You can have your pizza and puzzle it too
We're deep into gift-guide season, and you probably fall somewhere on the spectrum between "have gotten all my gift-buying done in July" and "have not begun to even contemplate purchasing something oh god it's November?" I mean, at least that's where I am. I have a vague awareness that soon I will be presented with a gift and will be expected to present a gift in return, and it will again be appropriate to watch Elf once a week.
Last year, I hit upon puzzles as an excellent gift for people who love things like crosswords and board games and not just staring into the dark abyss of their phones to "relax." Puzzles are one of those anti-anxiety group activities that people can rally behind, and they're pretty cheap per hour of entertainment and intrigue. Plus, you can customize the theme to the person you're giving it to. Do they love cats? Cat puzzle, done. Do they love astrology? Astrology puzzle. Are they the kind of person who does puzzles upside down because of some kind of deeply embedded masochism? There's a puzzle for that.
Because I'm a food person I naturally also looked at the food puzzles. There are many options out there, but the ones that I'm getting everyone this year (Mom, don't read this) are from Areaware, makers of the kind of functional but chic toys that you find in museum shops. Their "Little Puzzle Thing" series includes a bundle of food-shaped puzzles that are super cute and also fun to put together. They offer a papaya, broccoli, eggplant, a slice of birthday cake, a Chicago hot dog, a slice of pizza, and a bowl of ramen. They're $15 each, or you can buy all seven for $95, which is a good deal if you're the kind of person who buys a lot of presents in bulk and gives a few people pretty much the same thing (me).
They're small enough to be stocking stuffers, thoughtful enough to be good office gifts, and cool-looking enough that even if someone doesn't love puzzles, it'll look good on their coffee table. Thanks to The Strategist for the tip, and you're welcome, all my friends.