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What Is It This Month? 

The gift that keeps on giving

It's December, the month when thoughts turn to gifts, as in, "What on God's green earth am I going to get (insert name here) for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa this year?" You may have made one too many shopping trips to Bath & Body Works or the hand tool department of Home Depot, and a gift card to Belk just won't cut it.

How about giving that hard-to-please person a Food of the Month Club membership? It's amazing how many choices there are. In just one "of the month club" Google search, I came up with a veritable smorgasbord of monthly "I care" packages.

Harry and David is the nation's leading fruit gift company -- think of that -- and they offer all sorts of monthly fruit combos, from a three-month package up to a full year. But they're not just about fruit. They also have monthly veggie baskets, chocolates, even a three-month Moose Munch Club, which delivers different varieties of their "exclusive popcorn confection" to your giftee from December through February. This can get pricey, though. The three-month fruit club packages start at around $55, and you can spend almost $400 for a 12-month membership.

Flying Noodle has a Pasta Club that sends two different pastas and sauces each month. You can give a one-month membership for $25, which might be enough, depending on how carb-crazy your loved one is. There's also a Flying Noodle BBQ of the Month Club that sends two BBQ sauces or rubs each month ($19 per month). The January selections are Bubba D's BBQ Sauce and Pan Seared Garlic Rubbing Oil -- that's good for someone who's a little bit country and a little bit continental.

There are monthly clubs of every kind: coffee, tea, wine, pizza, beer, cookie, cake, chocolate, fudge clubs and, of course, the Nut of the Month Club. Each month, a 3/4-pound shipment of hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pistachios, etc., will arrive at the doorstep. As we all know, "When you give nuts as a gift, the recipient will think of you every time another shipment of high-quality nutmeats is received." Indeed. You'll have to shell out $39.95 for three months of nuts and up to $129.95 for the full year.

Before committing yourself, and your unsuspecting friend, to a few months or a year of delivered delectables, evaluate the effect your gift will have. If the recipient does a lot of entertaining and can foist off some of the never-ending treats on guests, it will probably be appreciated. If the person is constantly watching his or her weight (or should be), you may want to start browsing Borders Books & Music again.

After all, an apple a day might keep the doctor away, but 12 Deluxe Royal Towers of Fruit could get pretty sickening.

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