Countdown to Christmas 

Countdown to Christmas Countdown to Christmas 
This year, I thought I had it all under control. I did most of my holiday shopping ahead of time figuring that shipping would be an issue, and it was. That is not my normal method of tackling the holidays. I usually cut things a little bit closer to the deadline. But this year, of all the years, I was on it. Everything arrived and is now wrapped and waiting under the tree. Or so I thought…

You know that old saying  “out of sight, out of mind”?…yeah. It’s a thing. Since the world is in lockdown, there are people that you used to see everyday that you just don’t get to see anymore. Sure you talk and text occasionally but it’s not the same. Normally, this person would be front and center right there on your gift list but alas…pandemic brain.

So what do you do when you find yourself in this position with very little time to get anything sent? Well, if you work in a grocery store, you get creative. Sure you could go for the easy bottle of wine, fancy bourbon or box of chocolates because they are nice gifts and, well, we could all use a little shot of somethin’ right now…am I right? That’s the easy way out. The other option is putting together something with a little more thought.

Here are two possibilities I came up with. One of them is the gift I actually used. You can decide which one that was.

Option number one would be to put together a Tea gift basket of sorts, though you don’t have to use an actual basket. (Gift boxes work equally well.) We have some beautiful ceramic tea mugs in our tea section as well as infusers and a wide variety of teas. Pair any of those items with some locally produced honey and maybe a box of shortbread and/or chocolates and you have a great gift that will give your recipient a little warmth and relaxation as well as letting them know you appreciate them. (You could also do something similar with hot cocoa or coffee.)

The second option is Soup in a Box. Here you have a number of options. You can grab some dried beans, some barley or some farro. There are also several dried soup mixes to give someone a head start. A concentrated broth base like Better Than Bouillon is great. I recommend the chicken or the vegetable for those who don’t eat meat. Some artisan small sized pasta. A few dried spices like thyme or even something spicy. Go for a nice selection. Some cornbread or biscuit mix to go with the soup would be yummy. Finish it all with some Fleur de Sel and a jar of peppercorns and you have not only shown your love but provided them with a hot meal as well.

I will caution you. These types of gifts can be great when you are on a budget but can also add up if you go too crazy. Like adding a rockin’ bottle of wine to go with the soup.

If there is one thing I have learned during this crazy holiday season, and frankly during this year, it is that the little gestures matter. Making cookies for my neighbors and having them make some for us was probably the highlight of my December. It was something so easy to do and it gave all of us so much joy. So, while something like grabbing a couple of items at the store to give to someone might seem like no big deal, it could really make the day of the person on the receiving end no matter what it may be.

To our customers who have stuck with us during this past year through mask wearing, entrance lines, disinfectant, and plexiglass, it has been our extreme honor to serve you. We thank you for your understanding, patience, your encouragement, and your cooperation during these incredible times. There is no way we could have gotten this far without working together with our community. For that reason we would like to wish you a very happy and above all healthy holiday from the Piedmont Grocery family to yours.

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