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Every Christmas, there are always a few baking- or cooking-related holiday gifts waiting for me under the tree. Over the years, my family—who knows I love to spend time in the kitchen—has wrapped up aprons, baking sheets, and the like. While they’ve all been helpful additions, there’s one gift in particular that stands out as the absolute best.

A few months ago, I was gifted a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (this blue beauty, to be exact), and it is no doubt the most practical gift I have received this year, in addition to being one of the most joy-sparking presents I have ever received—period. Baking has always felt like a form of care—both for myself and others—and it’s become such a creative outlet and soothing activity for me, that it’s turned into a weekend ritual. Almost every Sunday, I throw on some Frank Sinatra, turn on my oven, and grab my mixer to bake up something to share with family, friends, or coworkers. 

Great cooking comes down to confidence

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

To buy: $399.95;

With the mixer, I can do even more than before, like making pizza crust from scratch with the included dough hook and homemade whipped cream with the whisk attachment. I can easily whip up big batches of my favorite recipes, too, which is especially handy around the holidays. 

In fact, when a friend recently tapped me to bake a dessert for the massive group set to attend her Friendsgiving party, I was able to make three dozen carrot cake cupcakes, a carrot cake loaf, and enough homemade cream cheese frosting to cover it all, in just a couple of hours (including baking time). And since it was all done in the mixing bowl, I only had one bowl and one attachment (plus measuring cups) to clean when it was all said and done. 

And I’m not the only one obsessed with the helpful gadget, which has been around since 1919 and is now sold in over 115 countries. The appliance is now so popular, there are five sold every minute. Its various versions have earned thousands up thousands of praise-filled, five-star reviews from shoppers on Amazon, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Sur La Table, too.  

The sleek countertop appliance comes in sizes ranging from 3.5- to 6-quart and over 80 colors, ensuring everyone can find one that will complement their kitchen decor. And with over 14 attachments available, from the original citrus juicer and food grinder to the wildly popular spiralizer and ice cream maker, there are so many ways to further trick out and customize your machine. 

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

To buy: $199;

If you’re not ready to shell out several hundred dollars for the machine, don’t fret! While this particular model costs about $400, there are tons of similar mixers on sale for the holidays, ensuring you can buy one for your favorite baker (or yourself!) without blowing you entire gifting budget. Case in point: You can score this versatile 4.5-quart tilt-head version, which comes in classic black and white, for just under $200 on Amazon. Hopefully my mom isn’t reading this because—spoiler—she’s getting one for Christmas. After receiving the greatest baking gift ever, it’s my turn to pass on the foodie fun to someone else!

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