15 Ways To Make Holiday Shopping Easier, Courtesy Of Costco

Costco has plenty of stocking stuffers and edible gifts you might not have thought about before.

You might think of Costco as just a place to pick up massive quantities of toilet paper, bulk snacks, and $5 rotisserie chickens and then reward yourself with a $1.50 hot dog on the way out. But it's also a great place to knock out all your holiday shopping, and many of the best gifts on offer involve food and drinks. What follows is a list of the best culinary gear and edible gifts you can score for your friends and family by trawling the Costco shelves.

Cooking appliances

Costco has a great rotating selection of kitchen hardware such as vacuum sealers, stand mixers, indoor grills, air fryers, and more, and two things distinguish Costco's curated supply of these appliances: competitive prices and practicality. These are quality appliances that, though they might be a trend of the moment, nevertheless have tons of utility in your kitchen.

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Discount restaurant gift cards

Costco often has discount deals on restaurant gift cards, and not just for fast food joints or coffee chains—some of them are for upscale restaurants you might visit on special occasions. The discount usually comes in the form of buy-one-get-one: In the deal pictured above, $100 worth of gift cards costs only $75. That's essentially $25 in free food, just for buying two at once. If you only have one person to buy for, congrats—you can use the spare card to treat yourself. See Costco's selection of available restaurants here.

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Unique condiments

Condiments make for some pretty great stocking stuffers, and Bachan's Japanese Barbecue Sauce is a newer product that your loved ones might not have had the chance to taste yet. You may need to do some digging around amid Costco's offerings—a gallon jug of mayo might not be what you're looking for— but you're sure to find an interesting bottle you can sneak under the tree.

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Seasoning blends

Unique seasonings are a great addition to any pantry, but people often don't buy new blends they aren't accustomed to, because no one wants to spend money on something they might not use. That's why it makes the perfect gift: it lowers the stakes and gives the recipient a chance to play around in the kitchen. It's a reasonably priced gift that lasts for a long time, and at Costco, the seasoning blends come in sizable shakers, not those itty-bitty 2-oz. jars.

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Prepackaged baked goods

If you're heading to anyone's home for holiday parties this season, you probably don't want to come empty-handed, and not every host would appreciate being presented with a bottle of booze. Prepackaged baked goods, meanwhile, are always a good call, and Costco has a huge variety of them. The decorative boxes lend themselves to gift-giving, especially a seasonal panettone or this tiramisu cake we recently spotted.

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Cheese assortments

Who doesn't love cheese? You can either pick up a single solid wedge of something really nice (I managed to snag a nice chunk of bright orange mimolette a while back), or you can eliminate the guesswork by opting for an entire bundled cheese flight—a perfect gift for anyone who loves entertaining. Costco's house brand, Kirkland, offers a solid cheese flight of cheddar, goat cheese, comtesse, Tuscan pecorino, and a fontal, which is related to fontina. These cheese flights cost $25-30, which is cheaper than buying each quantity a la carte.

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Truffles

Jarred or preserved truffle products are the ultimate example of something that someone might not treat themselves to on a regular basis. Costco has a surprising variety of truffle stuff to help you spread sophistication this year: a Truffles in Oil 2-pack for $50, a jar of whole black truffles for $70, a set of white-truffle-infused olive oils for $40, and so on. The truffle carpaccio product above, which is just summer truffles shaved thinly and saved in olive oil, would make a great gift for someone looking to show off in the kitchen.

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Osetra caviar

Nothing screams fancy quite like caviar. And Costco apparently does have everything, because it carries Osetra caviar products in its refrigerated section, complete with an inert spoon for serving it. (This is because it's believed that certain metals affect the flavor of the fish roe.) This is the perfect gift for anyone looking to ring in the New Year with a bang. Note that while you can find some affordable options (under $100) at the store itself, you can also order some of the ultra-premium options via the Costco website.

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Charcuterie

Fine cured meat has a reputation for being expensive, but at Costco, it's extremely affordable. There's a wide selection of cured meat products in bundled variety packs, which you can hand out as gifts, break up and distribute as stocking stuffers, or slice up for a charcuterie board, which you can bring to a party and tell the host to keep the decorative platter.

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Cookbooks

Hidden among Costco's rather chaotic selection of books are some can't-miss cookbooks, which take some digging to find but are always worth it. On our most recent Costco trip we managed to find Ina Garten's Go-To Dinners among the heap, but there are also some novelty cookbook options available on Costco's website.

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Spirits

Costco always keeps things interesting by changing up its selection of spirits. Right now you can purchase Japanese sake sets, along with cases of Korean soju, for a bulk discount price—a great way to stock up a friend's home bar with stuff you'd ordinarily need to visit a specialty store for.

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Wine

Costco's wine selection is wider than you might think, encompassing all sorts of varieties and styles, from cheap and fancy wineries alike. When shopping in-store, you can take your cues from the very helpful flavor descriptions provided for each wine, then parrot those tasting notes to the recipient later to sound like you really know what you're talking about.

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Practical kitchen gear

We're big fans of practical kitchen gifts, and Costco has a wide variety of basics, including knife sets, skillets, woks, and baking sheets. Hey, who couldn't use more takeaway tubs or serving bowls? In fact, you can put a bow on a multipack of plastic food storage containers and present it as a gift to the enthusiastic home baker in your life.

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Hot beverages

For a casual gift, you can't go wrong with something like a decorative tin of hot cocoa at the holidays. It's one of those one-size-fits-all options to have around in the event of white elephant exchanges, work parties, or the dreaded "oh shit, someone just gave me a gift and I have nothing to give them" scenario.

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Chocolate gift boxes

From Ferrero Rocher to more boutique selections, Costco will never fail in supplying you with the gift of chocolate. Our most recent Costco run revealed that the store even sells sets of macarons located in the refrigerated section, which is a gift with some wow factor. 

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