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Presents Of Mind: Talking Holiday Gifts With Food Writer Alison Roman

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Alison wears the Puff-Sleeve Mockneck Top and Emmett Wide-Leg Crop Jeans in Rosalie Wash.

The holidays are a time for celebrating, not stressing, so we rounded up our favorite friends to share their seasonal tips. Alison Roman is a chef, writer and maker of everyone’s favorite updated take on the chocolate chip cookie. Not only did she fill us in on which dish works best for the potluck party and how to self-gift sans guilt, she picked out a few favorite presents from our gift guide too.

Hi, Alison! What’re you up to for the holiday season, any special plans or traditions?
I’m actually really looking forward to not going anywhere this time around. My family’s in LA, and I’ve visited so much recently that I decided I’d better just stay put ahead of my cookbook deadlines. I’ll be having Thanksgiving in Brooklyn with my cousins and friends, and then I’ll figure out something fabulous for the holidays!

Say you’re invited to a holiday potluck—what’s a go-to crowd-pleasing dish you’d bring?
I feel like with a potluck there’s so much to consider and I probably overthink it. Can it be served cold? Should it be served hot? I like to have all the information—so I’ll bother the host and ask what everyone else is bringing, then bring the thing that’s missing. People often don’t think of a vegetable—something like a roasted carrot or fennel salad, that you can make ahead of time, put in some bags—and then when you get there you’re like, “I don’t have to do anything!” No borrowing the oven required. That, or bring a dip. People love dip.

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Let’s talk about gifting. How do you feel about a treat-yourself moment?
Looove a self-gift! I’m trying to buy fewer, better things. Since I’ve been shopping for myself less frequently, I don’t feel as guilty when I do it. I’ll decide that I just need one, really nice jacket, for example, and I’ll buy that for myself. Oh, and I’m a big believer that it doesn’t have be a holiday to gift yourself something.

What do you consider the ideal present?
I’m a very experiential gift kind of person. I love to be like, we’re gonna to go the Russian Baths, or go on a trip, we’re gonna do a thing. Objects are deeply personal and knowing what someone will want in their home or to wear can be tricky. Again, I overthink it. Before I buy a gift, I make sure I’ve had that moment where I say this, this is definitely something they’ll love.

Thanks for the tips, Alison. You too can have that aha gifting moment with her curated picks, below.

shop her picks