The 2013 holiday kitchen gift guide

April Dykman | Improvement Center Columnist | November 22, 2013

Gifting a kitchen appliance has gotten a bad rap. Remember that scene in Father of the Bride when Annie's fiance gives her a blender? "What is this, 1958?" she says. "Give the little wife a blender?" She's so upset that she calls off the engagement, much to the bewilderment of her fiance.

Conventional advice says just don't do it. But if you have a baking enthusiast or a grill master in your life, conventional advice doesn't apply. They'll appreciate a kitchen appliance far more than another scarf or tie. The secret to successful gift selection? Shop with their interests in mind. Without further ado, here are our 2013 top five gift picks for the food and beverage lover in your life:

  1. The baker

    red kitchenaid stand mixer

    Photo by KitchenAid

    Seasoned bakers probably already own one, but for the beginner or intermediate baker, there's nothing better than a KitchenAid stand mixer. It makes kneading, mixing, and whipping a breeze, which is particularly great when a recipe calls for more laborious tasks like whipping heavy cream. Plus, with more than 20 colors to choose from, there's one for every kitchen style, from a vintage green to industrial silver. If the baker in your life owns one, accessorize it with the Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl.

  2. The host or hostess

    keurig coffee brewer

    Photo by Keurig

    If 25 people show up at Aunt Jane's house for the holidays, give her the gift of an on-demand coffee maker. Hosts will appreciate how single-serve models like this Keurig K65 Special Edition Home Brewing System make it a snap for overnight guests to brew up a hot cup of joe whenever they've rolled out of bed. And it's completely customizable -- guests can choose their own brew strength, and the single-serve pods come in dozens of flavors, so everyone gets their perfect cup.

  3. The make-from-scratch cook

    food processor

    Photo by Cuisinart

    Cooks who cook from scratch do a lot of slicing, dicing, grating, chopping, and grinding. And while you can do this with small tools like a good chef's knife and a box grater, a food processor is life-changing. It's the appliance you thought you didn't need until you bought it - and once you have it, you won't be able to imagine life without it. Pie crusts take just minutes, a whole block of Parmesan can be grated in no time flat, veggies are perfectly sliced. It's a true workhorse, and none of them work harder than the Cuisinart FP-14 Elite Collection 14-Cup Food Processor, which boasts an 1000-watt motor, three work bowls, a wide-mouth feed tube, and a slicing disc, shredding disc, chopping and mixing blades, and a dough blade.

  4. The grill master

    countertop grill

    Photo by Cuisinart

    Just because summer is long gone doesn't mean that the grilling enthusiast can't come out and play. There's still a lot that can be grilled indoors on the Cuisinart Griddler GR-4, which works as a contact grill, panini press, flat grill, and griddle. Plus its reversible grilling plates mean you can cook breakfast sausage on the grill while simultaneously making pancakes on the griddle.

  5. The amateur sommelier

    wine fridge

    Photo by Wine Enthusiast

    Let's say that the wine enthusiast in your life doesn't have a basement-slash-wine cellar or a built-in wine fridge in the kitchen. The next best thing is this sleek, countertop-friendly wine refrigerator by Wine Enthusiast which will keep bottles safe from light, warm kitchens, and the temperature swings that can "cook" flavor and push the cork out, or cause seepage. The fridge also boasts a "virtually silent cooling technology," and all at a price that won't make you choke on your Brunello.

When carefully and thoughtfully selected, kitchen appliances make great gifts. It's true that many will scoff at a blender, but if someone in your life is a smoothie-making enthusiast who's frustrated that rundown blender that won't crush frozen strawberries, a new blender will definitely put you on the nice list. Bonus points if it's a Vitamix.

About the Author

April Dykman is a writer who specializes in real estate, personal finance, and entrepreneurship. Her work has been featured on MSNBC, Fox Business, Forbes MoneyBuilder, Inc. Magazine, and Yahoo! Finance.