Now that grocery stores are competing with big box stores that sell food, they're adding more non-food items to their shelves. That creates a one-stop shopping opportunity — and who doesn't need to save a little time this month? When you're out buying food, pick up some thoughtful gifts for those on your list. Here are some ideas:
A French press, a bag of organic coffee and a travel mug will please any coffee lover. Look for fair trade or Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees as choices, too. If you don't know if the recipient owns a coffee grinder, make sure you buy ground coffee, not whole beans.
A cookbook and non-perishable ingredients. Head to the book and magazine section and find a cookbook you think your gift recipient would love. Flip through the pages and pick a recipe, and then grab some of the non-perishable ingredients needed to make it. If it calls for unusual ingredients that the person is unlikely to have on hand, choose those first. Then round it out with other ingredients of good quality.
A music gift card and an extra charger for an MP3 player or smartphone. Find out how the tween or teen (or even adult) on your list accesses music and buy the appropriate gift card. An iTunes gift card works for many, but a lot of people use other music services like Spotify or Amazon. So the gift card isn't all by itself in an envelope, grab an extra charger that works with the device used. Everyone can always use an extra charger.
Most home cooks wouldn't mind changing out their glass casserole dish for a pretty-colored ceramic one. Grab one from the grocery store and add a casserole recipe magazine for a thoughtful gift. (Photo: Designer Outlets/flickr)
A colorful ceramic casserole dish and a casserole-themed recipe magazine. A large ceramic casserole dish in a color is always more fun to serve a casserole than a plain glass dish. Grab one from the kitchenware aisle, and then head to the magazine section. Many food magazines put out special editions that focus on one type of dish, and there's a good chance you'll find a special edition casserole-themed magazine to add to your gift.
Pretty tea towels. These would make a lovely hostess gift if you're going somewhere as a guest. You can choose tea towels with seasonal themes on them, or you can choose red and white making them great for this holiday, Valentine's Day, and most of the rest of the year.
A tea cup, some quality tea and a good book create a gift that gives someone permission to take a little alone time. Glasses not included. (Photo: Muhammad Shahmeer Athar/flickr)
A book, a mug and a box of tea or hot cocoa. Here's a gift that works for any age. Grab a book you think your gift recipient would like to read from the book section of the store, and then head to the kitchenware aisle to find a mug or a tea cup. Finish the gift with some good tea for an adult or some hot cocoa for a kid.
Olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar of excellent quality. The quality of oil and vinegar can make a noticeable difference in a dish, but often for the sake of our budgets, we buy less expensive versions. For those who really enjoy cooking, high-quality olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar that they normally wouldn't buy for themselves make a great gift.
Don't forget to wrap your gifts with style. Just because they came from the grocery store doesn't mean you can hand them to the recipient in a plastic grocery bag!