Christmas is finally here, and after spending the past few days running in jingle-bell jogs by day and attending parties at night, you might have forgotten to shop for your home festivities.
If you're having friends or family over for a casual Christmas Eve or an elegant rosé-fueled brunch, Trader Joe's has a cornucopia of treats inspired by the season.
If you're thinking the stores are jam-packed with frenzied shoppers grabbing that last jar of cookie butter off the shelves while harried employees hide in the back, think again. Trader Joe's in Pinecrest is wonderfully civilized and surprisingly frenzy-free. The store is decked out in Christmas finery, and shoppers are treated to samplings of holiday delights like ice cream, cookies, and wine.
10. Holiday Tea
After a long day of fighting the mall crowds for that last bit of officially licensed Star Wars merchandise, you deserve to relax with a soothing cup of tea. Trader Joe's has two holiday versions — a frosty candy-cane green and a sweet/spicy vanilla and cinnamon black. Each costs $1.99. Pick up both boxes and some spares so you can have a cup of cheer long after the holidays are over.
9. Red and Green Hummus
Hummus is everyone's go-to party favorite. It's healthy, delicious, and easy — you just have to spoon it into bowl and add chips, carrots, crackers, or bread to make a great snack. This time, instead of plain hummus, up your holiday game by serving Trader Joe's beet ($2.29) and edamame ($2.49) styles. The beet is sweet and salty, and the edamame is creamy and subtle. Keep it in your fridge and you'll have a festive offering in a flash if friends stop by unannounced.
8. Joyful Trek Mix
Trail mix gets fancy with Greek yogurt chips and green and red chocolate "buttons" mixed into fruit and nuts. What makes these little tubes especially great for gifting are the Grinch-like green ribbons on the label. For $4.99 each, pick up a bunch to give to teachers and carolers or as stocking stuffers.
7. Cheese Board
Break open this package of aged and soft cheeses. Place it on a wooden board with crackers and grapes, and you have an elegant presentation with no thought involved. Packed in a wooden crate, this also makes a great hostess gift ($16.99).
6. Lobster Ravioli
In many cultures, meat is not eaten Christmas Eve, In Italy, families gather for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, where various seafood dishes are offered. In Poland, the holiday meal features carp instead of a roast to honor the animals in the manger where Jesus was born. This Christmas, start your own tradition with these lobster ravioli. Simply boil these fresh-not-frozen pasta pillows filled with cheese and sweet lobster meat and add sauce or toss with butter and parsley. Bonus: The red-and-white-striped ravioli are already dressed in holiday style ($3.99).
5. Spiced Cider
We all love a good beer, but for your holiday party, think of hard cider as a festive alternative. The crisp apple flavor speaks of chilly winter evenings, and subtle spices are reminiscent of hot fireside drinks. Trader Joe's Henry Hotspur's Hard Pressed Ciders come in regular, ginger, and spiced flavors. Open one and unleash Christmas in a bottle ($2.99 each).
4. Gingerbread Latte
When carolers come to your door, treat them to a warm cup of gingerbread latte. Just add hot water to this classic treat filled with sweet and spicy notes. Top with whipped cream and candy sprinkles, and you have a homemade substitute for Starbucks. The price — $4.49 for a tin — is cheaper than one cup at the coffeehouse.
3. Sparkling Rosé
There is no better way to open presents Christmas morning than with a glass of sparkling rosé in hand. Blason de Bourgogne is a dry, fruity French import that tastes like an elegant bottle selling for about $50 — but it costs only $11.99. Buy a case — or two. You can never have enough bubbly in your life.
The official plant of Christmas, poinsettias are a beautiful decoration or gift. Trader Joe's plants start at $4.99 for a tabletop version. These massive beauties ($17.99) would look gorgeous around a fireplace or on your doorstep as a welcome for Santa and friends.
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1. Holiday Ice Cream
Everyone loves ice cream, and Trader Joe's has a bunch of holiday favorites. Top a warm slice of gingerbread with some peppermint Joe Joe's, add a scoop of cookie butter to pie, or put some pumpkin ice cream in the blender with vodka or bourbon for a boozy holiday milkshake ($4.49 each).
Trader Joe's is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily but closes at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and is closed Christmas Day.