want another one. They can use it to trace their cutters and then draw and color their designs before starting. They can use it as a scrapbook of inspiration by gluing pieces of magazines, wrapping paper and cards to each page. They can use it to keep track of their favorite color combinations... and how they made them. Big sketchbooks should be spiral bound so they can be opened flat for cutter tracing. Small bound sketchbooks also have a place as they are perfect for carrying around so they never forget an idea.
PRICE: $7-15 Get one HERE or at most book stores or art stores.
8. STENCILS -- Stencils can make fancy designs quick work. The hardest part about using a stencil is keeping it clean. It would be GREAT to have a duplicate stencil so you could work twice as long before stopping to clean it. It would also be GREAT to have fun, new stencils to try out.
PRICE: $6-90 You can find a huge assortment HERE. THIS ONE is my favorite.
GIFTS THAT REQUIRE A LITTLE MORE SLEUTHING
(They may already have one and not need any more.)
9. PRETTY JARS -- for sprinkles and sanding sugars and other edible decorations. They want to organize them. And easily see what they have and what they can use. And secretly (or not) they just want to stare at their sugars and sprinkles and think about how pretty they are. 4-6 ounce jars are usually the right size.
PRICE: $2-4 each You can get some glass jar sets HERE or or at many home or kitchen stores. And for houses with small children, grab some plastic jars HERE.
10. HEAT SEALER -- If they sell cookies at all, then they put them in some kind of bag or wrapping. And if they want to keep selling those cookies, they have to make sure they stay fresh. One of the best ways to do that is with a heat sealer.They come in many lengths, with and without cutters. The 8" and 12" sizes are most popular and the cutting option is desirable, but not necessary.
11. AIRBRUSH -- The airbrush has exploded on the cookie scene this year. Anyone who is anyone has an airbrush. Or at least wants one. Or at least wants to know someone who has one.
PRICE $60-300 Get the Pegasus HERE or try craft stores in your area for the Duff's brand airbrush. (Be sure to use your 40% off coupon!) And if you are considering getting a color starter kit to go with it, you can find one HERE. Not ready for the whole set-up? Get them some cans of Wilton spray like THESE. (Silver, Gold, and Pearl are the most popular colors)
12. BUN PAN RACK -- Remember how they have all those half sheet pans and need more? Remember how you *used* to have a dining room table? Get a bun pan rack and solve both problems. If they make more than 10 -15 dozen cookies in a week or just have way too much cookie "things" scattered in every corner of your house, they might need the taller size. As an added bonus... it also doubles as a scooter for small children.
PRICE: $70-180 Get the full size HERE and the half size HERE. Local restaurant supply places may also have some on hand.
PRICE: $170-430 Check HERE or HERE first. They usually have the best prices. Not that I check. Often.
14. GIFT CARDS -- And if you hate all of my ideas. Or they already have ten jillion of all of them... go for the ever versatile gift cards. Here are some great places to get gift cards for cookie decorators --
Also try your local craft store or grocery store. (Butter doesn't grow on trees, you know.)
And to all of you listening in from the hallway -- What did I miss? Is there a better deal somewhere we should tell them about? Let me know!