It's the most wonderful time of the year, as in, it's that two-month stretch where it's acceptable to eat everything in sight, including some of the best seasonal desserts (hello peppermint bark, decorated sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms) of the year.

You're probably in a Secret Santa swap or have a list of friends family members to buy Hanukkah or Christmas gifts for, and maybe on these lists, you have a friend who really likes to eat. Or maybe you drew a random acquaintance or cousin from your Secret Santa pool and trying to decide if it's acceptable to throw a gift card in a generic mug and call it a day.  

In any case, below I have compiled a NYC holiday gift guide, aka a list of things I would happily receive for Christmas (hint, hint, friends, Santa, mom.)

Cookies from Levain Bakery

chocolate, cookie, peanut butter, peanut, butter, oatmeal
Emma Fingleton

How can I not start with my bakery-soulmate, Levain? I want my ashes to be scattered on 74th St. Their enormous, molten cookies have topped countless "NYC's Best Cookie" lists for a reason. If you don't want to brave the line at the UWS location, head over to Harlem to pick up a box of cookies for your lucky recipient (and obviously a few for yourself, for quality control of course).

They also ship their cookies nationwide if you don't live close to NYC, although with shipping and the increased cost of the cookies online, I would just wait for a chance to get them directly from the bakery.

Baking Classes at Milk Bar 

Maybe your friend wants to learn how to bake, but can't progress beyond boxed brownies. If so, why not register the two of you for a fun class?

Momofuku's dessert offshoot, Milk Bar, is known for their inventive sweets such as candy bar pie, cereal milk soft serve, and funfetti cake truffles. The bakery, with multiple locations in NYC and one in DC, offers classes at its classrooms in Williamsburg and DC.  

$95 a person is pretty pricy, but they provide all the ingredients and supplies, and you get to bring home your pie or cake and truffles, a $58 value. Plus I want to be Christina Tosi, Milk Bar's creative genius, when I grow up. Maybe you'll be lucky and see her there.

My Heart Belongs to Food Jewelry

I saw these necklaces in Urban Outfitters a few months ago and fell in love. All of the jewelry is simple and delicate. The line has a range of hearts inscribed with all my favorite foods: brunch, tacos, bagels, pizza. All they need to add is "avocado" and then they can rename the jewelry company after me.  

Santa, if you're reading this, I would really love one of these in my stocking. Preferably the bagels one, but I'm not picky :)

Personalized Cookie Cutters

If you're feeling like you need to personalize the gift, why not buy the recipient a custom cookie cutter from CopyPastry? Send in a picture of the recipient to this Etsy store, and you'll receive a cookie cutter! If they can't bake, go one step further and bake and ice the cookies yourself. This is also a great stalker move: bake cookies that look like the object of your obsession and leave them on their doorstep!

Subscriptions and Memberships

If your friend is serious about the food scene, gift something that will continue to inspire throughout the year. What about a subscription to a food magazine, such as boundary-pushing newcomer Lucky Peach, which creates quirky, themed quarterly issues?  

Or how about a membership to the recently opened Museum of Food and Drink in Williamsburg? The museum creates interactive temporary exhibits and holds seminars, cooking classes, and workshops. Right now they have an exhibit called Chow, all about the evolution of Chinese-American food.

Play It Safe With Peppermint Bark 

Candy Cane Bark

Lori L. Stalteri on Flickr

Finally, I'll leave you with the holiday classic for that person that you really just don't know that well or who has everything: a box of peppermint bark.

Whether homemade (it's super easy to make and you can get out all your finals stress by pounding the peppermint into shards! #SpoonTip: don't use white chocolate chips as they tend to seize when melted because they don't contain cocoa butter.  Read the ingredients list carefully or just buy real white chocolate bars), or from budget-friendly Trader Joe's, or the OG Williams-Sonoma tin.

Peppermint bark is seasonal and will look as if you put in a little more thought than if you had just gifted a random bag of Lindt truffles. And if they don't want it, send it to me!